SCOTTY CANNON SCORES HIS LOWEST QUALIFYING POSITION OF SEASON TO SNAG THE NO. 4 SPOT TOPEKA, Kan. (May 24, 2003) -- Scotty Cannon and his team have been working their you-know-whats off to get their Oakley Funny Car and the new crew jelling this...
SCOTTY CANNON SCORES HIS LOWEST QUALIFYING POSITION OF SEASON TO SNAG THE NO. 4 SPOT
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 24, 2003) -- Scotty Cannon and his team have been working their you-know-whats off to get their Oakley Funny Car and the new crew jelling this season, and it looks like it's coming together, as Cannon came up with his best qualifying run of the season at the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka today. It was a perfect way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, as Cannon posted a 4.814-second elapsed time at 312.21 mph in the final qualifying session, to take the No. 4 spot.
"It was kind of funny," said Cannon. "After the run I got on the radio, and my guys were so excited, they hollered and said I'd run a .91. So, I got out of the car, Heidi (Garner, Schumacher Racing V.P.) and everybody was jumping up and down and celebrating like I'd gone an .81, and I thought I'd gone a .91. So, I went and got into the van and I told my wife, I said, what is everybody so happy about? I went a .91. And she said, no, it was an .81.
"I had to get back out of the van and go back and tell all of my guys, 'Good job' and everything."
After many weeks of struggling to find the right combination, crew chief Phil Shuler and Cannon were pretty close to ecstatic yet not entirely surprised as they new the potential was there once they were able to shorten the learning curve by running hard and notching more laps. "We've been trying to do that," Cannon said. "We've been trying to run that hard. When you choose to do that you're going to have a lot of runs where things are going to break. Unfortunately, here we've had more runs with little stupid stuff happening and breaking rather than just going out there and not getting down the track.
"We just changed a lot of stuff on the car. We've got all this new stuff; we're just trying to get it to work out, and we don't have any good runs to look at. So, it's like a good shot of Penicillin, if you're real sick. It should heal us up for a little bit. But the main thing is we need to just look at this run and see what the weather is going to be like tomorrow and go out there and race our car. The run looks like we're there, but we still just need more runs. I think we'll be OK. We know what to do, that's the main thing."
Cannon knows how hard it is on the crew to put it all together - he's been traveling with them for this three-race sweep. "I'm more happy for the guys," he smiled. "I'm happy for sure, but I'm really happy for the guys. We beat them up pretty bad. They needed that. And that just lets them know that me and Phil are going in the right direction trying to make this thing go. Phil knows what he's doing. We just need some more time. The whole team is new. We just need some laps, that's all we need. We can make it happen."