David Baca looks toward 2003 after disappointing outing in Pomona. POMONA, Calif.Â --Â With the field set by Thursday's one and only qualifying session and, for some in the top 10 in points, by the NHRA rulebook, eliminations got underway on...
David Baca looks toward 2003 after disappointing outing in Pomona.
POMONA, Calif. -- With the field set by Thursday's one and only qualifying session and, for some in the top 10 in points, by the NHRA rulebook, eliminations got underway on Sunday for the season-final NHRA Auto Club of Southern California Finals.
Qualifying for his first Top Fuel eliminations, David Baca, from Brentwood, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Prolong/Waterloo/303 Protectant Top Fuel Dragster, met Rhonda Hartman-Smith in the first round of Sunday's eliminations.
For Baca, a second generation driver whose father won the Finals in 1977, it was over before it started. Unable to get the car in reverse and having the crew pushing the car back toward the starting line, Baca was forced to shut it down and Hartman-Smith had a free ride to the finish line.
"I'm not exactly sure what happen," said Baca, following the disappointing defeat. " I couldn't get it in and out of gear and couldn't find neutral. I was moving it back and forth on the pedal trying to find the neutral spot. Even though I was pushed back it was too late to stage and the rest as they say is history.
"Even though we were shorted some qualifying runs, it was quite awesome just to get into the show here. We did what we set out to do in these final two races that we competed in -- get seat time and at Pomona get some Bud Shootout qualifying points. It's great and we want to thank Prolong, Waterloo and 303 Protectant for bringing us out early and giving us this opportunity.
"We're upbeat regarding next year. I've got three or four things out right now and I'd like to believe that they're very close. We'd still like to believe that we will be able to fund two of these cars to keep Cory (McClenathan) and I together. God forbid, if we can't get the funding and get it done we'll have the one car and go one more full year. All-in-all, it's been a great year. We surprised a lot of people and we'll go right on surprising them next year." -h&bm-