Chicago Team Pennzoil's Day One Report

CHICAGO (June 4) -- Under the cover of darkness and armed with the knowledge they gained in Friday's earlier qualifying round, the professional drivers of Team Pennzoil attacked the smooth quarter mile of Route 66 Raceway in the rain-delayed...

CHICAGO (June 4) -- Under the cover of darkness and armed with the knowledge they gained in Friday's earlier qualifying round, the professional drivers of Team Pennzoil attacked the smooth quarter mile of Route 66 Raceway in the rain-delayed evening session. To a man, each Pennzoil pro managed to improve on their previously posted times as the entire field reached the halfway point of qualifying for the Fram Nationals.

The following recap encapsulates each Pennzoil driver's second round pass.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, ran a pair of 4.6-second runs on the day, the best of which was a 4.619-second pass at 305.98 mph he carded on Friday evening. The time earned Hill the No. 7 spot in the field through two rounds of qualifying.

"The track is a blank check right now in my estimation," Hill said. "By that I mean it can handle any thing we throw at it horsepower-wise. That's great news for us fuel guys. I foresee improvements in every session across the board and I hope we continue to get better ourselves. I'd like to move up in the field to assure lane choice on Sunday and we'll have to run better to do that. I expect big things out of this Pennzoil car tomorrow."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird and defending champion of the event, knocked two-hundredths of a second of his best time with a 7.024-second blast at 196.36 mph in Round 2. The improved time helped Thomas move up one spot in the standings to 14th place.

"That run felt so much better than the time showed," Thomas said. "I would have bet it was at least a 6.98-second run. I was surprised when they radioed the real time down to me. I suspect a slight power problem with this motor so we're going to switch to a new one so that we'll be ready for tomorrow. I don't want to take any more chances with this one."

Bruce Allen, the pilot of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, jumped up 14 spots on the qualifying ladder with a much-improved 7.046-second pass at 195.96 mph. Allen now occupies the 19th position with two rounds of qualifying left to be run.

"The car got very loose and neared the wall," Allen said. "Plus the shift light wasn't working and I pulled a few gears sooner than I should have. Still we ran a pretty good lap and we got much closer to where we need to be. I very optimistic that we can have the car ready for Round 3 in the morning and I expect us to jump into the field."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen