Dallas Pontiac Saturday Notes & Quotes

PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 13th ANNUAL REVELL NATIONALS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1998 DALLAS, TEXAS DALLAS, Tex. (October 24, 1998) - Qualifying was completed today for the 13th Annual Revell Nationals at Texas Motorplex with Warren Johnson...

PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 13th ANNUAL REVELL NATIONALS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1998 DALLAS, TEXAS

DALLAS, Tex. (October 24, 1998) - Qualifying was completed today for the 13th Annual Revell Nationals at Texas Motorplex with Warren Johnson leading the way in Pro Stock and Cruz Pedregon holding down the No. 2 spot in Funny Car. Johnson's GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird set the national record in elapsed time and top speed during the morning session with a qualifying run of 6.867 seconds at 201.34 mph. Johnson broke the record he set earlier in the year at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. It is Johnson's 12th pole position of the year and the 101st of his career. Mark Pawuk is qualified No. 2 with a career best elapsed time of 6.889 seconds and a top speed of 199.55 mph. There are 11 Firebirds in the 16-car Pro Stock field. In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon's Interstate Batteries Firebird ran 4.85 in the morning qualifying session, and another 4.85 in the afternoon session, but the 4.839 he ran on Friday is the run that qualifies him in the No. 2 position.

PRO STOCK

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) We don't need the 20 points this year, because we've already wrapped up the championship. We figured we'd run the car all the way through just to see what it could do. We changed to a different shock arrangement that we've never run before, a different transmission gear ratio, and a different clutch setup to see if we could come up with a combination that works on this particular track. This track is unique, so we were trying to find something that would work well here - unfortunately, it resulted in setting the record! I guess we sent the competition a statement that we're not ready to retire quite yet.

We tried to anticipate what the new shocks would do on the starting line, but the car was a little more aggressive than we thought it would be. The car stood up, unloaded, and bobbled just a bit in low gear, which really hurts the elapsed time. From there on, it was one of the smoothest runs I've made, which was the objective of the shock absorber change. Now we just have to work on the suspension, the weight distribution, and the clutch to get it right at the starting line. We may be onto something for this track.

Looking at the incremental times, the run could have been a 6.85-something without that starting line bobble. Setting the record here just makes it more difficult to set the record next year. Let's face it, we don't get a combination of weather conditions and race track like this very often.

Second Session: The car got a little loose in high gear. We tried a different weight distribution and clutch setup just to see what would happen on that track surface when it gets warm, and obviously, it didn't work as well as it should have. There's no discernible difference in the lanes, and I think the track will actually improve tomorrow. It's been getting progressively better all weekend. No. 1 qualifier - 6.867ET (national record)/201.34MPH (national record)

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) After we ran that 6.91 in the heat of the day, we are really looking forward to tomorrow. We changed the tune up on the motor a little bit, messed around with the gear rations some, and came up with a combination this track seems to like right now. We'll just have to wait until the morning to see what happens. This Splitfire/Peak Firebird will run a 6.87 or a 6.88 if it's cool in the morning. The track's been changing every day, every session, and first round tomorrow isn't going to be any different. This is the kind of air and track conditions we'll be racing in tomorrow afternoon, so running the 6.91 is indicative of what we'll be running in the second and third round if we get that far. Hopefully, we can improvise a combination that will run good on a good track like we'll see in the first round when we have the cooler air conditions. There's no telling what will happen though with the weather coming in, and with us running behind the fuel cars. It may be a bit slower and closer to the conditions we ran in this afternoon. No. 6 qualifier - 6.908ET/198.93MPH

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) We actually shocked ourselves in the first session this morning. The Summit Racing Firebird made another real nice run. It was still a little heavy and I wish we could have run a little more speed. I'd like to make that 200 mph club before this season is finished. We've worked on our tune up a little bit and that's helped us to pick up some mph in the back half. It will be a little warmer this afternoon but we're going to take another shot at that 200 mph barrier. We worked really hard to tune on what we learned last night. Our goal was to make another good run. We ran more speed and had a better ET so we were pretty happy with it. The car's going straight, making nice runs and everybody's working real hard. We're getting the karma back on this team.

No. 2 qualifier - 6.889ET(career best)/199.55MPH (career best)

George Marnell (Tenneco Pontiac Firebird) In the last session tonight, we just didn't make a good run. We're trying to figure out where the motor laid down on us. We're trying to decide if it was our setup, or if our motor was hurt, but everything seems to be checking out, although we're going through some electrical stuff. The goal will be to get this Tenneco Firebird back to where it was running yesterday. We'll keep working at it until we do and we'll be ready to go in the morning. No. 12 qualifier - 6.935ET/197.71MPH

Mike Thomas (Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird) I'd love to break that 200-mph barrier. If the weather holds, the Pennzoil Firebird could do it today. That was a good run for us but it could have been better. The car shook a little in fourth gear and I was hunting around for a spot to run in. If that hadn't happened we might have been over 200-mph right there. We definitely like where we're at and I think we'll surprise some folks tomorrow. I'm ready to win a race again. No. 7 qualifier - 6.914ET/199.15MPH (career best)

Bruce Allen (Outlaw Pontiac Firebird) Well, that's a little better. Although I do feel like we're a couple of runs behind everyone else. We need to be quicker this afternoon to improve our position and I really think the Outlaw Firebird can be a lot quicker. There are plenty of people behind us who could put us out so the pressure is on to run well. Still, I'm optimistic because if everyone else is running well this afternoon, then we should be right there with them. No. 16 qualifier - 6.947ET/197.62MPH

