Reading: Mark Whisnant preview

Whisnant has an eye On the record book. READING, Pa. -- This weekend the POWERade Drag Racing series makes its next stop of the 2002 season at Maple Grove Raceway for the 18th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Mark Whisnant, driver of the RW ...

Whisnant has an eye On the record book.

READING, Pa. -- This weekend the POWERade Drag Racing series makes its next stop of the 2002 season at Maple Grove Raceway for the 18th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Mark Whisnant, driver of the RW Performance Chevrolet Cavalier, is anxiously looking forward to making his first Pro Stock start at a racetrack with a reputation for breaking records.

Over the years, Reading has earned notoriety for being the racetrack where Pro Stock national ET and speed records are broken and rebroken. These naturally aspirated; big block race machines love the cool, fall New England temperatures, and low barometric pressure. Combine that with a superbly prepared racing surface like that found at Maple Grove Raceway, and the result is a situation that has the competitors of the Pro Stock class just itching to get on the racetrack.

"I can't wait to get to Reading," said Whisnant from his home in Stockbridge, Ga. "This weekend the conditions are going to prefect for Pro Stock racing. Records fall in Maple Grove. If the weather cooperates, I think that Reading will be the place where someone will step up and run better than 6.750, and I would like that someone to be me.

"In Seattle James (Crew Chief James Reichard) and the guys gave me a great racecar and we ran a 6.777 and almost broke the record there. If he can make this Cavalier hook up this weekend like it did in Seattle, we will have a pretty good chance of breaking the record. Breaking the record would be great, but our first priority is to get the car qualified.

"No doubt about it, it is going to be tough this weekend. In this class, you can win a race one-week and go to the next event and DNQ. There are good racers going home on Saturday night every weekend, so we would be foolish to think that we are locked into a starting spot at this or any other race.

"This team approaches every race the same way. What we are doing is not brain surgery. Our strategy is that we make the best run we can right out of the box, and then work hard to try to improve with every pass. That is exactly what we will do in Reading, and if everything goes right, we will be racing on Sunday morning. Because records are nice, but winning races is what it is all about."

Qualifying at the 18th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will begin on Friday Sept. 13 and continue on Saturday Sept. 14. Eliminations begin at 11:00 AM EST on Sunday Sept. 15.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Whisnant