Houston: Fuentes still in search of first National Event win after Gainesville rainout

BAYTOWN, Texas - It seems as if everywhere Joe Fuentes and the J&D Racing team goes, rain seems to follow, with only one event out of the five he has attended not having rain at some point [Winternationals]. Rain once again put a damper on things...

BAYTOWN, Texas - It seems as if everywhere Joe Fuentes and the J&D Racing team goes, rain seems to follow, with only one event out of the five he has attended not having rain at some point [Winternationals]. Rain once again put a damper on things during last weekend's Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fl., where Fuentes was the No. 5 qualifier and had just won his first round matchup with Bill McCornack.

"We got pretty loose in that last run in Gainesville [first round]," said Fuentes. "It took off hard and started shaking, and between that and the glare from the lights, I had a hard time seeing. I had my hands full driving and over revved her pretty good by missing the shift point. It ended up throwing the belt off and slowed to a 5.69, luckily we still won."

With that race now rescheduled for April, Fuentes and the team will put their sites on picking up their first national win in front of Texas fans during this weekend's O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park.

Fuentes, the owner of JDEA, Inc., an electrical contracting company in Austin, Texas, feels that with the way his Ora Vasquez tuned Blown Alcohol Dragster has been running, they will be one of the contenders for victory this weekend. He also is looking to protect his status as No. 2 in the national points standings, and possibly improve.

"When we ran the divisional here in February, it was pretty cold and we couldn't get a handle on the track," stated Fuentes. "We had the beadlock rims [more aggressive] on then, and now we have the liner type rims so that should help us keep from smoking the tires. If we get a good pass with the liner rims, we'll try the beadlocks. I'm pretty sure we won't have that problem this weekend. We should be able to pick up where we left off in Gainesville."

After being locked into the 5.40's at the last few races, Fuentes feels that this weekend he should be able to improve into the 5.30 zone.

"Ora has put a few little tricks into the car for this weekend, so I think we can hit a 5.30 something this weekend for sure," commented Fuentes. "Low .40's at the very least. Just as long as I do my job, I know the car will do it's part."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the Federal Mogul Dragsters at 10 a.m., with another session at 1 p.m. Qualifying will resume Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m., with first round of eliminations at 4:30 p.m.

-J&D Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bill McCornack