Tom Martino (Jesel Valve Train Pontiac Firebird) We should have run a 6.89 this morning, but we're not making the kind of runs that we're capable of making. I'm not disappointed though and we'll sure as heck take it. We're happy that the Jesel Valve Train Firebird can run that well when we get it right. I'm not sure what we need to do to get it to go quicker, but we'll keep swinging and hopefully we can come up with a combination that will get us into the winner's circle again. No. 8 qualifier - 6.918ET(career best)/199.02ET(career best)

FUNNY CAR

Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) Wes (Cerny) told me before the last session that we were going to back it off and get ready for race day. The Interstate Batteries Firebird was in race mode, but we have to give Force credit for his run. We're just as capable of turning those same numbers and Wes has plenty of room on the car to move in that direction. He presses when he feels we need it. It would be a heck of a show down tomorrow if we could race Force in the finals. Our game plan will be to stick with what we're doing, getting up and down the race track and running the big speed. If you look at the 4.94, the slowest run we've made this weekend, to come back and run a 4.83 and two 4.85s was just an awesome performance. That 4.83 last night was actually going to be quicker than our 4.81 run in Houston in March. It was on a 4.79 pass but we had some problems at around 1000 feet.

It did what we wanted it to do early, it picked the numbers up down low and we're ready to go racing. No. 2 qualifier - 4.839ET/317.90MPH

Tim Wilkerson (JCIT Pontiac Firebird) All we're going to try and do tonight is repeat our first pass because that run would have been a low 4.90 if it would have run to the end. We got a little aggressive during the morning session, and the JCIT Firebird almost made it, but almost doesn't win you a race. We're going to go back to what we had in it yesterday, change a little in the back half of the run, and see if it will go to the end. I think we'll be OK if we do that. We're just going to try and race the race track, and make some consistent runs instead of giving the race away by smoking the tires. We're going to make someone actually beat us. No. 11 qualifier - 4.957ET/292.68MPH

Dale Creasy, Jr. (Creasy Racing Pontiac Firebird) We're trying out a new clutch this weekend that General Motors wants us to test. They're working pretty good, our problem is that the car burnt up a piston, pushed all the gaskets out and oiled the car down. We didn't run last night because we're saving our stuff. The Creasy Racing Firebird will be ready for the next run if we have to make an attempt. We're one of the last pairs out tonight, so if we're still in by then, we'll probably sit it out, save our money and be ready for tomorrow. Yesterday, the car was a little bit lazy leaving, but it still felt good coming off the line. It was accelerating like crazy, but it shook real hard when the clutch went to lock up. I didn't know what it was doing because it was the new discs. And then it just took off. On the other end it started getting loose and now I know why. I was running in my own oil. It still ran 281 which is normal for our car. We're happy with it, but it will still go quicker because we made some changes to pick up the 60-foot time. It should run between a 5.10 and a 5.15 if we have to run. No. 16 qualifier - 5.221ET/281.16MPH

Randy Anderson (Parts America Pontiac Firebird) We're just gradually trying to get to where we need to be. Jim (Dunn) made some changes on the clutch and everything worked just like it was supposed to. Now he's going to get after the motor, see if the Parts America Firebird can pick up a tenth and go 4.98, 4.97. That's our goal for the second session and that's what we think it will do. This is an excellent race track and these are excellent conditions. There's no question that it's better that what we've seen in a long time. I think we've had some good races in the past few weeks and that shows we're capable of running back in the fours again. We're not looking to set the world on fire, but we don't think you have to to win races. Consistency is what wins out here, and if we can run four good laps tomorrow without making any mistakes, then we have a shot at being around late tomorrow night. No. 10 qualifier - 4.951ET/300.00MPH

Al Hofmann (GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird) We went out there today and the race track was really good. It grabbed hold of the GM Performance Parts Firebird and wouldn't let it go. So we got the clutch behind it and rattled the tires loose. By looking at it you would think we had too much power and smoked the tires. But that's not the case. Your Pro Stock guys will tell you that the car has to have a little amount of tire spin or it won't run. It will lock the tires dead up. That's exactly what happened to us in the first round today. The track was much better than what we expected. We'll go out there, put some harder clutch discs in it, and it should be OK. We were trying to run pretty quick that time. We were trying to run 4.90 or 4.89, or even a little better if we could. This race track will take about all the power you can give it if you apply it properly. Right now we have the rpm on the combination turned way up and we're going to turn it up even more this time. Obviously the track's pretty good. Cruz (Pedregon) is out there running 4.83, 4.85 like it's free. We'll go out there and see what happens. No. 8 qualifier - 4.923ET/308.85MPH

Del Worsham (Checkers/Schucks/Kragen Pontiac Firebird) Not only are we out here running ridiculous numbers, ET's we weren't even dreaming of last year, but we came in with one 4.98 on our resume, and after we ran 4.98 yesterday and that 4.99 this afternoon, we were towing back to our pit all mad. Our Pontiac Firebird Funny Car has been on two 4.92 passes but we can't get it to run all the way to the lights.

It's just a tribute to this track that we're seeing this kind of stuff here. You can lean on it just about as hard as you want and this Motorplex track will take it. We're not a No. 12 team, and our car is not a No. 12 car. But in this atmosphere here, you've got to play on a field you're not all that familiar with if you're not one of the top four or five groups. We know we need to get more fuel to it at the top end, and we'll keep making adjustments to do that. No. 12 qualifier - 4.988ET/272.31MPH

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , George Marnell