Brainerd: David Baca preview

Momentum on Baca's side as Henkelman & Baca Team heads to Brainerd BRAINERD, Minn. -- By competing in the highest professional class on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, David Baca, driver of the American Racing/ Waterloo Tool Storage/Skill...

Momentum on Baca's side as Henkelman & Baca Team heads to Brainerd

BRAINERD, Minn. -- By competing in the highest professional class on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, David Baca, driver of the American Racing/ Waterloo Tool Storage/Skill Clean Top Fuel dragster, is living a dream. That dream neared fruition when the Brentwood, Calif. driver finished runner-up at the last race before Baca's hometown fans at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

At that race, the emotional Baca danced, hugged anyone in sight as he advanced through early rounds to the final round.

"That's me," said Baca, a second generation driver. "I'm a very excitable guy. I have to really work on keeping it toned down and making sure I watch my p's and q's. You never know what I'm going to do or what I'm going to say. I'm like a kid in a candy store. To do what this team is doing and to compete at this level is nothing less than spectacular. For me it's a dream come true."

That runner-up position should give the Henkelman & Baca team added momentum entering this weekend's NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in the heartland of Minnesota's lake region.

"Boy, it seems like we've got this ship turned around and pointed in the right direction," said Baca, as he reflected on the team's season-long goal to finish in the top five in the POWERade point standings. "Momentum is everything. It's been slowly getting better. I couldn't be happier with the results from Sonoma.

"We now carry this momentum into this weekend's race in Brainerd, then it's on to the 'Big Daddy' -- the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indy. Hopefully we're not peaking too soon. Hopefully we're just getting ready for the last third of the season. I think all the stars are beginning to line up and enable us to achieve our goals, if not a little higher."

As a result of going rounds at Infineon Raceway, Baca, an AAA Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award contender (Rookie of the Year), moved to sixth in the POWERade Top Fuel point standings with 731 points, just 42 points out of the top five, 47 behind fourth and only 149 in arrears of third.

Qualifying for the Lucas Oil Nationals is scheduled for the four professional classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle) at 2:45 and 5:45 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15 and will continue at 12:15 and 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 17. Qualifying times are local Brainerd time (CDT) and subject to change without notice.

Highlights from qualifying can be seen on ESPN2 from 10-11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 and final eliminations can be viewed on Sunday, Aug. 17, on ESPN (early elimination rounds) from 6-7 p.m. and on ESPN2 (final elimination rounds) from 10 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. Television times are eastern time (EDT) and subject to change.

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Series NHRA
Drivers David Baca