Englishtown: Pontiac Racing finals notes

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (September 9, 2000)- Final eliminations for the rain-delayed event at the 31st Annual Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions was completed today at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. PRO...

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (September 9, 2000)- Final eliminations for the rain-delayed event at the 31st Annual Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions was completed today at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

PRO STOCK

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "It got off to the left, and the groove here is so narrow because all the fuel cars, all the little boys and girls did not want the track treated at the other end. Therefore there's no rubber, so if you get out of the groove in the first 330 feet, there's no way of recovering it, and we just got out of the groove and lost. Part of it was our own fault from the standpoint that the track cooled off almost seven degrees more than we anticipated, and that was because of the oil down when they lost the Funny Car body. Characteristically, if you don't have enough wheel speed the door cars with four links in them go left, and if you have too much, they go right, which is exactly what happened. We got off to the left too far, and got out of the groove and there was no saving it. In the second round, we just made the adjustments for what we thought was going to happen with the track temperature and what not, and it just went beyond the window of opportunity. Our lane choice was correct. My guys did an excellent job on that part of it. We just as a group collectively changed the car based on the track temperature that we predicted it was going to be. It was not there and that was it."

Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) - "We were pretty happy with our run in the first round. Other than moving around a little in fourth and fifth gear, we thought it was a pretty good pass. Based on the data from that run, we took five pounds off the nose of the CENTURY 21 Firebird for the second round against Jeggie. Unfortunately, it stood way up in the air right at the start and immediately hooked a hard left. I tried to bring it back but finally had to click it off. As of right now, we have no idea why it reacted that way. I guess that first pass was closer to not getting down the track than we thought. However, it felt good to get a round win. I was starting to worry that they might be shutting off the win lights in our lane when we ran! We're going to stay and test here tomorrow trying to fine-tune our set-up even more. After that, we have a lot of work to do back at the shop before we head to Reading for next weekend's race. We'll be spending some long hours in a short week, but we'll be ready."

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "I am very disappointed. We changed engines and we probably shouldn't have done that. We thought it would help us but it didn't. I am very frustrated but I'm happy for Greg (Anderson). I'm going to help them and see what happens. He has a great car. I hope he can continue to go rounds. We'll see what happens. I'll be pulling for him."

Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "We figured it was a long shot getting past (Ron) Krisher in the first round. Mark (Pawuk) gave me his best motor, best header, best everything to try and beat Ron. We got by that one, and Mark struggled first round or we would've had him in the second round. But we ended up with Hurley Blakeney and just got lucky. We've improved on the car every round. The guy against us hasn't put up a great reaction time or elapsed time. We've just been lucky. The Summit Racing Firebird is working great and showing more power. I have to thank Mark (Pawuk) for giving me the opportunity. It's too bad we won't be able to run anymore races this year but it's a great way to end it. I haven't figured out how I got that perfect light either. That was just amazing -- a little too close for me. But I made it to the finals and that is a great feeling!"

Richie Stevens (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - "How can I beat Greg's (Anderson) light? That was unbelievable. I knew he got me on the tree but I didn't think it was that much. The day was going great until I had to face Anderson. I am the first to congratulate him. I hope he wins the whole thing. He deserves it. He has worked hard all day. For not running in a race for a while and to do this good he deserves it. We had a great day. The Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird ran real well. We went a couple rounds and moved up in points and that was the whole goal for this weekend. We're ready to go into Reading next week and do the same."

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "I don't know what happened. I have no clue. It quit on the burnout and it was just bad from the start. The motor is fine. It could be anything. It's so frustrating. It could be the ignition box, the pick-up - a lot of things. But I am sure we will figure it out sooner or later. I'm very disappointed and disgusted. I hope we can get this car back in shape for Reading."

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "I'm very happy with how the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird ran today. I'm really disappointed with how the driver performed. We came here yesterday, and had two test runs and that's what we used them for - to test some new things. We tried some different things that Terry (Adams) wanted to try, and we found something that worked pretty well and we found something that didn't. Luckily we were smart enough to put the right combination in the car this morning. As a team we're heading in the right direction. We ran really well in Indy, and we came here and we were the third fastest on the track in that first round. I'm excited with where we're going. We just need to start winning some rounds and getting some points. We've got the car running well and a combination that is working well. But as a driver I need to get back in the groove and need a little more practice at the starting line. I think if we can get all that put together than we definitely have potential to run well."

Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird)- "We just didn't make a good run. It went right and spun the tires. We ran really slow and I don't know why. I don't know what's wrong. A 7.04 is just unbelievable. That's crazy. We should've run at least a 6.98. We've got something going wrong and we need to try and get a handle on it. It's very frustrating. Hopefully we'll be ready for Maple Grove."

Brad Jeter (Dynagear Pontiac Firebird) - "I'm very happy with how the Dynagear Pontiac Firebird ran today. We had two good runs. We just got beat by Richie (Stevens) fair and square. He was just faster. We ran a 6.99 to his 6.96. It was a good race. I'm looking forward to going on to Maple Grove to see what we can do there. Everything is starting to come together. We would like to go more rounds obviously but I am very happy, especially for Pontiac and Dynagear. Let's just hope we can keep the momentum going for Reading."

FUNNY CAR

Cruz Pedregon (Teller Quick Pontiac Firebird) - "It felt great to be back in the finals! We just went up there and did what we could. My team is working very hard and I am really pleased. This 75 minute rule is really tough. But we're adapting to it and can't believe we made it to the finals! My focus now is going to turn towards getting a sponsor for next season. That is what I am really needing right now. Don't get me wrong, this is great. But we want to keep trying to do it. We hate being on a limited budget. We came here, and didn't even test yesterday and here we are in the finals. I think I still have what it takes to win and I just want to show everyone it's true. My crew chief Gary Kennedy deserves a lot of credit. He has done a great job with this program. I owe him everything. The whole day we went with the logic that if we were getting beat at halftrack that I would shut it off to save some money, but the whole day we were ahead. I actually even shut it off that last run against Force. (Jerry) Toliver's crew came over and helped us out a bunch. They were great. We were out there just trying to win we weren't even thinking about Force. We wanted to run the Teller Quick Firebird hard and not run weak. It really hasn't hit me yet that we actually won. But it's a win! We probably will sit out awhile now. We may hit Pomona at the end of the year. We have to be smart until we get a full-time sponsor. But we'll see, when your hot your hot. We've had two great races. It may be hard for me to stay away from Reading. I feel like I'm dreaming!"

Al Hofmann (Mooneyes/Red Oil Pontiac Firebird) - "The track let go of it, the sun is on it. A lot of the cars were having the same problems. We're just happy we're starting to go the right way with our tune-up and it's in one piece. We're going to go to Maple Grove and qualify the Mooneyes/Red Oil Pontiac Firebird and go from there. We'll be ready!"

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "Typical stressful deal. We made some changes to the Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird, raised the wing a little after we took a ton of wing out of it last night to let it run in the cooler air. And of course, after a cool day yesterday to supposedly tune from, we come out today and it'' totally different. Hot and sticky and the track was very loose from the sun. I like winning, period, and I like it when we make our car go fast. But it's a little sweeter when you're faced with tough conditions and you get it right. It makes you pretty proud of your team."

After second round: "Those are some of the toughest laps you can win. When you're facing a guy who has been running al the races you get quite a scouting report on how that car runs. Todd's out here with a new team, a new car, and you just have no idea what they're going to do. You want to be safe, and you wouldn't expect to see them run a 4.95, but they're fully capable of it and everyone knows we don't run these races on paper, we have to run them on the track. So basically the best approach is to go out there and be aggressive, but just not overly aggressive. Make your car go fast and good things happen. Now we've got Force and all we're going to do is go out there and run a number if we can, and I'll do my part at the starting line."

After semi-finals: "I'm tired of saying 'Oh well!' We really made a point of not mentioning any of the stats, not thinking about who we were running, not discussing how many races in a row, how many weeks in a row, or any of that stuff. But he beat us anyway. I guess John doesn't care if I know it's him over there or if I don't. He was beatable, he was in our ballpark. But we put a hole out at the hit of the throttle and it never really ran on all eight the whole way. Down at the end, after we legged it that far on seven, it banged the blower a little. No damage, but the blower was sitting on there crooked when we got it back. Some people are saying today that we bounced back pretty well from Indy, but our car ran well in Indy, and it's been running well for months. We just got as far as we deserved today."

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "That one hurts, we had a chance to really do well for ourselves here, and give Del some help in the points at the same time, and we didn't get it done. There are a bunch of cars battling to finish this season in the Winston Top 10, and we're right in the thick of it. Del took out Hofmann, who was just ahead of our team in points, but we couldn't return the favor and move him ahead of Cannon. It was tricky out there, and I think it was a little tougher in the right lane. Not having lane choice put us over there. We just got it out of the groove a little, I tried to catch him pedaling it but he got there first. We'll turn our attention to Del's car now. Can't call it the red car today, because it's black, so we'll just call it Del's car and pitch in to help him win some more rounds."

Dale Creasy Jr. (MAD Magazine Pontiac Firebird) - "I think the heat on the racetrack hurt us. We were hoping it would be better than it was. We were trying a new combination and I didn't get to test it out. We had a good chance, we just didn't do it. It wouldn't have hurt us to have gone out there yesterday to test but we would've had it tuned to a different track and it wouldn't have helped us for today. We'll be in Reading with the MAD Magazine Pontiac Firebird and we'll see what happens."

Gary Densham (NEC Pontiac Firebird) -"Those guys are so fast that you want to throw everything you can at it and unfortunately we shouldn't have that time because he fell off and we would've won. He ran that 4.89 last night and that's fast so we threw everything we had at it and it didn't work. We were just too aggressive with the NEC Pontiac Firebird. It's just one of those things. You learn from it and go on."

TOP FUEL

Cory McClenathan (MBNA Pontiac Dragster) - "Things haven't been going our way and that was just one of those times. We just flat out got beat. (Gary) Scelzi is a heck of a champion and that's why he is driver of the year. My guys did a great job today. It looks like we've got something to go off of going into Reading. Maybe we can get him there. It feels great to go a few rounds. I hope we can keep at it and go some more in Reading. But I am happy as a whole. The car ran great and the team was awesome. It was a great day for this MBNA Pontiac dragster and team. We'll get him next time!"

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Hurley Blakeney , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino