Las Vegas II: Pre-event quotable

QUOTABLE: Doug Kalitta - driver of the Mac tools dragster who is second to newly crowned Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon in the NHRA POWERade standings - "We have had our share of ups and downs lately. Losing in the second round at Joliet after...

QUOTABLE:

Doug Kalitta - driver of the Mac tools dragster who is second to newly crowned Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon in the NHRA POWERade standings - "We have had our share of ups and downs lately. Losing in the second round at Joliet after running the 4.42 (seconds, the quickest elapsed time in NHRA history) in qualifying was tough. That deal in Reading (Pa.) was really odd (referring to his Mac Tools dragster's backfire before starting the car for round one of eliminations). We're not sure what happened. Evidently, there was enough compression in the number seven cylinder to ignite before we even put a spark to it. We went through our normal routine to turn the motor over before starting and it just boomed. Our Mac Tools team is resilient. We have three races remaining this year, and we would like to finish the season positively. We would like to finish the year strong and keep our second place standing in the points."

Tony Schumacher - driver of the U.S. Army dragster who recently established a national record for elapsed time (4.441) at Reading, Pa., en route to the victory. Schumacher has been impressive lately, winning three times out of four events - "I guess that (performance at Reading) is as good as it gets. We got the maximum number of points available on a race weekend (138). The Army team has been working real hard to enjoy that kind of success. Finally, it paid off in a huge way. Given how we started the season (five first round losses and a DNQ over the first nine races), getting to this point is a tremendous accomplishment. It also says a lot about the fight in this team. Nobody gave up when things were going bad. And, of course, when we added (crew chief) Alan Johnson, our performance really took off. It's been very gratifying to see the progress we've made in such a short time."

Gary Scelzi - driver of the Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car for Schumacher Racing and a three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion. Scelzi holds the national record for speed (329.18 mph) and has one victory on the season, making him the 13th driver in NHRA history to have won a national event in Top Fuel and Funny Car. Scelzi is currently seventh in the NHRA POWERade standings, 49 points behind sixth-place Ron Capps - "We're not backing down at all this year. We are going to pour the coals on the Oakley Dodge and give it everything we got and try to finish in the top six in the standings. We had an opportunity to win at Reading (Pa.) a few weeks back, but we just missed. We're not going to change our game plan. This has turned into somewhat of an agonizing season, mainly because I know that this team is way better than we're showing. We've just had no luck and luck is a big part of this sport. You make your own luck, but we just can't seem to get a break."

Greg Anderson - driver of the Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am and newly crowned 2003 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champion. Anderson has had one of the most dominant Pro Stock seasons in recent years. He has a chance to tie, or eclipse, the single-season Pro Stock win mark (11, Darrell Alderman, 1991) and earlier this year set the national record for both time (6.670 seconds) and speed (207.18) - "I don't even know where to start. What a year we've had. This team, our program, the performance of our Pontiac Grand Am - we've got the total package. It's pretty amazing and I feel very fortunate. (Team owner) Ken Black has been great and I wouldn't be here if it weren't for him. He has given me this opportunity and I will forever be grateful to him. If you win the championship you need to have a good resume full of wins. I don't want to finish this season so-so. I want to go out leaving everyone worried about us next year. You have to keep your competitors thinking. We're not done with the season yet. We're going after the race win record. That's the only thing I see left that we need to do this year. We have to win both races to do that. That would make this campaign complete."

Troy Coughlin - driver of the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier and a two-time runner-up this season, including the recent Lucas Oil Nationals at Reading, Pa. - "We had a solid performance in Reading and we expect to see that trend continue for the remaining races on the schedule. Our entire program is moving forward together and that is the key to our recent resurgence at the track. We are making more horsepower and we are making good decisions as a team. We had a fast race car that was consistent and that makes everyone's job on our team does a little easier."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Ron Capps , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Ken Black