Dallas: Joe Fuentes qualifying wrap up

ENNIS, Texas - Federal Mogul Dragster rookie Joe Fuentes qualified his J & D Electric Blown Alcohol Dragster No. 14 during this past weekend's O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec. Unfortunately for all the racers, excessive...

ENNIS, Texas - Federal Mogul Dragster rookie Joe Fuentes qualified his J & D Electric Blown Alcohol Dragster No. 14 during this past weekend's O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec. Unfortunately for all the racers, excessive rains drenched the Texas Motorplex, located just south of Dallas, and NHRA officials called the event, which is to be resumed in two weeks.

Due to the heavy rains, the Federal Mogul Dragster qualifying program was cut from three runs to two. The Austin, Texas, native Fuentes was only able to make one run, and feels that he would be higher in the qualifying order had he made that last run. Fuentes' first run's elapsed time of 5.641 at 248.34 miles per hour put him in the program in the No. 14 spot.

Fuentes said, "We feel we should have ran better than that. My shift light did not come on in that run, and I shifted late. I felt the car start to nose over, and finally shifted, but I knew we lost a little time there."

Fuentes' ignition problems continued from there. After diagnosing a bad shift light from the first run, Fuentes' car would not fire prior to Friday morning's first qualifying run. After the qualifying session was over, MSD Ignition specialists tracked the problem to a bad sensor in the Ignition box. Due to the heavy rain, the field was set after just two qualifying laps.

"We couldn't get the car to fire," explained Fuentes. "We had some of Jay Meyer's crew over trying to help us find the problem, and we still couldn't figure out why it would not start. After testing the box twice, MSD found a sensor that was bad. After that was fixed, the car fired right up."

From Dallas, the J & D team will move just down the road to Houston Raceway Park for this weekend's Matco Tools Fall SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions. Fuentes looks to pick up where he left off at the Motorplex.

"We just want to pick up where we left off," said Fuentes. "We put a new MSD shift light module in it, so hopefully that will fix the shift light problem. We are hoping to hit the 5.50's in Houston, maybe quicker."

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