David Baca passes Top Fuel license test

David Baca passes licensing procedure to drive Top Fuel. CLERMONT, Ind. -- Former A-Fuel Top Alcohol Dragster driver David Baca, from Brentwood, Calif., passed his Top Fuel licensing process Tuesday (August 20) at Indianapolis Raceway Park in ...

David Baca passes licensing procedure to drive Top Fuel.

CLERMONT, Ind. -- Former A-Fuel Top Alcohol Dragster driver David Baca, from Brentwood, Calif., passed his Top Fuel licensing process Tuesday (August 20) at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind., the site of next weekend's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

Baca recalls the runs necessary to receive his license, "I hadn't been in the seat for a short period of time and I don't know if I was overconfident or what on that first run, maybe too much adrenaline, but I do know that I wasn't looking out far enough and the chief (crew chief Wes Cerny) hadn't backed it down at all. We had an 848 (.848 second) 60-foot and went like a 217 (mph) to the 330 (foot) mark which is pretty aggressive. I got it off out of the groove a little bit and mowed down the center cones but I didn't hit it with the front of the car. It got them with a little sashay with the back -- it was a motorcycle slide. I then just shut that first run off and called it enough.

"Then we went on to round two. I think Wes softened it a little bit on the bottom (starting end of the track). We then went out and ran a 4.84 (seconds) at just a taste under 297 (mph), if I'm not mistaken. So that was pretty good. Then we came back an hour or two later and went down there at 4.79 (seconds) at 306 (mph) and some high change -- almost 307. It was pretty good. As everybody told me, the big difference between the Top Fuel dragster and other cars is that the dragster keeps hauling until you let off and man that's true."

Baca, who holds the Top Alcohol Dragster speed record at 274.44 mph, which he set at Phoenix in early 2001, said there is definitely a difference in the speed sensation between the A-Fuel Top Alcohol Dragster and the Centennial Batteries Top Fuel Dragster that he was driving.

"You bet there is a difference in speeds," noted Baca. "In the A-car you can visualize where the cones are, while in the Top Fuel car all of a sudden you say there it is and there it went. By the time you think about it you're to the next one. That was part of my problem with the first pass when I nipped the cones I wasn't looking far enough down track. The more times in the seat running this car, the better I'll do and the more comfortable I'll become. I welcome the challenge."

Fuel Funny Car driver Ron Capps, who handles the driving duties on one of the two Skoal Funny Cars owned by Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, and Cory McClenathan, who drives the Henkelman and Baca Centennial Batteries Top Fuel Dragster, signed off on his licensing.

Baca, who briefly set aside his driving career to become partner and owner of the Henkelman & Baca Top Fuel drag race team, would like for the team to expand to two cars next year, with McClenathan in one and him in the other.

"I hope Corporate America will jump on board and give Cory and me a nice funding package for years to come. Right now we plan to stay focus and finish number three or higher with car one. Car two could come out at anytime if anybody would be willing to or wanting to form a marketing partnership at this time. We're looking for one race, two race or three race deals. We're looking for multi-year deals. Funding will dictate where we head from here. Rick (Henkelman) and I are the ones who brought Cory Mac back and I don't want to have him without a ride. I want Cory to be in a car next year and be under our banner. I do believe some funding is coming our way, but 'it ain't done 'til it's done,'" concluded Baca, with a paraphrasing of one of the more famous Yogi Berra quotes.

-h&bm-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , David Baca , Cory Mac