Qualifying Woes Spoil Hillier's Homecoming ALGER, WA (August 24) -- Chad Hillier's Skagit Speedway homecoming got off to a fast start, but a tough qualifying position spoiled opening night of the World of Outlaws' double-feature event ...
Qualifying Woes Spoil Hillier's Homecoming
ALGER, WA (August 24) -- Chad Hillier's Skagit Speedway homecoming got off to a fast start, but a tough qualifying position spoiled opening night of the World of Outlaws' double-feature event at the racetrack where he made history as a three-time champion.
Hillier, who claimed Skagit's sportsman sprint car championship in 1996, its 360 sprint car title in 1998 and its 410 sprint car championship in 2001, drove the #5c DIRT Inc. Maxim around the high-banked, 3/10-mile oval in 11.688 seconds to pace the h0t-lap session. Unfortunately, his 11.865-second qualifying lap was the 29th-fastest in the 43-car field.
"We were in the first set of hot laps and that's when the track started to come in," Chad said, "but when we qualified we were in the last group when the track started to slow down."
Hillier, the only driver in the history of Skagit Speedway to win all three sprint car championships, started eighth in the First Heat Race and finished sixth, just .577 seconds behind former Selma Shell Racing teammate Paul McMahan.
"Qualifying put us in a rough spot," Chad said. "We got up to sixth in the heat race, but we needed a little better restart toward the end. In the first heat race, the bottom still had some slime on it. It wasn't wide and racy, but it started getting wider as the top started coming in in the last few heat races. I tried to run the top on the restart, but the car was a little tight. We just needed a couple of more breaks. If we could have made it through the heat, we wouldn't have had the greatest starting position, but we would have moved forward in the feature.
"We got our nose under Paul a few times, but couldn't get by him. You could throw a blanket over Jac (Haudenschild), Paul and me in the heat race. Sometimes, Jac was on the top, Paul was in the middle and I was on the bottom, and vice versa. We all raced each other hard for that last qualifying spot. It was good racing."
Hillier raced past three cars in the "B" Feature, but finished four positions shy of qualifying for the "A" Feature.
"We had a good car and ran well; we just didn't catch the breaks we needed," Chad said. "Halfway through the 'B,' we picked up something on the track and it cut the inside of the right rear (tire). It cut about a half-inch long gash in it. It started going down and it was flat by the time they threw the checkered.
"We got going pretty good through the middle. We were all over (Jeremy) Campbell, but just couldn't quite get by him. We were faster than the car ahead of him but, with the tire going down, it was tight on the top and he was running the bottom. That was a bummer."
It was also disappointing that Haudenschild (11th) and Terry McCarl (12th), who rank ahead of him in the point standings, denied Hillier an "A" Feature starting position when they used provisionals.
"We would have taken a provisional if we had the chance," Chad said. "We had a competitive car, but our qualifying spot just hurt us all night. It really all comes down to qualifying. You can put yourself in a good spot or a bad spot with that. There's a lot of emphasis on those two laps."
-credit: dirt inc