Richmond Pennzoil Final Report

Team Pennzoil entries fall short RICHMOND, Va. (May 3) - The extra day of waiting turned out to be too much for the Team Pennzoil entries of Eddie Hill and Mike Thomas as both men bowed out of title contention in the quarterfinal round of the ...

Team Pennzoil entries fall short

RICHMOND, Va. (May 3) - The extra day of waiting turned out to be too much for the Team Pennzoil entries of Eddie Hill and Mike Thomas as both men bowed out of title contention in the quarterfinal round of the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. A relentless rain at Virginia Motorsports Park delayed the elimination session of the event from Sunday afternoon until 11 a.m. today.

While both men managed to post very competitive times and speeds when the racing resumed on this slightly hotter Monday morning, they weren't able to overcome their respective opponents and will now go home thinking about the one that got away.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, gave current Winston points leader Mike Dunn all he could handle in a spectacular side-by-side race but came up about four feet short at the finish line. Dunn finished in 4.643 seconds at 306.33 mph to Hill's 4.667-second lap at 295.59 mph.

"We dropped a cylinder and started losing speed somewhere around the 1,000-foot mark and it cost us the win," Hill said. "I really thought I had that one. I left him at the lights by a little bit and it felt so good, carrying the front tires down the track. Then the black car slowly started to disappear out of my vision and I started to celebrate. Then towards the end I felt the Pennzoil car slow and he started creeping back in. I thought 'oh no' but I still thought I had him at the lights. It was that close at the finish line.

"I'm very proud of the effort we had in that substandard lane. I sure didn't want to smoke the tires but I also wanted to fight for a win. We ended up being the quickest car down that side by a long shot, which tells me our real racecar is finally back. We should really be able to get back into the points race from here on out. We're all fired up in our pit."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac and recent inductee into the Speed-Pro 200-MPH Club, posted another impressive lap against John Nobile but couldn't make up the starting line deficit he yielded at the tree. Thomas reacted to the light in 0.538 seconds and went on to cross the timers in 6.895 seconds at 199.43 mph. Nobile, meanwhile, got off to a 0.489-second start before posting a 6.933-second pass at 198.47 mph to take the extremely narrow win.

"I don't know what to say," Thomas said. "We have four perfect runs in a row, we're the fastest car out there and I screw it all up with a bad light. I lined up too far right and I guess I was thinking about that too much and not focusing on the light. A slight distraction cost me a race I definitely should have won. But John made a nice run and he beat me.

"It seems like things would have been different yesterday. We were all so fired up and I was really peaking at the right time. All in all, this was a good weekend that could have and should have been a great weekend. Getting into the 200-Club was a great honor and the car and crew are in top shape. Mark my words, we will contend for every race from here on in. This car is too fast for us not to be involved in the points race."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , John Nobile , Mike Dunn