Seattle: Scott Geoffron preview

Geoffrion, Nitro Fish Pro Stock Team look to rebound at CARQUEST Nationals. KENT, Wash., July 21, 2003 - A not-so-funny thing happened to Scott Geoffrion on his way to Seattle. He had to stop in Denver first, where the Pro Stock driver from ...

Geoffrion, Nitro Fish Pro Stock Team look to rebound at CARQUEST Nationals.

KENT, Wash., July 21, 2003 - A not-so-funny thing happened to Scott Geoffrion on his way to Seattle.

He had to stop in Denver first, where the Pro Stock driver from San Clemente, Calif., did not qualify for Sunday's Mile-High Nationals. It was the first time his Hurley Blakeney-owned Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 wasn't included in the 16-car field..

While disappointed, Geoffrion was confident he and the team would turn things around before it reached the Seattle-area to prepare for this weekend's CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Pacific Raceways.

Just leaving the Rocky Mountains is one of the prime reasons. The fact the track is at sea level, where the engines will generate a lot more horsepower than in the oxygen-starved Denver atmosphere, is the other.

"It will feel good to get back to our sea level combination," said Geoffrion. "That track can be awful fast, and the good air (i.e. atmospheric conditions) lets us run fast. Fans could see times in the mid-6.70s (seconds).

"Pro Stock is the toughest class in racing. It's a tough, tough battle. The competition is so close we could go from not qualifying at Denver to wining the race at Seattle."

Now that would definitely make Geoffrion happy. He was runner-up and No. 1 qualifier at the track in 1992, when it was still called Seattle International Raceway.

This weekend also is an anniversary for Geoffrion and Blakeney. The team made its competitive debut here with Geoffrion driving - and not qualifying - a bulkier Mustang a year ago.

"A lot has happened in that year," added the San Clemente, Calif., driver.

Since then Eric Luzinski joined the team as crew chief; Bob Panella Jr. built very competitive Ford motors - the first of its kind since veteran, 10-time champion Bob Glidden retired in 1997; and Don Ness built the first ZX2 Pro Stock racecar, financed by Blakeney without support from Ford.

Geoffrion qualified the car at its first 10 races, but that streak ended in Denver's thin air.

"The conditions up there are different," Geoffrion pointed out. "The track was tricky. It was like driving on ice in second and third gear on our last qualifying run."

The Nitro Fish Ford's best time of 7.312 seconds left Geoffrion 20th overall and anxious to drop down off the mountain.

"The Seattle track is an excellent place to go to regroup from a disappointing weekend," Geoffrion concluded.

He's eighth in NHRA POWERade standings with 552 points. A top five finish, something Geoffrion covets, is still easily within reach because 10 races remain. Ron Krisher is fifth with 629 points, followed by Allen Johnson (579) and Mike Edwards (562).

Pro Stock qualifying is scheduled Friday at 3:30 and 6:30 and Saturday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday's eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

-js-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Ron Krisher , Hurley Blakeney , Bob Glidden , Mike Edwards