Gainesville: Doug Foley final report

Foley makes great first impression with FX Caprara Kia GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 16) -- Top Fuel driver Doug Foley made an impressive 2008 debut at the 39th ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, qualifying for the toughest field of...

Foley makes great first impression with FX Caprara Kia

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 16) -- Top Fuel driver Doug Foley made an impressive 2008 debut at the 39th ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, qualifying for the toughest field of the POWERade season and giving first-round opponent Antron Brown all he could handle before bowing out of the race.

Flying the colors of FX Caprara Kia of Watertown, N.Y., Foley made his temporary sponsor so happy that it's already signed on for the next POWERade Drag Racing Series event in Houston -- the 21st annual O'Reilly Spring NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, which runs from March 27-30 at Houston Raceway Park.

"We appreciate the opportunity Billy Caprara and his dealership group has given us," team co-owner Tim Lewis said. "They allowed us to show the fans and the other racers what we can accomplish with this race team. We've got a great bunch here and we're already looking forward to Houston. We'll be hosting a big group of Kia folks in our hospitality area in Texas and we plan to maintain this level of excitement there."

The buzz for Foley & Lewis Racing started Saturday when Foley and his crew managed to qualify for the toughest Top Fuel field of the year with a 4.676-second pass at 325.85 mph, well ahead of many of the top teams on tour. What made the run remarkable is that after losing their primary sponsor just before the start of the regular season, the entire team has been focused solely on finding adequate funding to continue their racing endeavors. Everything else, including working on the car and testing, became secondary.

"We hadn't made a single pass since last year," Foley said. "For these guys to put together a car and a tune-up that put me in the field in just two attempts was nothing short of amazing. I knew after the success we had last year (five semifinals showings in 14 races) that this was a stellar group, and they proved it again here."

On race day, crew chief Doug Kuch was once again up to the task, putting a tune-up in the FX Caprara Kia dragster that had Foley clearly ahead of the higher-ranked Brown at halftrack. Unfortunately, the car started hazing the tires soon thereafter and the extra stress on the engine caused the blower belt to dislodge, rendering the rail powerless.

"I didn't see him and the car was cruising nice and smooth," Foley said. "Just before half-track I looked over and still didn't see him. I was thinking we just might have a win on our hands. Right about then I could sense a very slight loss of momentum and then we knocked the belt off and we were done.

"We gave him a scare and, more importantly, we showed everyone we haven't forgotten how to race. We had big plans to be out here all year and we've had to adjust that goal a little bit but it's still nice to come out and run and see that we've still got a car that's fully capable of winning. All we need is that one big deal and we're there. All the other components are in place."

-credit: dfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Doug Foley , Tim Lewis