Thomas towers over field in third session BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 21) - Increased temperatures at Brainerd International Raceway Saturday morning translated to increased pressure for the drivers who had not yet qualified for the Colonel's ...
Thomas towers over field in third session
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 21) - Increased temperatures at Brainerd International Raceway Saturday morning translated to increased pressure for the drivers who had not yet qualified for the Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals. The rise in the thermometers made the track extremely tough to handle and most drivers failed to improve on their previously posted times.
One of the few drivers that did manage to get all of his horsepower onto the track was Pennzoil Pro Stock pilot Mike Thomas who jumped from 24th place to ninth on the qualifying ladder. It was by far the biggest move of the third round throughout the professional classes.
Here are the particulars of Thomas' Round 3 lap as well as those of his Pennzoil teammates.
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, cruised into title contention with a powerful run of 7.030 seconds at 194.58 mph. The time moved the Knoxville, Tenn. resident from the bottom of the field into the No. 9 position, making him the only driver to improve at all during the session.
"We're going to be even quicker tonight," Thomas said. "I believe we've got this track figured out. It's very tricky. The starting line is killer and the down-track area gets very bumpy. You have to hit it just right to get all the way down the track under power. Obviously it's tough out there. Everyone has struggled at some point this weekend. Hopefully, we'll be good from here on out."
Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac, was haunted once again by the tire shake problem that has attacked his machine at different points this season. This time the predicament was severe enough to force Allen to shut his car off at the 60-foot mark and he crept through the timing lights in 11.984 seconds at 72.83 mph. Fortunately, his Round 2 lap of 7.011 seconds at 195.28 mph kept him safely in the field in fifth place.
"We didn't adjust enough for the heat," Allen said. "We're going to make some adjustments so that we can go fast again tonight. The next session should be really good. Whether it rains or not really won't matter because I think we're sneaking up on a foolproof set-up. I've got a really good feeling about this race. I'd love to have a memorable day tomorrow."
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, slipped out of the groove 330 feet into his third round run and lost traction, forcing him to lift off the accelerator. His opening pass of 4.653 seconds at 307.58 mph is still good enough to keep him in the top half of the field in the No. 8 spot.
"We're still learning about this track," Hill said. "We're trying to find out exactly what it'll take to win this race tomorrow. It's time to ease off the experimenting process and lay down another full lap. We're in eighth place right now on the ladder and I'd like to step it up tonight so that we're assured of lane choice, even though it doesn't seem very important to me at this track."