Brainerd: Scott Geoffrion preview

Shaking slump, winning rounds are on Geoffrion's Lucas Oil Nationals Agenda BRAINERD, Minn., Aug. 11, 2003 - It was Scott Geoffrion's goal to drive the Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 into the Pro Stock top five before the 2003 season comes to a...

Shaking slump, winning rounds are on Geoffrion's Lucas Oil Nationals Agenda

BRAINERD, Minn., Aug. 11, 2003 - It was Scott Geoffrion's goal to drive the Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 into the Pro Stock top five before the 2003 season comes to a close in November, eight races from now.

Granted, the Hurley Blakeney-owned ZX2 didn't make its debut until the third race, but it is extremely possible for Geoffrion to make that climb from his current seat in eighth position. He has 638 points and No. 5 Allen Johnson has 707. That's 69 points, or about four rounds of racing. It also means there are at least four other drivers in the top 10 who covet that spot.

The quest continues during the Lucas Oil Nationals, Aug. 15-17, at Brainerd International Raceway.

"This is a race where we need to win some rounds and get some momentum going again," said Geoffrion. "There's no better time to do it because it's the last race before going to Indianapolis for the U.S. Nationals, our biggest race of the year, and we need to turn the corner and get prepared for Indy."

A win at Brainerd would go a long way in that preparation, and there are a few positive aspects of the upcoming weekend's competition.

"I've heard the Brainerd track has been resurfaced and it is said to be smooth and fast," Geoffrion added. "That's exciting, plus we'll be using a new motor for this race. Bob (Panella, engine builder) learned some things with the motor while it was on the dyno at his shop in Stockton (Calif.), and we're looking forward to trying it out."

While crew chief Eric Luzinksi and the crew continue learning the nuances of tuning the racecar, Geoffrion yearns for a return to the finals. He finished second at Columbus, Ohio, four races ago - his second final of the year - and was fifth in points. Since then, however, he's only won one round of competition and didn't qualify at one race.

The San Clemente, Calif., driver's round win came at Sonoma, Calif. (Aug. 3) after qualifying fifth.

"We started qualifying with a soft setup in the car at Sonoma and decided we'd adjust from there," Luzinski said. "That's what we did and the plan worked." By the time the third qualifying session was run, Luzinksi had done some tweaking and Geoffrion was timed in 6.788 seconds at 203.98 mph.

That's likely to be the approach the crew chief will use at Brainerd.

Geoffrion has one runner-up finish at Brainerd, in 1992. Other Pro Stock drivers challenging for fifth place include Ron Krisher (sixth, 671), Mike Edwards (seventh, 671), Bruce Allen (ninth, 638), and Greg Stanfield (10th, 579).

Pro Stock qualifying is scheduled Friday at 2:45 and 5:45 p.m. Friday, 12:15 and 3:15 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Krisher , Hurley Blakeney , Greg Stanfield , Bruce Allen , Scott Geoffrion , Allen Johnson , Mike Edwards