Pennzoil's Kent at Houston Div. IV race

Pennzoil's Kent takes second at Div. IV race HOUSTON (March 8) -- Pennzoil sportsman driver Bill Kent survived dangerous weather conditions and the best drivers in his own division en route to a runner-up finish Sunday in the Competition ...

Pennzoil's Kent takes second at Div. IV race

HOUSTON (March 8) -- Pennzoil sportsman driver Bill Kent survived dangerous weather conditions and the best drivers in his own division en route to a runner-up finish Sunday in the Competition Eliminator bracket of the Federal-Mogul Division IV Drag Racing Series race held at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas.

Qualifying 10th in a field of 26 drivers, Kent drove through four rounds of extremely close and sometimes hazardous elimination racing before giving the finals away with an uncharacteristic red-light violation for leaving the starting line prior to the green light. Kent now departs Baytown solidly in second place of the Div. IV Federal-Mogul Championship Points Standings.

"This was a great start to the year for us," Kent said. "The only thing we could have done better was win, but the car just hit really hard in the finals and jumped out of the timing beams a little early. It was late in the evening and the weather had really cooled down and I guess we just missed the set-up by a fraction. That's racing. We are still very happy with the results.

"It will be awhile before I forget this race. A (weather) front came through on Sunday and the winds were really blowing on the track. At the point where the grandstands end, there was a severe crosswind. It was so bad that in the semifinals my competitor, Arthur Sauceda, was blown right out of the groove and into the wall. He rolled over four or five times and nearly collected my car in the wreck. Fortunately, everyone was okay and I was able to continue on to the finals. But it was pretty hairy out there."

Aside from the runner-up finish, Kent found encouragement in the fact that his dragster reached 189.87 mph during his third-round win. The official record for C-Dragsters, which Kent already holds, is 188.12 mph. Unfortunately, the rules state that Kent's new mark will not reset the record because it didn't take place during qualifying.

"It's still nice to know that the car is capable of going that fast," Kent said. "Plus, it's a lot of fun to drive down the strip that fast. In reality, I just need to focus on driving and not worry about records. If I do that then the big numbers will come naturally. I'm confident that this car has plenty of record runs in it."

Kent, of Midland, Texas, has now reached the final round of eliminations on three occasions with an outright Comp Eliminator victory still proving to be elusive. His next race occurs March 16-18 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis, Tenn.

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