Richmond Pennzoil Racing Friday Report

Pennzoil Nationals off to steady start RICHMOND, Va. (April 30) - The opening round of the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto got off to a spectacular start Friday afternoon at Virginia Motorsports Park. The cool weather ...

Pennzoil Nationals off to steady start

RICHMOND, Va. (April 30) - The opening round of the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto got off to a spectacular start Friday afternoon at Virginia Motorsports Park. The cool weather that descended on the area provided an extremely fast playing field for the world's fastest drivers and many finished the session with new career-best marks.

Pennzoil Top Fuel pilot Eddie Hill had slight fuel line problems but still posted a competitive time in relation to the rest of the field. In the Pro Stock class, three more drivers joined the 200-mph club, nearly doubling the number of previous members. Unfortunately, the Pennzoil entries of Bruce Allen and Mike Thomas both squandered extra-quick launches when they had to shut their motors off early.

Here's a quick recap of each driver's opening round pass at Virginia Motorsports Park.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, posted a 4.765-second lap at 301.60 mph to open his weekend of racing. The time temporarily put Hill into the fifth position.

"Well we got down through there and not many cars did so we're relatively happy," Hill said. "We knew the track was loose so we set her up real easy just to make sure we got a lap in and got some good data to work with. We actually could have been quicker but a fuel line ruptured down near the finish line and that zapped some of our power."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, started his Round 1 lap with the best 60-foot time ever recorded (1.004 seconds) but failed to complete the pass under power after his car neared the centerline and he aborted the run. Thomas went on to record an official time of 9.841 seconds at 92.10 mph, placing him in the No. 20 spot.

"I'm as disappointed as can be that I couldn't capitalize on that launch," Thomas said. "I thought I saved it but when I shifted from first to second the back end came around and I knew I had to shut it down. We just over-torqued the track that time. We are poised to smash the existing records tonight. This Pennzoil Firebird will be ready for a record-breaking run."

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, followed the same pattern as teammate Thomas. Allen started fast with a 1.020-second 60-foot time only to get extremely loose soon thereafter to the point that he elected to turn off his motor and avoid any potential accidents. Allen is currently in 22nd place on the 29-car ladder.

"She spun straight up in first gear and started shaking," Allen said. "But we still gleaned some good clutch and gear ratio info so we'll be able to make the necessary adjustments for tonight. The track's green so the more cars that go down it the better it will be for all of us."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen