David Baca Takes Momentum into Pontiac Nationals Runner-up Finish Sunday at Atlanta Bolsters Top Fuel Team's Confidence COLUMBUS, Ohio - David Baca was telling everyone that his Baca Motorsports Top Fuel dragster was going to run well this year.
David Baca Takes Momentum into Pontiac Nationals
Runner-up Finish Sunday at Atlanta Bolsters Top Fuel Team's Confidence
COLUMBUS, Ohio - David Baca was telling everyone that his Baca Motorsports Top Fuel dragster was going to run well this year. That it could win races . . . finish in the top 10 . . . maybe even place in the top five.
After six NHRA POWERade Series races, the skeptics likely outnumbered the believers.
Baca may have more faithful in his camp going into the 41st Pontiac Performance Nationals, Friday through Sunday at National Trail Raceway in nearby Kirkersville, thanks to a runner-up performance Sunday at Atlanta in the season's seventh event.
"We want to continue the momentum this week and stay on this little bit of a roll," said Baca, of Brentwood, Calif. "Hopefully, we've turned the corner for the year."
Baca's three round wins at Atlanta were his first of the season and, by stringing them together, pulled him into the Top Fuel top 10, at 10th with 275 points.
"If we can continue going like this, picking up a few rounds each weekend, we should pick up some spots in the top 10. The car did run well. We found more power and we were just messed up in the bell housing."
Baca credited co-tuners Dennis Baca, his father, and Larry Meyer with making "dramatic moves" in the clutch area, "and it looks like it is responding," he added. "But the weather conditions are going to get warm, and with it come the tricky track conditions. The first thing we must do is get the car to respond when we ask it to do something, and, hopefully, we'll be able to make the right adjustments when we get to those tricky tracks."
National Trail traditionally has been one of the trickier ones, but that was when this event was run in June. This is the first time the series has come to town in May.
Baca, a San Francisco Bay Area contractor, has made only one other appearance here. He qualified 11th and lost in the opening round in 2003, his rookie year when he finished seventh in series points.
Baca also lauded his crew, under the direction of Kevin Poynter, for its efforts this year.
"It's phenomenal what a couple good rounds and a couple good round wins will do for the morale of the team," Baca commented. "We have a great team and they are very upbeat. We are just starting to jell."
Baca, at first glance, thought weekend parts breakage was at the maximum. The engine expired twice - against Brandon Bernstein in the semifinals and again in the finals against Doug Kalitta.
"It wasn't as bad as we thought," he said. "The crankshaft broke on our run against Brandon, and that's what caused it. The incremental (elapsed time) numbers were better than they were the round before. It was marching when it gave up."
Baca eliminated No. 1 qualifier Morgan Lucas in the quarterfinals with a 4.602-second time to a 4.628, then came back to stop Bernstein with a slowing 4.927 seconds to a traction-troubled 9.324. In the title round, his car was running well again when the blower belt came off, slowing him to 4.851 seconds to Kalitta's 4.567.
"Some people said we were lucky to get to the finals," added Baca. "Sometimes luck is created because the other teams know the potential of our car, and they know they'd better bring their A game to the ball park when you're going to line up against our car. If you swing for the fences, sometimes you strike out."
The Baca Motorsports team will begin taking its swings when qualifying begins with runs at 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday's sessions are 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday's eliminations are at 11 a.m.
Throughout 2005, Baca Motorsports appreciates the support of the following associate sponsors: Champion Spark Plugs, Don Steves Chevrolet (La Habra, Calif.), Goodyear, Lucas Oil, Mac Tools and Weld Racing Wheels.