Mother Nature rains on Hammonds' Pomona parade. 2002 has been a very dry year in Los Angeles. In fact, when showers moved in to interrupt the first day of qualifying for the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, it was the first ...
Mother Nature rains on Hammonds' Pomona parade.
2002 has been a very dry year in Los Angeles. In fact, when showers moved in to interrupt the first day of qualifying for the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, it was the first significant precipitation the area had seen in 283 days.
However, over the next two days, a severe storm system dropped several inches of rain on Pomona Raceway, washing out the final three qualifying sessions. Faced with the severe constraints of the last race of the season, NHRA officials spent hours considering their options.
In the end, they decided to use the rule designed to cover this type of situation, setting the field for Sunday's final eliminations based on the single qualifying session. Unfortunately, this brought a premature end to Tom Hammonds and the Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Racing team's season.
"Although I'm disappointed and frustrated at not being able to race on Sunday, there's nothing you can do about the weather. Naturally, we never expected that Thursday's qualifying session would be our only opportunity to qualify, but that's how it played out. Everyone had the same chance, and unfortunately, for the first time in several races, we weren't able to get down the racetrack. It's certainly not the way we had expected to end our season.
"It was an interesting year, filled with ups and downs. Although you're never fully satisfied unless you're the champion, I'm pleased with our results. I learned a lot about racing both on and off the track, but the one accomplishment I'm most proud of is how we grew together as a team, working through the tough times and never putting our heads down. For that, I have to acknowledge my crew, Eric Luzinski, Brian Morris and Charles Hughes. We were really working well together at the end of the year, and I'm really looking forward to next season.
"I'd also like to thank all my sponsors one last time for their support throughout the year. Without great companies like Winnebago, GM Vehicle Care, Chevrolet, Mac Tools, Kendall Motor Oil and American Racing Wheels, we would not be able to pursue this dream. I'm proud to represent them, and look forward to welcoming them back next year.
"We've already mapped out our strategy for the off-season, and plan on doing some extensive testing starting in a few weeks. We know the Pro Stock division will be even tougher next year, and we want to make sure we're ready for the challenge."
2002 Season Highlights:
- Completed his first full season of NHRA Pro Stock competition.
- Finished 14th in the 2002 NHRA POWERade points standings, a career best.
- Set new personal, single-season marks for races entered (23), starts (11) and elimination rounds won (12).
- Appeared in his third career final round at the Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL.
- Posted his career-best qualifying effort with his second place showing at the Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, FL, a performance he repeated at the Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL.
- Set a personal mark of qualifying for twelve consecutive races, starting with the 2001 Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals in Brainerd, MN and ending with the 2002 Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, TN.