Pomona: Scotty Cannon preview

New level of excitement for Cannon INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 31, 2002) -- Scotty Cannon will begin his 13th season as a professional drag racer and his fourth as a Funny Car driver on the National Hot Rod Association circuit. Unlike the previous 12 ...

New level of excitement for Cannon

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 31, 2002) -- Scotty Cannon will begin his 13th season as a professional drag racer and his fourth as a Funny Car driver on the National Hot Rod Association circuit. Unlike the previous 12 years, Cannon will not own his race team in 2002, but the colorful racer with the patented Mohawk hairstyle will continue to be actively involved as the driver of the Oakley Mad Science Funny Car.

At the conclusion of last season, Cannon's Oakley team joined forces with Don Schumacher Racing as a teammate to the Matco Tools Funny Car, driven by Whit Bazemore. The two-car team will make its debut at the NHRA season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals, Feb 7-10 at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway.

"I feel the Oakley team has a better chance of winning and going for the championship because of our new situation and having a multiple car team to learn from," said Cannon, who finished 12th in the point standings last year. "My motivation is still 100% - it has to or you shouldn't be doing this. It's my excitement level that has gone up a few notches."

Cannon entered the NHRA scene in 1999 after a brilliant and legendary career on the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) circuit where he won six Pro Modified national championships and was named seven times to the prestigious Car Craft Magazine All-Star Race Team.

Though he is not the owner, Cannon is looking forward to draw on his multifaceted background and be a valuable resource to the race team.

"When I first signed up for this program there was plenty of speculation that I wouldn't be able to drive by not being a hands-on person," said Cannon, a 39 year-old resident of Lyman, S.C. "It is true that I don't have to go and get a torch anymore and cut the car up or saw stuff up, but after every run I make, Lee and Zippy (co-crew chiefs Lee Beard and Mike "Zippy" Neff) are going to depend on my feedback. We already built a good relationship in our test sessions in Phoenix. By being an owner, driver and tuner, I understand what the relationship needs to be between the driver and tuner. Both Lee and Zippy understand that too.

"This isn't one of those deals where they say, 'Scotty get in the car, shut up and drive.' It's not like that at all. That's important to me and my confidence as a team driver. The long and short of it is -- we have the same outlook - we want to win...no matter whose idea it is, just as long as the car performs. Nobody is looking to get a pat on the back, we're just looking to win."

Cannon and the Oakley team spent 10 days testing at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix. Cannon had the third quickest run of the Phoenix test session with a 4.802-second elapsed time. "We got a lot of work done in Phoenix," said Cannon. "We are feeling optimistic going into the Winternationals. However, testing is one thing, now you have to go and do it in real competition. I feel the Oakley team is ready."

-co-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Scotty Cannon , Don Schumacher