PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 39th ANNUAL AUTOZONE WINTERNATIONALS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1999 POMONA, CALIFORNIA PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) "That was the ugly duckling run of the session. The car went to...
PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 39th ANNUAL AUTOZONE WINTERNATIONALS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1999 POMONA, CALIFORNIA
Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) "That was the ugly duckling run of the session. The car went to the left, shook the tires on every gear change, moved all over the race track, and still managed to get to the other end in one piece! We've got something to work with now. We were too aggressive on the clutch because we didn't want to burn up the discs; we felt the track wouldn't be at its optimum today because of the humidity. We needed to learn from this first run. You know, they took my 'performance advantage' away, so I had to do something.
"The situation with the body was a situation with NHRA, not the race car. They couldn't determine what a race car is supposed to look like. I don't know if I set the Winternationals record for the hammer throw, but I was certainly practicing it.
"People have picked on my cars for 25 years. If you've got to change it to race, you've got to change it. At the same time, if I have to jump through hoops, I think everyone else should too. They never applied those templates top anyone's else's car, so there seems to be a problem with the application of the rules to all competitors. They're probably down at Office Depot making more cardboard templates. We used the GM Goodwrench Service approved duct tape, so it will hold at 200 mph.
"If you're going to have a rule, enforce it. Don't come up with an ambiguous rule that can't be enforced. I asked them to give me a dimension to fix it; they told me they didn't have a dimension. At $10,000 per change, I wasn't going to keep changing the car until they liked it."
Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) "The air is real good to run in, it's just that the track isn't ready. It was real cold and loose in the middle and the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird just spun the tires right from the time I put it in second gear to the time I got to the finish line. "The parachutes didn't come out and thank God we got it stopped. It was out of control at the end. The track was really, really loose in the middle - a lot of spinning the tires. But after the Top Fuel cars and Funny Cars put some rubber on the track, and we get some sunshine, it will improve conditions considerably." No. 7 qualifier - 6.986ET/196.85MPH
Bruce Allen (Outlaw Pontiac Firebird) "We came here with a different plan this year. We wanted to be more conservative so that we could get some information, prepare for each round with more data and go from there. That time we were light on the clutch and the tires spun and shook a little in third gear. The Outlaw Pontiac Firebird should have gone a little faster but we're about where we expected to be. The weather definitely has the track off a little bit." No. 11 qualifier - 7.022ET/196.22MPH
Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) "We didn't have enough clutch to run as well as we should have and we just blew it out of the can. Even in high gear, the Summit Racing Firebird just didn't come together. These were good conditions to run in but the track doesn't have a lot of rubber out there and the car tends to shake a little bit. We were way under power though. Tomorrow we just tray and go faster. Everything we did today is very correctable we just missed it on the tune up. We're pretty confident coming into the new season. We've got some good power and it we think it's going to get us in the winner's circle a few times this year." No. 9 qualifier - 6.996ET/196.47MPH
Mike Thomas (Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird) "I'm not sure that the track wasn't wet out there. They (NHRA Safety Crew) deemed it okay to run on and people behind me ran some 6.90's so I guess it was okay. It's just that the way the Pennzoil Firebird reacted it seemed like I hit a wet spot. Either way, the clutch seemed a little off. It's just hard to tell because we didn't get much info out of that run." No. 25 qualifier - 8.524ET/115.06MPH
Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) "It's always good to get the first run of the season in. We had a line come loose and the car didn't have any clutch. It was one of those runs that not a lot went right but it was still good enough to get the Interstate Batteries Firebird in the show. Tomorrow's a whole new day, we'll get two more shots at it and that No. 1 qualifying spot is still up for grabs. The car could have run in the 5.00's, but I felt it start to go away and it wasn't worth taking a chance. That's why I took my foot off the accelerator. Testing went so well for us that we're pretty confident that we can put up a big number tomorrow and then get ready for Sunday." No. 7 qualifier - 5.717ET/207.53MPH Del Worsham (Checkers Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) "Like most cars out there tonight, we started shaking and I had to pedal it. All the pre-season testing we did paid off and by looking at the numbers, you can tell this Firebird made a pretty outstanding run. At Tucson, we had runs that could easily have been 4.82 or 4.83, so tomorrow, I feel that we have the potential to run in the 4.80's,and that would be a great run. That's the first time we've been the No. 1 qualifier since Brainerd in 1991. The way the car shook, and our car will usually only shake on good tracks, I think maybe we misjudged it a little bit and that's why we shook out there. "To be able to pedal it and run 4.96 tells us that rest of the track was pretty good - better than what we gave it credit for. We thought since it was so cold that the race track was going to be a little slick. But I think with all the cars on it, the track got a little heat in it and that played to our advantage. Our goal was to get it qualified and get in the show. We got bit here last Fall, and we weren't going to let that happen again. We're just elated that the run was s good as it was. Tomorrow we're going to push it and hopefully, get rid of that tire shake. We do that and we can run in the low to mid 4.80s." No. 1 qualifier - 4.968ET/291.51MPH