Humphreys Back in Dodge; Looks for Improved Performance The first thing most NHRA Pro Stock drivers do when they drive a different car is go into test mode. The more runs he makes, the more familiar he becomes with the car's...
Humphreys Back in Dodge; Looks for Improved Performance
The first thing most NHRA Pro Stock drivers do when they drive a different car is go into test mode. The more runs he makes, the more familiar he becomes with the car's idiosyncrasies.
"No two cars are alike," any racer or crew chief will tell you -- not even if they came off the same mold on the same day. And there's no need to get into the myriad parts and intricate pieces that make it work.
Thrust into a situation last week that forced him to sit in a totally different race car for the first time and attempt to qualify for an event, Justin Humphreys responded like the veteran driver he is.
The Pro Stock driver from Monrovia, Md. left his RaceRedi Pontiac GXP at home and drove Allen Johnson's Dodge Stratus at Topeka, Kan. He made four consistent qualifying runs and held onto the No. 16 starting position while his crew, led by Frank Gugliotta, and Johnson's crew, led by Mark Ingersoll, kept tweaking and tweaking the tune-up.
Humphreys won't have to get acquainted with the Stratus this weekend when he returns to the seat in the Route 66 Raceway Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., Friday through Sunday.
"I'm going to be way more comfortable in the car this week," he said. "I think we can be competitive and win with it. We were learning things one every run."
One important change was replacing the clutch pedal. Humphreys' best qualifying reaction time was .044. In his first-round match against No. 1 qualifier Dave Connolly, Humphreys unloaded a .008 and it was almost enough to get the win. Connolly caught him just before the finish line.
Humphreys persevered at Topeka despite a sinus infection that kept getting worse. "I'm feeling much better. I will be ready to go Friday," he said.
Gugliotta and Ingersoll will have had more time and information to fine-tune the car for this event. The goal is to have Humphreys' elapsed times improve accordingly. It is hoped that familiarity, in this case, breeds success.