Brainerd Pennzoil Friday Report

Team Pennzoil rumbles through Round 1 BRAINERD, Minn. & ...

Team Pennzoil rumbles through Round 1

BRAINERD, Minn. – Local residents and vacationers temporarily parked their boats and put down their fishing rods to fill the stands of Brainerd International Raceway for the opening round of professional qualifying for the VisionAire NorthStar Nationals. For their part, the best drag racers of the National Hot Rod Association circuit rewarded the enthusiastic crowd with a faster-than-expected opening session. Team Pennzoil kept pace admirably, with all three of its pro drivers posting solid Round 1 times.

Here’s a quick look at each Team Pennzoil driver’s opening run.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Dragster, began his initial run like a bolt of lightening before eventually losing twice traction en route to a 5.496-second pass at 209.49 mph. Hill’s time placed him in the No. 15 spot. The impressive part of Hill’s run was the 0.835-second time he posted at the 60-foot mark, one of the quickest Top Fuel starts of the year.

“We’ll have to check the record books on that 60-foot time,” Hill said. “That could be my best ever. Obviously, it’s encouraging because the engine is producing so much power. The car really shot off the line. That felt real good. We lost traction after that and I feathered back for a second before hitting the accelerator again. I really wanted to post the best time I could because there’s a lot of rain in the forecast. Tonight will be crucial.”

Bruce Allen, the driver of the Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac, recorded a very fast 7.107-second pass at 194.17 mph in the opening session. Allen’s lap put his car in the fourth qualifying position with three rounds left to run.

“Truth be known, that wasn’t one of our better laps,” Allen said. “We can run a lot faster. It’s a good feeling when you go out there and make a nasty run and still post a decent elapsed time because you feel like you’ve got something left in the engine. We spun the tires in third gear and then really started spinning again in fifth. Once the track cools and the Top Fuel and Funny Car guys put some more rubber down, we’ll be in great shape.”

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird, placed his machine on the early leaderboard after recording a 7.169-second, 193.54-mph run in Round 1. Thomas’ time was the 16th best of the 28 cars competing at this event.

“I had enough clutch dialed in to pull an 18-wheeler down the track,” Thomas said. “I’m surprised that we ran quick enough to be in the field at all. The good news is that we now have enough data to make the necessary adjustments to go faster. I’m already excited about tonight. We’ll be in the right-hand lane, which is the best lane here. Eight of the top 10 guys in that first session were in the right lane, which is very encouraging.”

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen