WEEKEND RACE RESULTS Races: NHRA at Pomona, Grand Am at 24 Hours of Daytona, NASCAR Southwest Series at Phoenix. Conditions at Pomona: Unseasonably sunny, warm. Winners ET Speed Darrell Russell 4.665/309.77 Bruce Sarver...
WEEKEND RACE RESULTS
Races: NHRA at Pomona, Grand Am at 24 Hours of Daytona, NASCAR Southwest Series at Phoenix.
Conditions at Pomona: Unseasonably sunny, warm.
Winners ET Speed
Darrell Russell 4.665/309.77
Bruce Sarver 4.887/308.35
Kurt Johnson 6.912/200.44
Randy Daniels 7.527/179.97
Jeff Lion 8.614/141.12
Best Goodyear finish: Five wins
Tires: Goodyear Eagle Dragway Specials
** To coin a phrase, it was a yellow-letter day for Goodyear tires and the competitors who use them. The tire maker had winners in five of the 11 divisions competing in the National Hot Rod Association's season-opening Auto Zone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway and a Goodyear-shod entrant won the most prestigious sports car race this nation had to offer, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Even in an event for a series where Goodyear is the sole tire supplier, the NAPA Auto Parts NASCAR Winter Heat Presented by Bosch Featherlite Southwest Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, the Goodyears drew rave reviews.
** Rookie contender Darrell Russell defeated veteran Mike Dunn in the championship round of the Top Fuel division of the NHRA race at Pomona. Bruce Sarver edged Tony Pedregon to claim the Funny Car victory, Kurt Johnson beat Darrell Alderman by just .024 of a second to win in Pro Stock and Randy Daniels beat Greg Stanfield to win the Pro Stock Truck final. Jeff Lion won the Competition Eliminator crown, defeating Andy Manna in the final.
** Goodyear-equiped cars won two of the five classes at Daytona. The Chevrolet Corvette driven by Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel, Franck Freon and Johnny O'Connell won the race overall, helped along greatly by the Goodyear rain tires used during much of the soggy race. A second Corvette, driven by Kelly Collins, Andy Pilgrim, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished fourth overall. The Mazda Kudzu driven by Jim Downing, Howard Katz, A.J. Smith and Chris Ronson won the SRP class and was also on Goodyear tires. "The rain tire was introduced last year," said Bob Shaffer, Marketing Manager for Sports Car Racing. "It was used with solid success during the 2000 season, specifically at Mosport." Another Goodyear competitor, the Ford-powered Riley-Scott driven by a group headed by Rob Dyson, seemed to have the race wrapped up. The car led the field by 26-laps when a mechanical failure put it out of the race with just three and a half hours remaining. The next major race on the sports car calendar is the 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. "We're looking forward to the opportunity of winning another class victory at Sebring with the Corvette," Shaffer said.
** Drag racer Sarver said he was happy with the performance of his tires. "We ran through some old tires we had left over from last year (early in the weekend)," said Sarver. "We ran the same set of (new) tires through the last two sessions Saturday and all day today."
** Kurt Johnson said, "I was exceptionally happy with the first three runs. We'll have to look at why it started shaking down the track (in the finals). It was pretty consistent. I'm pleased. With all the power these (Pro Stock) things can make today, if you're within 3/100s of a second all day, you're doing pretty well."
** Goodyear-shod cars, using Chile-produced tires, filled the four semi-final spots in the Competition Eliminator division. Lion won the final over Manna while Jeff Gillette and Al Ackerman also won berths in the semis.
** David Baca, using Goodyear tires, recorded the fastest elapsed time in Federal-Mogul drag racing history when he won his second round F-M Top Fuel race with Brian Hough with a run of 5.220/261.07. Baca's time will not stand as the official record because he was unable to back the time up within 10 percent on his next pass due to mechanical trouble. Baca said of his historic run, "This new series tire was awesome. I think a little bit of it (the record) had to do with the Goodyear tires." Baca's dragster benefited from a pair of the D1230 rear tires which were introduced near the end of the 2000 season. Baca's crew said the record-setting rear tires set the record on their fourth pass.
** Goodyear tires led the way in the Federal-Mogul Dragster and Federal-Mogul Funny Car competition in more ways than one. During qualifying Baca set the quick time in Federal-Mogul Dragster with a run of 5.358/263.00 mph with four Goodyears supplying the grip. And, talk about leading the way, 12 of the 16 cars in the final bracket used Goodyear tires on the front axle. In Federal-Mogul Funny Car, half the 16-car field wore Goodyears on the front.
** Gary Scelzi beat Kenny Bernstein in one Top Fuel semi-final of the Budweiser Shootout and Darrell Russell upset Tony Shumacher in the other. Scelzi won the final.
** Bob Panella set a Pro Stock Truck national speed record in qualifying when he was clocked at 181.20 mph. The first and 16th cars in the final bracket were separated by just .083 of a second.
** Randy Daniels set a Pro Stock Truck track record with an elapsed time of 7.461 seconds.
** Bruce Allen set an elapsed time track record for Pro Stock with a run of 6.828 seconds.
** Kurt Johnson set a Pro Stock record for top speed when he was clocked at 202.18 mph during his run on Thursday.
** In Phoenix, Winston Cup Series star Kenny Schrader led 95 of the 100 laps in the Featherlite Southwest Series race after winning the Bud Pole Award by setting the fastest time in qualifying. M.K. Kanke, who started next to Schrader on the front row, finished second.
** Goodyear Marketing Manager for Short Track Racing Carolyn Ashbee said, "The tires performed very well. We got a lot of good comments and a lot of positive feed back following up from the race here in November. Ken Schrader said on the podium that he changed right side tires (when he pitted) but maybe didn't have to. The times were very consistent with them."
Ashbee added, "The new-look, championship gold-lettered tires were very well received by all the competitors."
** Greg Pursley, whose primary race car was stolen two weeks earlier, soldiered on to finish third, Darrell LaMoure was fourth and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series star Rick Carelli finished fifth.