Larry Nance: Qualified No. 9: 6.822 seconds at 200.98 mph Eliminations: Round ...
Larry Nance: Qualified No. 9: 6.822 seconds at 200.98 mph
Round #1: Nance (7.485/144.35) def. Gene Wilson (Red-light: 7.001/172.87) #Round #2 (Quarterfinals): Nance (6.852/200.47) lost to Mark Whisnant (6.859/201.52)
Team Marines Cavalier advances to quarterfinals at Seattle, Nance excited about Sonoma.
KENT, Wash. - - In mid-May, Larry Nance traded his Team Marines Oldsmobile Cutlass for a state-of-the-art Jerry Bickel-built Team Marines Chevrolet Cavalier. Since that trade, Nance's drag racing fortunes have been on the upturn.
By qualifying ninth for this weekend's 15th annual Lucas Oil Products Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways located in Kent, Wash., Nance has now qualified for four consecutive NHRA national events in Pro Stock cars.
"The combination of the new Jerry Bickel Cavalier and the power of engine builder Richard Maskin has been what's got this program headed in the right direction. Crew chief Taylor Lastor and crew members Kirk Gisi and Harvey Thorla are putting a well-prepared car underneath me. The key is that everyone is working together," said Nance.
Against Gene Wilson in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday, Nance and Wilson got into what is called, in drag racing lingo, a "burndown." Neither driver would stage - - go into the electronic beams that activate the starting lights. The pair sat for approximately a minute and 45 seconds before NHRA chief starter Rick Stewart waved both cars off the starting line and announced that they would be called back to the line at NHRA's discretion. Before being called back to the line, it started to rain and all racing was put temporarily on hold.
After a brief delay, action resumed. Nance and Wilson were recalled as the first pair. There was no "burndown" this time. Wilson went right in and Nance followed. Wilson left too soon and Nance was awarded a free pass. It was Nance's first round win since 1999.
Nance reflected on the "burndown," "It was not perplexed. I made a decision prior to the start that I was going to stage last. In basketball you learn not to be intimidated and I wasn't going to be intimidated today. I was going to run my own race. On the restart, I still planned to stage last. He went ahead and staged, so there was no problem. It's great to get our first win for Team Marines."
Then, with two pairs remaining in Pro Stock, persistent mist and rain postponed all remaining racing until the following day, Monday, July 29.
On Monday, in the second round, it was another battle at the starting line. This time in reaction times. The lights, who were Nance's friend on Sunday, turned against him today. With a reaction time of .459, Mark Whisnant was able to nip Nance by about a fender length, taking a holeshot victory. Nance had a reaction time of .481. Whisnant had the lower elapsed time of 6.859 seconds, taking the win light over Nance's quicker 6.852 second pass.
"The Team Marines Cavalier performed well all through the weekend and I'm proud of everyone associated with this team -- Richard Maskin, Jerry Bickel, Taylor Lastor, Harvey Thorla and Kirk Gisi -- and the work they've put into getting us to the point we are performance wise," said Nance.
"It's disappointing to have the win go (Mark) Whisnant's way based on reaction time. It's not acceptable to have that bad of a reaction time, so I've got to work on that. I had everything I needed to go up there and win this race. But that's racing and both Team Marines and myself will get better. Now it's on to Sonoma.
"The things I've heard about Infineon Raceway are good. The track is nice and smooth. That's good for the Team Marines Cavalier because our car seems to run well on smooth tracks. So we're definitely excited about Sonoma."
With the extra day of racing on Monday, it will be a short week for Team Marines Racing. The "Western Swing" concludes this weekend (August 1-4) at Infineon Raceway in the wine country of Sonoma, Calif., with the 15th annual NHRA FRAM-Autolite Nationals.