Gainesville: David Baca Saturday summary

David Baca qualifies 12th at Gatornationals. GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2003) -- Qualifying for the third of 23 events on the $50 million 2003 NHRA POWERade ® Drag Racing Series is complete. David Baca, driver of the Henkelman & Baca ...

David Baca qualifies 12th at Gatornationals.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2003) -- Qualifying for the third of 23 events on the $50 million 2003 NHRA POWERade ® Drag Racing Series is complete. David Baca, driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports/American Racing/Waterloo Tool Storage Top Fuel Dragster, qualified 12th for this weekend's 34th annual NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals.

After a slow start on Friday, Baca, a second generation driver from Brentwood, Calif., recorded a pass of 4.673 seconds at 303.43 mph in Saturday's first qualifying session to move to the #12 qualifying position. To show consistency, the rookie driver added a run of 4.698 seconds in the final qualifying session.

Said Baca of his qualifying, "We didn't start off (qualifying) the way we'd hoped. We were too aggressive. (Crew chief) Johnny (West) is still trying to figure out what this car wants. We've got a tiger by the tail. What our other car might have wanted last year or how West's previous car that he tuned for Doug Herbert last season may have reacted has nothing to do with this car. This car doesn't seem to want the same thing. We're just trying to figure it out. Today we were on the right side of the curve."

"We're still searching to find the sweet spot in the car," echoed West. "We're getting closer to understanding what the car likes and what it's doing. Tomorrow we'll keep going in the same direction, nicking at it a little bit at a time."

Baca will square off against Clay Millican in tomorrow's first round of eliminations. Millican qualified fifth with a best run of 4.559 seconds at 316.34 mph.

"To be a part of the fastest field in Top Fuel history is great," added Baca. "Who ever thought you'd see a bump of 4.69 seconds. That just shows how strong Top Fuel is getting. With 22 cars here, this field is tough. If you're in you can win and we're here to play."

-h&bm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Clay Millican , David Baca