Rick Santos, driver of the Oakwood Homes Federal-Mogul Dragster, will compete in the 11th annual Pennzoil Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park for the first time in his 14 year career. The Oakwood Homes / Jack O'Bannon race team, based in California, leads the Federal-Mogul Dragster National Championship points standings by 32 points as of 10/5/98.
They have three national wins and five division wins in 10 starts in 1998.
"When I used to run with S & S, we tried to go somewhere new every year," said Santos. "The team got together and we voted on some of the places we wanted to go, and Memphis was one of them. We ran nine national events last year and have only run five so far this year. When you are going for a championship, you need to run as many as possible, and we would really like to secure two more national wins. Memphis would be a great place to grab one."
Before the rain out at the Parts America Nationals in Topeka, Kan., Santos was the top qualifier with an elapsed time of 5.477 seconds. That was the fifth time the Oakwood Homes / Jack O'Bannon team has ran in the 5.4 second range since Jack O'Bannon racing and S & S joined in 1996. They are looking forward to the fall weather conditions in Memphis.
"We've heard Memphis is an excellent facility," said Santos. "The weather conditions before they moved the event to the fall were very hot and humid. It's supposed to be a fast track where the numbers and the air is very good. Some Federal-Mogul dragsters ran in the 5.4 second range last year, so we want to give it a try and see what we can do."
This will be the first time in 1998 Santos goes to a new track.
"You make the same kind of preparations for a track you have never been to," said Santos. "The NHRA works hard to make the tracks somewhat similar. The main thing with going to a new track is scoping out the facility and finding out where to go directly after a run."
1998 NATIONAL EVENTS
Pomona (Calif.) Raceway, Federal-Mogul Dragster win National Trail (Ohio) Raceway, Federal-Mogul Dragster win and top qualifier National Trail (Ohio) Raceway, Federal-Mogul Dragster All-star event, runner up and top qualifier Sears Point (Calif.) Raceway, Federal-Mogul Dragster, qualified second, second round Seattle (Wash.) International Raceway, Federal-Mogul Dragster win Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park, Federal-Mogul Dragster, semi-finals
1998 DIVISIONAL EVENTS
Firebird (Idaho) International Raceway, Federal-Mogul Dragster win Famoso (Calif.) Raceway, Federal-Mogul Dragster win and top qualifier Mission (B.C.) Raceway Park, Federal-Mogul Dragster win and top qualifier Rocky Mountain (Utah) Raceways, Federal-Mogul Dragster win and top qualifier Sears Point (Calif.) Raceway, Federal-Mogul Dragster win
*1998 Pacific Division Champion