Taylor closes year with Pomona runner-up
POMONA, Calif. - NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car veteran Dennis Taylor reached his second career national event final during this past weekend's AAA Auto Club Finals at Pomona Raceway. Taylor wheeled the Cooner Wire backed Camaro into the 5.60 zone to make the finals, but had an engine problem sideline him in the final.
Taylor, who runs his own racing safety equipment company, Taylor Motorsports Products, in Anaheim, Calif., qualified his Ora Vasquez tuned machine tenth in the quickest field in history with a then career-best 5.701 second elapsed time at 250.27 mph. In round one, he defeated veteran Vern Moats with a 5.724 at 246.62 mph. Taylor then shocked the field by stepping up to a 5.639, his first 5.60, at 251.91 mph to take out Division 4 Champion Tate Branch. In the semifinal, Taylor defeated rookie standout Shawn Jones with a 5.646 at 250.92 mph.
"After we got back from the semifinal, there was an NHRA official waiting on us back at the pit," said Taylor. "He told us that we only had 30 minutes to get ready for the final. That is an unacceptable amount of time to try to prepare one of these cars to race safely. We have to do nearly the same work as Top Fuel team that is guaranteed 75 minutes with a professional crew. All of our help is volunteer, but my guys had it ready to fire in 28 minutes. Nonetheless, that's still not acceptable for us to be put through that. We need to have guaranteed time as well."
Taylor's final round opponent was Bucky Austin. During the burnout, Taylor noticed extremely low oil pressure and a ticking noise, and decided to shut it off, giving Austin the easy win.
"I noticed the oil pressure was low and it sounded like it might have a bad lifter or something," explained Taylor. "Something that we probably didn't have time to look at."
Despite the final round loss, Taylor is quick to cite that the weekend was a very positive one for his team and sponsors.
"Making the final round at my hometown race was great," stated Taylor. "Not only in front of my hometown fans, but many of my sponsors are based out of this area, so it really is an important race to my team. My primary sponsor Cooner Wire even has a suite in the tower for this race, and they were really pumped about our success. I want to thank them for their support for the past few years, and we're looking forward to next year with them back on board as well. I also have to thank our associate sponsors Plumbing Concepts, Valvoline, Pepsi, Shaker Shirts, Ultimate Designs, Bear State Heat and Air, Adam's Polishes and Taylor Motorsports Products for making this race and this season possible."
Taylor is also excited about ending the year with career best numbers.
"The car performed flawlessly all weekend, and I think a big part of it was these new Mickey Thompson tires," cited Taylor. "We made six runs and the average e.t. was 5.69. I also have to thank my old crew chief Randy Goodwin. My new crew chief Ora Vasquez is basically working with the tune-up that was on the car. The crew did great all weekend and we're looking forward to next year after ending on a high note like this."