Houston: Ponatic Racing finals

BAYTOWN, Tex. (October 29, 2000)- Final eliminations were completed today for the 4th annual Matco Tools SuperNationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "I ...

BAYTOWN, Tex. (October 29, 2000)- Final eliminations were completed today for the 4th annual Matco Tools SuperNationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas.

PRO STOCK

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "I would like to see more of these days. You make a lot of choices throughout a weekend, and sometimes they're right and sometimes they're wrong. But at the same time you better learn off of those things that are wrong. I think we've learned quite a bit this season. Kurt (Johnson) and I have been experimenting with a lot of different chassis designs, and finally we are back to the same power level we were before. This hasn't been a season that we've particularly enjoyed but we definitely learned something from it. We're back to where we need to be. Unfortunately it's at the end of the year but we're hoping to take this momentum into next season. We think we have a leg up on chassis design over the majority of the cars out there for next year. There is no such thing as a bad win or a good loss. Racing Kurt (Johnson) is a heads up deal. There is no diving on each side. We had a very good drag race, but we race heads up. Brad Jeter has done a great job this weekend. He prevailed in Pro Stock Truck and he can drive a Pro Stock car just as well. You have to respect him for that. Steve Schmidt has always been good with horsepower. He was a great competitor we were just happy to win. I'm excited about the Grand Ams for next season. There is certainly going to be a performance increase that will put us on par with some of the other cars that are out there as far as the aerodynamics are concerned. I am expecting to see some 200-mile runs next year."

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "That was bad. I was setting the line lock and the darn car rolled in. I didn't even see the tree. I saw the first bulb go on and didn't see the second one come on and then it was all down hill from there. We still put up a decent number for my mess up. It's just frustrating. I have never done that before. It's just a fluke thing that happened."

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "I'm just still very disappointed with the way I am driving. I don't know what we've got to do. We've been working on it trying to get the clutch right along with everything else. My head is just not in the game right now. The Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird is running fast, we had everything in our favor to go out and win that round and we let it slip between our fingertips. We're not quitters. We're going to keep working on it. We need to run a little faster and get a better light to win and we're not doing either of them. The bad part is that we only have two more races this season and we hate to go out the way we've been running. So we're going to put all our energy into these next two races to try and achieve better results. We're not giving up."

Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) - "Sometimes it seems like you can't win a round no matter what you do. We got a good jump at the start, but that was about it. The Century 21 Firebird seemed to be on a solid run when it suddenly pulled out of the groove and started shaking the tires. I finally had to get off the throttle to regain control, and we were done. The worst part is that we were unable to get any data from that pass to see if the changes we had made for this morning were the right ones. We have a short week before the rescheduled Dallas race, and I'm flying home tonight, so I can spend even more time in the dyno room checking our motors. We have two races left to find the power we had earlier this season and make a good showing, and we're determined to do it.

Brad Jeter (Dynagear Pontiac Firebird) - "I'm feeling pretty good right now. This is my first final in Pro Stock so I am pretty pumped. I've raced Warren (Johnson) several times this year. He is a tough competitor. I will be ready when we get to that starting line. I want this race pretty bad. I haven't won since Dallas of last year, so I am ready for another one."

After finals: "Well I did the best I could.  Warren had a great run.  I 
congratulate him.  I am happy with my team after the time trials that we went 
through this weekend.  This was my first final round in Pro Stock and I am 
very happy about that.  On to Dallas, maybe we can do it again there."

Richie Stevens (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - "All my fault. It double clutched and I got beat on the tree. We had a great weekend. I have a lot of friends and family here and I wanted to do well in front of them. I am just upset that the tree kept me from going farther. But, overall this car ran great. The motor ran good all weekend. Now, we're heading to Dallas and we're going to hope for now rain and a good race."

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "We ran good all weekend. It's just always disappointing when you lose. I left on Warren (Johnson) pretty good but just couldn't get it down at the other end of the track. We just want to try and stay in the top five in points. We've got the consistency that we've had all year, we're just going to go back to Dallas and try and improve and go more rounds."

FUNNY CAR

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "That was a really big win for us. With our other car not making the show, us blowing a motor to pieces yesterday, and this race to the finish for a spot in the Winston Top 10, it all came down to us winning that round. We've got to catch either Skuza or Sarver to get into the Top 10, and they both went out in Round 1, so a win was critical. And it won't be easy to catch either of those cars, but all we can do is try to win rounds and see how it all falls. We're going to have to switch engines now, since we hurt it a little during that run. It got out of the groove toward the wall and started spinning hard out there. But we have both teams working and we've got a lot of talented people."

Jerry Toliver (WWF Pontiac Firebird) -- "We can't look back and think about what we could have done differently. All we want to do now is move forward and get ready for Dallas next weekend. We will be testing between now and then to hopefully accelerate our learning curve as much as we can. We liked the way the 'The Rock' Pontiac responded to the changes we made in our pre-race setup. Everyone on the WWF team did a great job this weekend."

Bruce Sarver (e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird) - "We were on a good run but my brakes were kind of messed up, but it was on a run like last night. I got to half-track and it pulled the front wheels up off the ground and it kept going to the left and I tried to stay with it but it just didn't work out for us. We had a good weekend overall, but we would've liked to have capitalized on it today. We'll try again in Dallas next week."

Tim Wilkerson (Levi Ray & Shoup Pontiac Firebird) - "I'm okay. It was just over center for first round there and I just hit the gas and it went out there at about six-tenths and starting spinning the tires. So, I pedaled it and when I did that it hydraulic and broke a rod. Once it broke a rod and I still had my foot to the floor, it's not long until it sticks a valve and off comes the body. You're a little more foolish on race day then you are during time trials, but that's part of it. But, I'm fine, it demolished the body but we've got good help from Pontiac so we'll be ready for the next race."

Gary Densham (NEC Pontiac Firebird) -"That really wasn't what we wanted but the competition is so tough out here and even to be apart of the record bump field and being No. 7 qualifier, we're pretty proud of that. We're on a learning curve right now, we're trying to get things consistent going into next year - we just missed it by a notch. We're looking forward to next weekend and hope to redeem ourselves.

John Gray (Gray Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "I was a little surprised that our Gray Racing Pontiac Firebird ran that fast and I was surprised that (Bruce) Sarver's car slowed down that much. My team is doing a really good job on this car. We're all really excited. I am gaining a lot of confidence in my driving as well. If we can get a little bit of help next year, it ought to be fun. In that last run I think I really just let the car get out of the groove. I am going to have to take the responsibility for that one.

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "Something wasn't right because it was weak. I had a heck of a hole-shot advantage and I kept pedaling it but it just wasn't enough. All I needed was a five flat and I would've beaten him on a holeshot. It's a bummer. For some reason it was just weak. It goes back to that consistency thing we have a problem with. But overall, we made the quickest field in history in Top Fuel Funny Car and had a huge advantage at the starting line, but it just didn't pay off."

TOP FUEL

Cory McClenathan (MBNA Pontiac Dragster) - "This new car is running great for us this weekend. It's really exciting to be doing this well this weekend. This team has really been working hard and we're hoping to get the win against Bobby (Baldwin). But they have been doing really well and have beaten some tough competitors to get to the finals. We had to put a new motor in the MBNA Pontiac dragster for the finals. We ran the old one all weekend and we had to put a new one in. But we think we'll be okay. We're very happy to be in the finals."

After Finals: "When they told me I was running a single and told me congratulations, I said forget that, lets go out and show them that we can win this race and run another 4.50. That's what we're out here to do, put on a good show and have fun. I tell you what, Wes Cerny and all the guys on the team did a heck of a job. They had a great tune-up put together, and this new car ran so smooth. The only thing that went wrong was that we dropped a cylinder that last run. That was the only thing all weekend that went wrong for us. I really wanted to go out there and show the crowd that we would've won if it was Baldwin or Scelzi out there. The car runs so easily. It does everything I want it to do. I wish it would've happened along time ago. We won today because of my crew not because of me. MBNA and Pontiac have committed to staying with me for next year. We're still looking around for more. Hopefully something will work out. I hope I'm not out of a job next year. It's about time that I got this win too. We really needed it. I can't imagine being out here next season wondering what car I will be in next. I want to be with a winning team, rather it be Top Fuel or Funny Car it doesn't matter to me. I wouldn't mind being with a two-car team either. But one thing is for sure Cory McClenathan doesn't take dives. Two-car teams should run hard against each other and race each other hard."

Mike Dunn (New York Yankees Pontiac Dragster) - "The car did exactly what we told it to do, everything was fine until we struck the tires two seconds into the run. The computer showed that the run looked identical to our qualifying attempts, this time the track just didn't take what we threw at it. At this point in our 'Spring Training' program, we just don't have enough information that will allow us to run in the low 4.6's. We know how to make power and run a 4.53. Now we just have to find the combination that will allow us to back it down a bit. This car has a ton of potential, but we still don't quite have a handle on it. The car is still in a feast or famine mode. Despite the early loss, our data shows that we are on-track in building a combination that will allow us to contend for the 2001 championship."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Mike Dunn , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Ron Krisher , Gary Densham , Cory McClenathan , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Steve Schmidt , Jerry Toliver , Tommy Johnson Jr.