Mach 1's Baca looking strong in the heat SEATTLE (July 22) -- Tuning the 8,000-horsepower Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel dragster is tough enough, but when you face record high temperatures for the second weekend in a row, it can be more...
Mach 1's Baca looking strong in the heat
SEATTLE (July 22) -- Tuning the 8,000-horsepower Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel dragster is tough enough, but when you face record high temperatures for the second weekend in a row, it can be more challenging than anything you've faced before.
Northern California racer David Baca and crew chief Rick Henkelman have both risen to the occasion at this weekend's blistering-hot 19th annual Schuck's Nationals, successfully qualifying the Mach 1 car in the No. 5 position despite having virtually no data to tune from. Simply put, no one has ever raced down Seattle's Pacific Raceways when track temperatures reach into the 130-degree range.
"It was brutal out there, like nothing we've ever seen before," Baca said. "But Rick and the boys did a great job of getting us solidly in the show and the fact we got quicker Saturday in the heat of the day really has us excited about Sunday. We know we can run with anyone, hot or not."
Baca, of Brentwood, Calif., used a 4.642-second run at 319.90 mph to earn the fifth position in the 16-car field. The run sets up a first-round, sudden-death showdown with veteran Cory McClenathan, who qualified 12th with a 4.714 at 310.63 mph in a brand-new dragster. McClenathan once drove for Baca. The two men have raced 10 times in their careers with McClenathan holding a 7-3 mark.
"Cory and I are friends, except when the helmets are on," Baca said. "He's always tough, but so is everyone else out here. There are no gimmes at this level of drag racing and even though we qualified better than he did we'll still need to be up for this race.
"This is a big weekend for Mach 1. They have lots of clients here and it's been neat to have a built-in cheering section. Seattle is a big market for them and they're trying to expand their business footprint here. Having a successful weekend in their racecar can only help them gain exposure in this market.
"The weekend started on a big up-note for us with all the kids from the Seattle chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association visiting us on Friday. It was neat to see them having such a good time, even though it was very hot for them."
Sunday's eliminations begin at 11 a.m. PT. Television coverage of this event begins with a two-hour qualifying show from 8-10 p.m. (ET) Saturday on ESPN2, and a three-hour race day show from 8-11 p.m. (ET) Sunday, also on ESPN2.