Phoenix Pontiac Racing Saturday Report

PHOENIX (February 26, 2000) - The field is set for the 16th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals. In Funny Car Del Worsham's 2000 Pontiac Firebird is qualified in the No. 5 position with an elapsed time of 4.952 seconds at 305.49 mph. Al ...

PHOENIX (February 26, 2000) - The field is set for the 16th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals. In Funny Car Del Worsham's 2000 Pontiac Firebird is qualified in the No. 5 position with an elapsed time of 4.952 seconds at 305.49 mph. Al Hofmann, also driving the 2000 Pontiac Firebird is qualified is the No. 6 spot with an elapsed time of 4.970 seconds at 300.66 mph. Phil Burkhart is qualified eighth, Frank Pedregon in another 2000 Firebird Funny Car body is 12th, Gary Densham is 13th and Cristen Powell will start from the No. 14 position. Dale Creasy Jr., and Bruce Sarver did not make the 16-car field. The No. 1 qualifier is Ron Caps in a Camaro with an elapsed time of 4.858 seconds at 305.42 mph. John Force is second in a Mustang, Jerry Toliver is third in a Camaro and Tony Pedregon is fourth in a Mustang.

Television coverage of the CSK Nationals can be seen on Speedvision on Sunday, February 27 beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern.

FUNNY CAR

Al Hofmann (Mooneyes Pontiac Firebird) - "That last run in the Mooneyes Firebird was good. I was happy to repeat under the same conditions that we ran in yesterday, and switching to the other lane and running the exact same time, I was happy with that. We spun the tires pretty good down on the other end, but we're in the right lane this afternoon, so I think we'll run faster." No. 6 qualifier - 4.970ET/300.66MPH

Bruce Sarver (emoola.com Pontiac Firebird) - "Everything was fine and the emoola.com Firebird ran really well. It was on a 4.95ET run like we ran in Pomona, but when we got to half-track where it catches the clutch, the front end was really light. We're changing some aerodynamic stuff with the body right now. Hopefully we'll get the front end planted and get some weight up on the front bar so we can get it to steer. On that last pass, it went over towards the wall and we had to get out of the throttle, so we don't want to have to do that again."

Second Session: "The emoola.com Firebird left real nice, got out about 200 ft. and with the tire shake plus the track getting a little tighter than we really thought, it just wasn't for us. We missed two runs because of Friday, so we only had the one run this morning when the car was really hard to steer down the course. Needless to say, missing those two runs didn't help us and we couldn't really stand on the tune-up this afternoon because we went into the final round with the mentality that we had to get in the show. There was a lot of oil downs today, plus the air got better and the track got better, so the track beat us on that one. We made some adjustments on the chassis after this morning's session, and it helped because I got all the way down the track. But its still a hand-full. At this point, we just can't wait to get the new 2000 Firebird body." No. 20 qualifier - 5.252ET/222.25MPH Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) -"We are really pumped about that lap, but not because we think a 4.95 is the end of the rainbow. We're pumped because this team, both teams, are working so well and we tuned this car just the way you want to do it. We ran a nice solid lap yesterday, got some consistency with another one earlier today, then took all the data from both cars and came up with a tune-up that we really thought would run a mid-4.90. As the sun was going down I got a little worried about the track, but we figured this Pontiac would either put up a number or not make it to 60-feet. If it got past the 60-foot cone, I thought it would be big. This new 2000 Firebird body is incredible. Once you get some speed up, the aerodynamics on this thing just plant you to the track. I love it. The first round match up is good and bad. It's good we both made the program, but bad one of us has to lose. On the other hand, it's good that one of the Checker-Schuck's-Kragen cars will make it to the middle rounds and have a chance to keep going. You absolutely can't win the race if you don't win first round. Whichever one of us it is, both crews will be working on that car as soon as Round 1 is over. It will be head-to-head and these two teams will have some serious pride on the line tomorrow." No. 5 qualifier - 4.952ET/305.49MPH

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "That surprised us quite a bit that it slowed down that lap. We dropped a cylinder down track and it started to chew itself up down there, so that killed the ET. I'm glad we got this new 2000 Firebird down the track again though. We need that consistently and the confidence you get from going out there expecting to go to the finish line. The team has grown so much this week, it's been a very tough work week for us, long days and nights, and they've really come together as a unit. These guys on the Blue Team are working as a team now, it's pretty remarkable to watch. It's too bad Del and I have to run each other in Round 1, but in one way that's what this team effort is all about, getting a Checker-Schuck's-Kragen car to the Finals. One of us will get past the first round, then we'll have a crew of about 15 people working on that car. We'll all win together when we win." No. 12 qualifier - 5.078/297.88MPH

Cristen Powell (Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "Going to Pomona and not qualifying, it was a real let-down, but understandable for such a new team. And our number one goal here was obviously to qualify, and of course to win the race, but first things first. To get that 5.13ET yesterday, and know that we're safely in the field, that was really nice. We were trying to step it up a bit but it kept shaking, which I think a lot of people are having trouble with. This morning it shook, and I pedaled it and managed to get it down the racetrack. The good thing about tire shake, verses smoking the tires, is that you have a chance of correcting it by pedaling. Ronnie (Swearingen) really knows what he's doing, so we'll get it all figured out. We're in for race day, what more could we ask for?" No. 14 qualifier - 5.130ET/290.44MPH

Gary Densham (NEC Pontiac Firebird) - "The NEC Firebird didn't run as good as we had hoped, but tomorrow's another day, and you're in the field and anything can happen at that point. We can really see the advantage of the new 2000 Firebird body in the cars that are out there running and obviously we're looking forward to getting ours as soon as we possibly can. We all knew it was going to be better, it's just nice to see that it really is better. I think we can make up some more power tomorrow and do some things that we need to do to step it up. Tomorrow's race day and anyone can win!" No. 13 qualifier - 5.115ET/293.41MPH

Dale Creasy (Mad Magazine Pontiac Firebird) - "It was ugly from the hit of the gas. Something just wasn't right. We didn't change anything from yesterday, so obviously we're missing something from the first run we made. We thought we had put it back where it was, and it is. Theoretically everything is back where we put it, and it just didn't like it. So we'll make some changes and go out there and give it our best shot. We'll get the right lane again. It's the only lane we've gotten down. It was a right lane, left lane, left lane , right lane this time, so we had to play out the game just like it was given to us. I think the Mad Magazine Firebird will be OK though. Its there, the power is there now and in Pomona we didn't have any, so I just have to put it all together." No. 19 qualifier - 5.242ET/283.19MPH

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , John Force , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Jerry Toliver , Cristen Powell