Englishtown: Scott Geoffrion preview

Geoffrion returns home for SuperNationals ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 11, 2003 - Scott Geoffrion has won nine NHRA Pro Stock races in 27 final rounds during a career that includes eight full seasons of competition. What that means is there are ...

Geoffrion returns home for SuperNationals

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 11, 2003 - Scott Geoffrion has won nine NHRA Pro Stock races in 27 final rounds during a career that includes eight full seasons of competition.

What that means is there are several things he has yet to accomplish. They are:

1. Win a POWERade Series championship. He's finished second twice (1992 and 1994) and third once (1993).

2. Win the prestigious U.S. Nationals, contested during Labor Day Weekend at Indianapolis.

3. Win the SuperNationals at Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

He'll have another opportunity to erase No. 3 from his list when the K&N Filters SuperNationals unfolds at Raceway Park May 16-18. If you're wondering why this event carries as such significance to Geoffrion as the U.S. Nationals, the answer is easy. He grew up in Mahwah, N.J., and began his drag racing career at the track that was 60 miles from his home.

There are other incentives, too. There will be a lot of friends and relatives attending, not only cheering for Geoffrion but team owner Hurley Blakeney, who is from Bellows Fall, Vermont. Blakeney, in fact, will be bringing some of his employees - this is the closest race to Bellows Falls - to add to the Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2's rooting section.

On top of all that, Geoffrion turns 38 on race day. But his focus will be on winning the event. To do so would give Ford its first race victory since 1996 and Geoffrion his first trip to the winner's circle since 1997.

"I really haven't driven a competitive racecar at Englishtown since 1997," said Geoffrion, who now resides in San Clemente, Calif. "It's always a little more stressful racing here, but once I get into the car I'm more relaxed."

Seven races into the 2003 campaign, Geoffrion's performance in the only competitive Ford in the tightly-bunched category has been the talk of Pro Stock. He's been to one final round - losing to Kurt Johnson at Houston last month - and won enough rounds in five races in the Escort ZX2 to climb from 16th to sixth in the standings.

Geoffrion is the first to admit, however, that "we are struggling right now to find our combination that allowed us to run with the top four or five cars," he said. "Three races ago we were three-tenths of a mile per hour behind the leaders and now we're two-to-three miles an hour behind.

"Eric (Luzinski, crew chief) has already looked at the notes to see what changes we need to make to return to the foundation where we started."

Geoffrion qualified fifth in the car's first outing and third, eighth, seventh and 12th in the ensuing races. He's lost in the first round at the last two stops.

"Bob Panella and the guys in his engine shop in Stockton, Calif., are working on the engines and we'll have the freshened motors back in time for Friday's qualifying at Englishtown," Geoffrion pointed out. The first time the ZX2 didn't qualify in the top half of the (16-car) field was at Atlanta (May 4). "There are a lot of guys with a lot bigger budgets than we have who aren't qualifying."

Although he's currently sixth in points - he didn't qualify the team's Ford Mustang at the season opener at Pomona, Calif. - with 311, there are two drivers within five points and another only 27 behind. He trails fifth-place Bruce Allen by 52 points.

"I'm not looking at the guys behind me," Geoffrion commented, "but those in front of me. I don't want them to get too far ahead of us."

He'll try to reel them in by winning rounds, and maybe the race, on Sunday.

Action begins with qualifying at 3:30 and 6:45 p.m. Friday and 12:30 and 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

-hbr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Kurt Johnson , Hurley Blakeney , Bruce Allen , Scott Geoffrion