Is win next for Geoffrion, Nitro Fish? LAS VEGAS, April 9, 2003 -- Last weekend in Las Vegas, the Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 made a rather vibrant fashion statement with its multi-hued paint scheme. And then driver Scott Geoffrion and the rest...
Is win next for Geoffrion, Nitro Fish?
LAS VEGAS, April 9, 2003 -- Last weekend in Las Vegas, the Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 made a rather vibrant fashion statement with its multi-hued paint scheme. And then driver Scott Geoffrion and the rest of Hurley Blakeney's team went out and made a statement to the rest of the Pro Stock field.
Geoffrion qualified third, advancing to the quarterfinals and earning enough points to climb into ninth place in NHRA POWERade Series standings. It's the first time a Ford has been among the top 10 since 1996, when 10-time champion Bob Glidden was 10th.
The ZX2 made its first appearance last month at Gainesville, Fla., where Geoffrion qualified fifth and advanced to the second round.
"Everybody knows we're here, that's for sure," said Geoffrion. "To be in the top 10 with Ford is something Hurley is very proud of and, obviously, I'm very proud of. Ford fans need to know it's only going to get better."
The car's performance has been a very pleasant surprise to Blakeney, Geoffrion and crew chief Eric Luzinsky. It's only made 14 quarter-mile runs, eight in qualifying, four in competition and two in a brief test outing.
Adding eight more runs - four in qualifying, four during the race - at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, Friday through Sunday, would not only help the fledgling team gain valuable on-track data, but put it into the final round, thereby giving Geoffrion an opportunity to get to the winner's circle again.
"I'm excited because I know we have a fast racecar, one that is capable of winning," said Geoffrion. "We have a great crew and a talented crew chief in Eric Luzinski. He's just awesome. He's really good with the car's balance. We've never had a problem."
Geoffrion is anxious to get the car on the HRP asphalt. He has two career victories in four final rounds at the track. The wins came in the spring of 1994 and fall of 1995 while he was runner-up in 1991 and 1994 (fall).
"I love it because we run fast. It's a Pro Stock racetrack," Geoffrion commented. "It's at sea level, so we should be running in the 6.70s instead of the 6.8s like we did at Las Vegas.
"I'd like to get back into the winner's circle. I haven't been there since winning at Topeka, Kan., in 1997, but I haven't had a car under me and I didn't race for 18 months or so," he continued. "This is the first time since 1997 that I've had a car I feel is capable of winning."
Geoffrion and the team were a bit disappointed with their quarterfinal loss to Mark Whisnant on Sunday. Geoffrion got out first but the car shook hard and slowed to a 7.031, enabling Whisnant to get the decision with a 6.967.
"That was a little bit of a learning curve for us," he said, "and the fact it was the 14th run on the car had something to do with it. We just don't have enough data on the car and how it reacts in different weather and track conditions.
"We haven't been able to test because we really don't have the budget to test and we don't have the time because we are independents. We don't have any factory support and Hurley and I both have regular jobs. Hopefully, that will change in the future as more sponsors come on board."
Geoffrion expects the car's performance to only get better, beginning Friday with qualifying at 3:15 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday's sessions are at 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. with Sunday's eliminations at 11 a.m.