Pomona TeamPennzoil Thursday notes

Thomas gives Team Pennzoil early boost POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12) -- The final race of the National Hot Rod Association season opened with a single round of professional qualifying Thursday afternoon at Pomona Raceway. Picture-perfect conditions...

Thomas gives Team Pennzoil early boost

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12) -- The final race of the National Hot Rod Association season opened with a single round of professional qualifying Thursday afternoon at Pomona Raceway. Picture-perfect conditions greeted the large group of drivers who spent the day preparing their cars for a run at the championship of the 34th Annual Winston Finals.

Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas, who recorded the fastest pass of his career, led Team Pennzoil through Round 1 with a 199.24-mph pass. Thomas' teammates, meanwhile, had eventful but unfruitful first round laps. Here's a quick recap of each driver's pass.

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, carded the fastest pass of his seven-year career when his car went 199.24 mph during his 6.950-second opening-round pass. The impressive speed helped place Thomas in the No. 7 spot.

"Not a bad way to start," a beaming Thomas said. "I knew the conditions were good for a fast lap. It was just a question of whether or not the track would hold the cars. Obviously, it did. The bump is already 6.98 seconds. We shook the tires pretty good during the second and third gear changes. If we can eliminate that problem, we can go faster for sure. I'm certainly not going to hold anything back."

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, nearly suffered a nose-over-rear-end blowover in his first-round lap. Fortunately, the savvy veteran was able to avert disaster by shutting off his engine and aborting his pass. Hill's official tally was a 8.959-second elapsed time at 84.25 mph, which left him in 18th place.

"I was trying too hard to get off to a good start," Hill said.. "The front end lifted nicely and I was carrying it well for a while but then she raised way up and I had to shut her off quick to not go end-over-end. I really banged her down hard and I blew the front left tire and bent all the steering and chassis parts up there. I'm glad we have several more shots at getting in. The set-up was good. We just didn't have enough weight up front."

Bruce Allen, the driver of the Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, posted a relatively slow 7.029-second lap at 197.10 mph in Round 1. The pass left Allen outside the field of 16 qualified drivers in the 25th place.

"We lost all of our elapsed time right at the start," Allen said. "The car started shaking part-way through low gear and most of the way through second and it just killed our time. Down-track was great. In third, fourth and fifth gear we were fine. Everyone else got off to a real good start so we need to make the necessary adjustments now and get our car in the field. We have as good a chance as anyone of getting in."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen