Gainesville: Doug Foley Saturday notes

Foley beaming after qualifying for historic Gatornationals GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15) -- Top Fuel driver Doug Foley has made exactly two runs down the quarter-mile in 2008, yet the lack of seat time didn't stop him from earning a coveted spot...

Foley beaming after qualifying for historic Gatornationals

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15) -- Top Fuel driver Doug Foley has made exactly two runs down the quarter-mile in 2008, yet the lack of seat time didn't stop him from earning a coveted spot in the elimination field of the historic 39th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals Saturday at Gainesville Raceway.

Foley coaxed a steady 4.676-second pass at 325.85 mph out of his FX Caprara Kia dragster to earn the 13th spot in the 16-car field and help push the likes of regular headliners Morgan Lucas, Doug Kalitta, and Bob Vandergriff Jr. out of contention. It was an impressive '08 debut for a team that had zero time to test, just three full-time crew members, and no plans to race until one week ago.

"We would normally never consider racing under the circumstances were currently facing but this deal with FX Caprara Kia came together very quickly and the guys wanted to come so here we are," said Foley, who runs a drag racing school during the week. "It would be impossible for me to be more impressed with this team. To come out here with no testing information, especially with the new 90-percent nitro rule, and then to see our qualifying sessions cut in half with yesterday's rain, and yet still out-qualify some of the big dogs, well, we're pretty darned happy over here."

After a successful 14-race campaign in 2007 where they beat many of the top teams, thereby earning the nickname "Giant Killer" from the media, Foley hoped to start the weekend with a conservative tune-up. Crew chief Doug Kuch basically wanted to use Friday's two sessions to test theories on what it would take to run the car under new NHRA rules increasing the percentage of nitromethane in their fuel mixture.

However, after Friday's action was completely lost to rain, the gameplan quickly changed.

"We had to just start with a Hail Mary," Foley said. "The first run we shook the tires like crazy because we had too much power and ended up with practically no data. Doug made some great adjustments and, even though it shook a little bit at the hit in Round 2, it cleared up by itself and then just smoothed out and went right down the track.

"I'm buzzing right now. It had been far too long since I'd been down the track and it felt great. I guess I get a little grumpy when I'm not racing because even my wife was happy to see me leave this week. The truth is we never expected to lose our primary sponsor three weeks before the season started but FX Caprara Kia jumped in for this race and possibly Houston so were able to come back out and have some fun. I'm happy we were able to give them a thrill today. Now we'll try to be giant killers again tomorrow."

Foley opens against rookie Top Fuel driver Antron Brown, who is a fellow New Jersey native. Foley is from Sewell, N.J., while Brown hails from Chesterfield.

-credit: dfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Doug Kalitta , Morgan Lucas , Doug Foley