Brainerd Pennzoil Friday Report

Pennzoil's Hill helps set early pace BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 20) -- Pennzoil stalwart Eddie "The Thrill" Hill joined Gumout-sponsored driver Cory McClenathan in setting the early pace of professional qualifying at the 18th Annual Colonel's Truck...

Pennzoil's Hill helps set early pace

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 20) -- Pennzoil stalwart Eddie "The Thrill" Hill joined Gumout-sponsored driver Cory McClenathan in setting the early pace of professional qualifying at the 18th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Hill's pass of 4.653 seconds at 307.58 mph held the No. 1 spot in the Top Fuel field for most of Friday afternoon's opening session until McClenathan finished the round with a 4.648-second blast at 320.36 mph. McClenathan's speed set a new track record.

The following recap encapsulates each Pennzoil driver's Round 1 effort.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, certainly impressed the appreciative crowd with his 4.653-second, 307.58-mph opening lap, especially since many of his peers failed to even complete their opening passes under power. Hill's steady numbers earned him the second spot on the qualifying ladder.

"I love it when we hit the set-up that close to perfect right out of the box," Hill said. "Having such a strong run in Round 1 allows you to move right into the fine-tuning stage of Race Day preparation and it really allows you to experiment and have some fun. All these notes we keep really helped us that time. I combined a lot of info from the last few races with last year's Brainerd data and it really helped us nail the tune-up."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, labored through a 7.139-second, 192.99-mph first round pass. The time placed the Knoxville, Tenn. native in the 19th spot in the 26-car field with three rounds of qualifying left to be contested.

"We missed the clutch set-up completely," Thomas said. "The clutch was slipping at a rate of about 40 percent against the engine when it should only be at about five percent. After reexamining last year's data from this race I should have known better. I just didn't read the track correctly. We'll be fine for tonight. I'm expecting a cooler, faster session for sure."

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac, experienced severe tire shake just off the launching pad and elected to shut his car off before potentially damaging any parts. Allen, from Arlington, Texas, eventually cruised through the lights in 13.313 seconds at 64.20 mph, which placed him 24th in the standings.

"Instant tire shake in low gear just killed that run," Allen said. "It's time for a chassis change. We need to be able to get through low gear without wadding up the tires every time. That was too good of a session to not even record a number. I'm confident that we can make the necessary changes to be a big part of Round 2."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen