PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 1998 FRAM ROUTE 66 NATIONALS SATURDAY, MAY 30, 1998 JOLIET, ILLINOIS PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) One of the advantages of being No. 1 qualifier is that the first eight qualifiers have lane...
PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 1998 FRAM ROUTE 66 NATIONALS SATURDAY, MAY 30, 1998 JOLIET, ILLINOIS
Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) One of the advantages of being No. 1 qualifier is that the first eight qualifiers have lane choice in the first round if there is an obvious problem with one of the lanes. Plus, we’ll get a few additional points towards the championship and an extra $3000. The lanes appear to be pretty even. To the eighth mile, the right lane looks as though it has a few bumps in it. We don’t know if it’s in the track or if it’s being caused by oil downs by the fuel cars causing the surface to change traction. The weather was just about what we expected to see today—3600 feet is what we had it corrected to. I’m sure everyone else was probably within 100 feet of that one way or the other. We pretty much expected that by right around noon today. Today probably had the most uncomfortable conditions we’ve raced under this year. It would have been a lot worse with a marginal race track--that would have compounded the problem. But you can pretty much throw the race track out as far as being a variable. We’ve been testing the GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird in Atlanta recently with air temperatures in the low to middle 90s and track surface around 130 degrees. That gave us a good baseline to start from this weekend. There’s not a lot of rubber at the other end of the track so we’re giving up some speed there. We can see a change in the t-meter in about the last 150 feet where we’re turning the tires pretty hard. These conditions are almost identical to those that we tested under in Atlanta. I looked at what we had for RPM for various parts of the track, and our incremental times are almost identical. No. 1 qualifier—6.978ET/196.82MPH
Bruce Allen (Outlaw Pontiac Firebird) It will all depend on what the weather looks like tomorrow. If it’s 80 degrees and hot, that will change our approach entirely. We’ll make the adjustments on the Outlaw Pontiac Firebird that we feel are necessary, go up there, do the best that we can, and not try and race anybody but ourself. If we pull up, make a good run and have a good light, we’ll win. If we don’t, we’ll get beat. That’s about all there is to it. I think it is an advantage to us though if we come out here tomorrow and conditions are a lot different. We’re real good about hitting stuff right away. Some teams it takes three or four runs to get dialed in. We can usually do pretty good right away. Whether or not that’s how it will work, I don’t know. But we’ll come out here ready to go tomorrow, and hopefully be ready to put this car in the winner’s circle. No. 2 qualifier—6.993ET/196.44MPH
Tom Martino (Six Flags Pontiac Firebird) We’re ecstatic with the performance of the engine in our Six Flags Pontiac Firebird. We’ve nicknamed it T-Rex because of my youngest son Vincent’s love for dinosaurs, and it’s running like a monster this weekend. We also seem to have gotten a handle on getting the power to the ground. After two good runs yesterday (Friday), we tried a couple different ratios today, and obviously it didn’t like it. Even though we ran well in both sessions, I think we could have run better, because the power has been great. We were number 18 at sixty feet, but stepped up to number two in top speed and number three in the back half. The first round will be tough, because Jeg (Coughlin) is a good driver. But we’re looking for another good showing here tomorrow, and who knows? This could be our third win from the number seven spot, and it would be great to do it at this inaugural race.
(continued) Pontiac Notes & Quotes 2-2-2-2
Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) I think the guys on this Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird have done a phenomenal job. We have three wins and some miscues here and there, but it’s been a career year for all of us so far. I think the key for us will be to race one round at a time tomorrow. Wes (Cerny) has done a great job getting down the track with a 4.88 and a 4.94. Incrementally, the 4.94 was actually quicker down low. If you put those numbers to last night’s conditions, it would have easily been a 4.86 or 4.87. The first thing Wes said after that last run was "we can fix it!" We’re happy, everybody’s doing their job and we’re going to be methodical like a machine. Keep winning rounds tomorrow, that’s the name of the game. No. 1 qualifier—4.889ET/315.27MPH
Del Worsham (Checker/Schuck’s/Kragens Pontiac Firebird) We felt pretty good about our deal last night after running a 5.12 and then, being on a much better run until we threw a fuel line off during the night session. Then we came out here this morning, blew the tires off at the line and were scratching our heads. We still felt pretty good though, I mean the mood in our pit was real upbeat for a team that had smoked the tires. The 5.05 was a pretty solid deal in this session. We didn’t really make any major changes on our Pontiac Firebird Funny car after the first shot. We felt we weren’t that far off this morning, and thought maybe the track would come to us a bit. I guess we were right, the 5.05 was low of the session. It does feel pretty good to be competitive again after pulling the DNQ in Englishtown. No. 9 qualifier—5.055ET/303.64MPH
Randy Anderson (Parts America Pontiac Firebird) Last night we dropped a cylinder about two seconds out, but we stuck with it, and luckily, this Parts America Pontiac Firebird is in the show. Dropping cylinders is a problem we’ve had all year. We’ve changed everything and we’re still struggling with it. We’re going to do some testing before Columbus to see if we can’t break out. The team is working hard, keeping their heads high, and it’s only a matter of time before we make something happen. No. 14 qualifier—5.157ET/276.46MPH
Tim Wilkerson (JCIT Pontiac Firebird) I think before long, this JCIT Pontiac Firebird is going to get the break it needs to grab that first win. For some reason, we get to the finals and either we, or the track, or the conditions, or whatever, keeps us from winning. I hope we win two or three or four before this season’s all said and done. The car hooked up pretty good in that first session this morning, but it was spinning the tires pretty hard in the middle, dancing around out there, and got out of the groove a little bit. That cost us maybe two or three hundredths of ET. When you’re going as fast as Cruz (Pedregon) and Capps and Force on race day, you’re going to do all right. That’s all we’re trying to do, win rounds and advance as far as we can. The more rounds we win, the better we’ll get at this. Before long, maybe we can make it to the end. This place has really surprised me, I never dreamed it would be this good. We went out there for the first lap with a 5.05 tune up and it almost threw out the clutch because it stuck so hard. We went right back and put it the way we’ve had it at every other race, and she runs a 4.92 last night and a 4.94 today. This ol’ Firebird’s been working like a charm. No. 2 qualifier—4.928ET/315.27MPH
Shelly Anderson (Parts America Pontiac) Obviously, we wish we could have earned a spot in the top half of the field. Unfortunately, we were facing the quickest field in the history of drag racing, and we fell a bit behind. Tomorrow, we’re going to have to come out and make up some ground. I’m confident we can do so. No. 15 qualifier—4.742ET/304.46MPH
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