Reading: Pontiac Racing Saturday notes

Mohnton, Pa., October 5, 2001 - Qualifying got underway today for the Pep Boys Nationals presented by Greased Lightning at Maple Grove Raceway. In Pro Stock, Jim Yates drove the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am to the pole with a...

Mohnton, Pa., October 5, 2001 - Qualifying got underway today for the Pep Boys Nationals presented by Greased Lightning at Maple Grove Raceway. In Pro Stock, Jim Yates drove the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am to the pole with a track-record elapsed time of 6.832 seconds at 201.07 mph. "What a beautiful day," said Yates. "The left lane was great this morning. With the cool air and the sun out, our Grand Am ran right down the track. We've got a great combination for that type of weather. This afternoon we had to change around a few things because it got a little warmer and the track temperature went up. I feel like we probably gave up a little bit. Regardless, I think we can just throw out everything we did today because the weather forecast for tomorrow looks as if it's going to be 10-degrees cooler than today and that means it's going to be fast. I just hope my 6.83 stays in the program. "I consider this track to be my hometrack. We always shine here. Even when I was bracket racing with my Super Pro car we did well. I think that gives us an advantage. The fans are great here. We have fans that follow our program and come to this race and cheer us on. They are really great. Hopefully we can give them something to cheer about all weekend." Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy Cavalier follows Yates in the second qualifying spot, Mark Osborne is third in a Dodge, George Marnell is fourth in a Grand Am and Tom Hammonds is fifth in a Cavalier. Warren Johnson is qualified seventh, Bruce Allen is 12th, Mark Pawuk is 15th and Tom Martino is 16th - all in Pontiac Grand Ams. In Funny Car, Whit Bazemore drove the Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird to the No. 3 qualifying position with an elapsed time of 4.855 seconds and a track-record speed of 315.42 mph. "We're happy with today's runs," said Bazemore. "We were hoping to get the pole but we'll just have to get it tomorrow. The Firebird is running great. I can't say enough about Lee Beard, and the whole team and how good of a job they are doing. It's amazing to be doing so well and to be competing at this level. It's been a lot of fun these past few weeks for the team and myself. "If we get to run tomorrow, I think we'll see my 4.75 second elapsed time record broken. Hopefully it will be me that does it, but if it gets as cool as they're saying, it should be fast. I'm looking forward to it, as I'm sure everyone else is. We want to put on a good show for the fans - after all that's why they're here. We're going to do our best to give them a show they won't forget." Gary Densham is the No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 4.833 seconds at 301.60 mph. Tommy Johnson Jr. is second in a Camaro, Tony Pedregon is fourth and Scotty Cannon is fifth in the Oakley Pontiac Firebird. Del Worsham is qualified eighth, Al Hofmann is 14th, Jerry Toliver is 15th and Dale Creasy Jr. is 16th - all in Firebirds. In Top Fuel, Team Pontiac driver Mike Dunn ran an elapsed time of 4.570 seconds at a track-record speed of 326.40 mph. That was good for the No. 2 qualifying position. "That first run we had today the dragster did everything we wanted it to do," said Dunn. "It was really exciting for the whole team to run low e.t. of the round. During the second session, we were running on seven cylinders and still ran a 4.59, but it's such a disappointment. We wanted to be No. 1. We still have tomorrow to get it done if the weather allows us too. But it would've been nice to have gotten it today. For one reason, we would have a bye in the first round on Sunday since there are only 15 cars here. But we'll just hope that we get out on the track tomorrow and get the job done." Gary Scelzi is on the pole with an elapsed time of 4.544 seconds at 320.13 mph. Larry Dixon is qualified third, Kenny Bernstein is fourth and Andrew Cowin is fifth. The Pep Boys Nationals is the 21st race on the 24-event NHRA Winston Drag Racing tour. ESPN2 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights on Sunday, October 7, starting at 1:30 a.m. Eastern. Final eliminations coverage will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday, October 7 beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern.

-GM Racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Andrew Cowin , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Bruce Allen , Tom Hammonds , Tom Martino , George Marnell , Jerry Toliver , Tommy Johnson Jr.