Atlanta Bruce Allen Pro Stock Preview

ALLEN HOPES TO END WINNER'S CIRCLE DROUGHT AT ATLANTA DRAGWAY COMMERCE, Ga. -- The only evidence needed to prove that Pro Stock competition is tough as nails these days, is to look at veteran driver Bruce Allen's scorecard after five ...

ALLEN HOPES TO END WINNER'S CIRCLE DROUGHT AT ATLANTA DRAGWAY COMMERCE, Ga. -- The only evidence needed to prove that Pro Stock competition is tough as nails these days, is to look at veteran driver Bruce Allen's scorecard after five events. Allen, one of the most consistent performers in the category since 1985, has earned 12 victories in 31 final rounds and sports a best finish of second in the Winston standings (1989). In 1999, a decade after his memorable run for an NHRA championship ring, he sits 20th in points, with four DNQs (did not qualify) and a second round loss at Phoenix. "It's harder now than ever," said Allen, who finished fourth in the point standings in 1997. "There's a lot more teams now that are dedicated to winning. There's more people with money and sponsors that can focus on putting a winning program together. In the past there were maybe four or five cars that chased the championship and had a legitimate chance of winning it. Today there's 20 or 30 teams out here that have the funding to be competitive. The bottom line is, just because it's harder doesn't mean it can't be done. It just means you have to work harder to make it happen." Allen, a scratch golfer who could probably challenge on the PGA Tour if he didn't have the racing bug, is spending less time fine-tuning his short game these days. With the increased competition in Pro Stock, Allen's had to dedicate even more time in the race shop tweaking and tuning his Outlaw Fuel Additives Pontiac Firebird to keep up with the pack. He hopes all the overtime and hard work pays off at the 19th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals, May 13-16 at Atlanta Dragway. The $1.6 million race is the seventh of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Allen's team suffered a major setback before the season started with the untimely death of longtime partner Buddy Morrison, a key figure in the team's engine program. Allen says while his friend has been greatly missed, he's not blaming the team's subpar performance on his absence. "There's no excuses in racing," said Allen, who hasn't won since 1992. "You're as good as your last race and we're not very good right now. That's the bottom line. We need to make some changes and get this program turned around. We all know the direction we need to start moving. We've got everything it takes to do it. We've got a great shop of guys who work hard, good equipment, good power, good cars and a good sponsor. We've got everything -- all we need to do is work at it and make it happen. It's there, we just need to quit talking about it and go do it." Atlanta Dragway would be a good place to start. Allen, from Arlington, Texas, was runner-up at the Georgia quarter-mile last year to Mark Osborne, who has since moved on to Pro Stock Truck competition. Allen remembers the race vividly. "We had an awesome run," Allen said. "I left on him by a couple of hundredths and he ran a couple of thousandths quicker than I did. We crossed the finish line together and it was so close that neither of us knew who won until we got to the other end. I wish it would have turned out the other way, but Mark did a good job there. That adrenaline rush you get when you're in position to win a race is like nothing else. I want to get that feeling again at Atlanta, and this time we want to win."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Allen