Memphis Yates and Dunn Story

The NHRA drag racers head to the Memphis Moptorsports Park for the Pennzoil Nationals on October 5-8. Teams are looking for new track records as this event moves from the hot humid weather of May and June to the cooler weather of October....

The NHRA drag racers head to the Memphis Moptorsports Park for the Pennzoil Nationals on October 5-8. Teams are looking for new track records as this event moves from the hot humid weather of May and June to the cooler weather of October. Memphis Motorpsorts Park is owned by Chris Pook, who also owns Gateway International. Racers are looking forward to recent upgrades at the Memphis facility, including an extension of the concrete pad.

Jim Yates, driver of the McDonalds Pontiac Firebird, is atop the point standings in Pro Stock. Commenting on the Pro Stock championship, Yates said, "Our future is in our own hands". Yates hasn't considered running conservatively as the race for the championship comes down the homestretch, "we've got nothing to lose, we've got seven or eight rounds over Warren (Johnson)." Yates points out that while he has to watch the Johnsons in the points race, come race day everyone is going to come gunning for the points leader.

Yates thinks the move to October will provide the air needed to run the Pro Stocks in the sixes. The Pro Stocks have yet to run in the sixes at Memphis. While track records will probably be broken, Yates says "it's going to take a different car to win on Sunday than it will to go fast on Saturday or Friday night". As the sun sets at Memphis, temperatures can drop fifteen degrees making the Friday night qualifying session all that more critical.

Top Fuel driver Mike Dunn says the October weather will make such a difference that "we'll toss out the book". Dunn says they expect the track to be in good shape so they'll "run the motor hard" on the first pass. Dunn expects to be aggressive on their first run "to see how the track is", then back down the clutch if necessary.

Dunn has been able to tap the resources of Chrysler's engineers in the Mopar team's search for speed. "We've been experimenting and we've found more speed" Dunn said.

But the ability to run a fast time does not get you into victory lane. The team needs be more consistent to get back to winning. Dunn has been driving for Darrel Gwynn for five years. Dunn likes the team and knows they have all the key ingredients to field a winning car. "We've got the budget, the parts, we've got everything we need." Dunn is confident that the Mopar Top Fuel Team will be visiting victory lane in the very near future.

David Reininger - MNI - Motorsport News International

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA