Baca qualifies fourth as his fight against cancer continues ST. LOUIS (June 24) -- Flying the bright pink colors of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help raise awareness of the disease that has stricken a member of his racing...
Baca qualifies fourth as his fight against cancer continues
ST. LOUIS (June 24) -- Flying the bright pink colors of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help raise awareness of the disease that has stricken a member of his racing family, Top Fuel driver David Baca drove his Mach 1 Air Services dragster to the No. 4 position in the field of the 10th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals.
Tripping the quarter-mile timer in 4.594 seconds at 326.87 mph, Baca will have lane choice and a distinct advantage over Sunday's first-round opponent Morgan Lucas, whose best qualifying time was a labored 4.725 seconds and 275.28 mph.
"We're really excited about beginning eliminations from the fourth position," Baca said. "This is our second best starting slot of the season and the fifth time this year we've qualified in the top half of the field. It gives us a leg up going into Sunday's action and our Mach 1 race team deserves this. The guys have worked really hard for it."
Baca is carrying breast cancer awareness ribbon stickers on his racecar this weekend as well as a "Get Well" message to Terri Valenti, whose husband Rick serves as district manager for the Seattle office of freight forwarder Mach 1 Air Services, the title sponsor of Baca's car.
"If someone in our extended racing family needs help, we always try to be there for them," Baca said. "Terri is getting the best care available but we still wanted to let her know she's in our thoughts and prayers.
"We had the folks from the Susan G. Komen-St. Louis branch out today handing out ribbons to the fans and it was awesome to see everyone's response. People know what they are trying to do and how important the fight has become. Lots of media people stopped by also so that will help them spread their message."
A finalist earlier this year in Pomona, Calif., Baca knows a big race day will help get his sponsor, race team, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation more attention.
Mach 1 crew chief Rick Henkelman felt optimistic. "We knew the track would be our biggest opponent this weekend," Henkelman said. "We weren't going after low E.T. or top speed, all of our efforts were toward Sunday eliminations and we're right where we want to be."
Eliminations begin at 3 p.m.