Team poised for Sunday success ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 22) - For the second National Hot Rod Association drag race in a row, Team Pennzoil will have all three of its professional drivers battling for the championship of a national event on Race...
Team poised for Sunday success
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 22) - For the second National Hot Rod Association drag race in a row, Team Pennzoil will have all three of its professional drivers battling for the championship of a national event on Race Day. This time around it's the title of the 30th Annual Mopar Parts Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park that's up for grabs and each driver in the Pennzoil stable appears to be a legitimate threat to take the crown.
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Dragster, finished the weekend with another stellar lap of 4.634 seconds at 312.13 mph. The run marked the fourth consecutive pass under full power Hill has posted at this event. (His slowest run was a 4.649-second blast at 312.71 mph, which still would have easily qualified the 63-year-old legend.) After two days of qualifying Hill's best numbers were the 4.594-second, 304.94-mph effort he posted in Round 3. That elapsed time was good enough for seventh place in the standings and awards Hill lane choice in the first round of tomorrow's elimination session.
'To record four great laps - all of which were in the 4.5-4.6 second range and faster than 300 mph - in the four opportunities they gave us is about as good as we can do," Hill said. 'We are absolutely thrilled over here in the Pennzoil pit. We can sure get some things done with all this info. I just hope we can repeat what we've been doing when it counts.
'We are getting more and more consistent every race and that's a good place to be in the Top Fuel class. I'm very appreciative of the effort the crew has put forth and I'm having a ball being so involved with the tune-up of the car.
'It's a big bonus to have run well in both lanes but I'm still very glad that we have lane choice. I sure like one lane better than the other one but I'm not saying which one I like. Sometimes it's good to keep the other side guessing."
Hill will open Sunday's action against Tony Schumacher, who's best run of the weekend was a 4.617-second lap at 318.54 mph, which earned him the No. 10 qualifying spot. The two men have faced each other one time this year with Hill taking the win.
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, put his disappointing first round loss in the Dominator Duel behind him and ran yet another competitive lap on Saturday afternoon. But the Knoxville, Tenn. resident couldn't improve on his Friday night pass of 6.934 seconds at 198.88 mph and finished the session in 11th place.
'Things could be better, but on the other hand, things could be a lot worse," Thomas said. 'We switched motors at the start of the day and it's so much more powerful then the other one that we can't find the right clutch setting now. But tomorrow's another day and we should be pretty close to where we need to be by the time we get started.
'There are a few guys ahead of us in the points that didn't even qualify here so we're already making up ground. I just wish we had run a little bit better to day so we could have started with lane choice. Still, if we do everything right in the first round we'll be able to get right back in control of our destiny."
Thomas will start Sunday's action against Jeg Coughlin, who qualified sixth with a 6.921-second lap at 200.20 mph. Coughlin, who won the Holley Dominator Duel earlier this evening, will have the advantage of lane choice over Thomas.
Bruce Allen, the pilot of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, used his Round 3 pass of 6.960 seconds at 198.90 mph to hold on to the No. 14 qualifying spot. Allen will now open Sunday's title quest against Mark Pawuk, who qualified third with a 6.908-second pass at 199.76 mph. Due to his superior elapsed time, Pawuk will have lane choice over Allen.
'We are really starting to make some nice advancements with our program," Allen said. 'The engines running great and the chassis adjustments we made this morning seem to be just what we needed. On the last lap of the day we got a little crooked but that was through no fault of the car and it's definitely something we can fix.
'I'm as optimistic about our program right now as I've been all year. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, this weekend already represents another step in the right direction. We are closing in on making this Outlaw car a real contender."