Gainesville Hill report 2

Hill's title hopes go up in smoke GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 21) -- A successful weekend of racing for Team Pennzoil Top Fuel driver Eddie Hill came to an end in the quarterfinal round of the 30th Annual Mac Tools Gatornationals Sunday at ...

Hill's title hopes go up in smoke

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 21) -- A successful weekend of racing for Team Pennzoil Top Fuel driver Eddie Hill came to an end in the quarterfinal round of the 30th Annual Mac Tools Gatornationals Sunday at Gainesville Raceway. Hill's machine lost traction at the start of his race against No. 1 qualifier Larry Dixon and the famous Texan could only watch as his competitor disappeared in the distance.

"We had a slight problem with our clutch," Hill said. "The specific setting that shouldn't kick in until we're at the other end of the track went into effect right off the starting line and we just spun 'em up immediately. I saw Larry was in great shape so I knew we were through."

Dixon blazed down the strip in 4.563 seconds at 314.83 mph to Hill's pedestrian 8.754-second lap at 93.97 mph.

"This car continues to show so much potential," Hill said. "We ran well in Round 1 on Friday and spent the other qualifying laps gaining a bunch of really good data. So we continue to move in the right direction. I'm proud that we were in the top half of this extraordinarily quick field and, as usual, I'm already excited about the next race in Houston. We want to set the world on fire when we get back to Texas and especially because we'll be in Pennzoil's backyard."

Overall, the weekend in Florida went well for Hill. He grabbed the early pole after a first-round qualifying pass of 4.577 seconds at 314.97 mph and eventually settled for the eighth spot in what turned out to be the sport's quickest field ever assembled. He then outlasted Connie Kalitta in the opening round of eliminations, carding his second elimination round win of the year. Additionally, Hill perpetuated his streak of 43 straight national events in which he has successfully qualified for the elimination rounds.

Hill's teammate Mike Ferderer, who drives the Pennzoil Super Gas Pontiac and the Gumout Super Comp Dragster, also ended his race day at the starting line in both of his cars. Ferderer drew a red-light violation in the second round of the Super Comp bracket and then over-compensated for the mistake by using a large delay at the lights in the third round of Super Gas competition. "If I can cure this starting line problem I'll be in Win City," Ferderer said. "Both cars are running great. I just messed up and psyched myself out. We'll be ready to go by Houston."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Connie Kalitta