Brainerd Pontiac Racing final eliminations notes and quotes

BRAINERD, Minn. (August 20, 2000)- Final eliminations were completed today for the 19th annual Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac ...

BRAINERD, Minn. (August 20, 2000)- Final eliminations were completed today for the 19th annual Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

PRO STOCK

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "We struggled all weekend with this track. We just never made a decent run. It's not the car's fault, and it's not the tracks fault, we just never adapted the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Firebird to the track. The car is just a tool and we just didn't do a good job with it this weekend. That's the bottom line. There aren't any excuses except that we didn't do a good job."

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "We were on a really good run with the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird, and the transmission went from second to fourth and knocked the clutch out of it. By then Jim (Yates) came back around me and I couldn't do anything about it. I don't know why it did that. We were on our best run of the weekend by far. It's very disappointing. Sometimes it just seems like we can't get anything to come together."

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "Jeg (Coughlin) just had a better light then I did. The car was all over the place but we still ran petty fast. We went left on the starting line and got out of the grove. It's just not good. It spun real hard through second, then went left and I didn't bring it back in. We outran him; he just got me on the light. Ever since those red lights I got I've been a little worried. I was scared going up there during the first round. It's just something I have to get over. We outran him by seven thousandths of a second. It was a great race. I am a little discouraged but I'll get over it."

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "I tell you we are really excited. I think having Terry (Adams) on board is a big help for the team. We waited and waited until we found the right guy for the crew chief position and Terry is the right guy. He's been a pleasure to work with all weekend. The biggest problem we've had is that he's listened to me when I should just let him call the shots on everything. I have more experience on this clutch, so he let me give some insight but I've been a little off on my input. Terry has done a great job and you can see that in our performance this weekend. Having Terry, Toni and Jamie at the starting line makes me very confident. I drove very well today and was very happy with it. We have something wrong with the clutch. The car kept wanting to go left. So Terry and I are going to work on that and hopefully get that figured out. We're going to Indy to do some testing before the big event in a couple of weeks and we'll be ready to go. I think we showed potential today that we can run with the fastest cars. I think Terry is the icing on the cake. I think we already had the cake and you know better than I that the icing makes the cake really good. So we are real excited, looking forward to the rest of the season and working something out for next year."

Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) - "We're disappointed with the first round. We didn't run as good as we needed to and I didn't drive as well as I should have with the Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird. I needed a better light and a faster car. You need to be able to beat everybody when you get up there. It was a good weekend for us. We got down the track good all weekend and made good runs. We're just going to have to work on getting faster."

Richie Stevens (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - "I drilled him on the (starting) tree but he drove by me on the other. It was so close I really didn't know who had won. I never saw him until we were past the scoreboards. It was very close. We did the best we could but it's pretty hard to start race day with a different motor from the one you had qualified with, especially a brand-new motor that you don't really know anything about. It just isn't broken in yet. We just felt like we had to make the change to have a chance at beating Ron. The other piece kept bogging down and we weren't sure why so we decided to make the switch. It's a disappointing way to finish the weekend. We had a bunch of Valspar people up from Minneapolis with us today and the folks from Mills GM in Brainerd were also here. I wanted to have a good showing for them. We tried our best but it wasn't good enough this weekend. We'll have to regroup and get set for Indy."

Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) -- "After a couple of strong runs at a Pontiac event in Ohio last weekend, we came into Brainerd fairly confident that we'd finally gotten a handle on our Century 21 Firebird. Unfortunately, this weekend showed us that we still have some work to do. Although we were among the fastest cars in the back half, we were really hurt by our starting line performance, which is unusual for us. Although in earlier races we had been able to rely on our power to pull us through, the favorable weather conditions this weekend brought the field closer together, and it cost us. It's particularly disappointing when two other cars running our motors made the show. That tells us the problem is with our tune-up. We have two weeks before the next race in Indianapolis, and I know we're going to be spending a lot of time going over this car. We know it will fly on the good tracks - we have to find a way to make it competitive on the trickier surfaces as well."

FUNNY CAR

Bruce Sarver (e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird) - "We knew this e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird could run in the 4.00s, but it broke the retainer and we were running on seven cylinders. We didn't change anything for the first round and ran a 4.98. Then we had to race Del (Worsham) and he's been running pretty fast, so we stepped it up pretty well. If it hadn't thrown the belt we probably would've won the race. We probably would've run a 4.88 or 4.89 because we were three hundredths quicker than him all the way down."

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "I felt real good all morning, I felt like we had what it took. But I knew it was going to take a good lap, because you're not going to keep Jerry Toliver and Dale Armstrong down for long. It's like, do you want to face the Lakers when they've won 20 in a row or when they've lost 6 in a row. You know someone is going to pay for that losing streak and I didn't want it to be us. So we dialed it in for a low 4.90 and figured he'd have to make a great lap to beat us. I was also absolutely confident that the two Checker-Schuck's-Kragen Pontiac would meet in round two, and then Frankie goes out and runs a big stout lap and loses. No one said this sport was fair, I guess."

After second round: It had the front end up, dancing, all the way down there. It was really hauling, and the motor was singing all the way to the lights. This is the way you want to win, beating quality cars that run right with you. No walkovers, no easy wins, no breaks at all. We're making our own breaks because we're running fast, and the other guys are right out the window the whole way. We just need to keep doing what we're doing, because right now I think we have the fastest car here."

After semi-finals: "I don't know what to say. I've been sharp all year at the lights, our car was dominant here, and we got beat anyway. We ran three straight 4.93's and kept the same motor in the car all day. I've won my share, maybe more than my share, of hole-shots so I guess, every now and then someone is going to get lucky and get me on one. I feel so bad for my dad, Rob Flynn, and the team. I did my best, but somehow it wasn't meant to be. We get Force again in a couple of weeks in Round 1 of the Bud Shootout. We will get even."

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) -"I've been using the baseball analogy all weekend, while we were trying to snap out of our slump. So I might as well say this was like hitting a hard solid line drive, it felt so good, and then it went right to the shortstop and we're out. You just have to grit your teeth and get over it, because we're doing everything right and we're running well enough to win, but for some reason we don't get any breaks, the hit just didn't fall in. That's OK, this makes us stronger and we'll just show up in Indy ready to beat whoever gets in our way."

Al Hofmann (Mooneyes/Red Oil Pontiac Firebird) - "Jim (Dunn) is really doing a great job with this program, along with the whole crew. We didn't blow anything up and we didn't hurt anything. I'm really happy for Mooneyes, Red Line Oil and Pontiac. I think we've got something strong going into Indy now and we're going to start going after those Big Bud Shootout points for next year. I'm all pumped up about finishing this year but I'm really looking forward to next season. I feel like this is a championship team when it all comes together and it's going in to the right direction."

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "How about that! That shocked me. I thought maybe we would win with the Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird but (John) Force had a really good run. We almost got him. We tuned it up because we figured we had nothing to lose. Maybe we really didn't lose; maybe we won and found something that's going to work for us. This is the best weekend we've had. Maybe we're heading in the right direction for Indy."

Gary Densham (NEC Pontiac Firebird) - "A piece of the inside of the tank broke off and got caught in the pump, closed up the pump and it just quit. I felt we had just as good of a chance as anyone out there because I figured the Capps team would be going for it big time and I figured there was a pretty good chance they would smoke the tires - like they did. And with all the problems we've had this weekend we thought it would turn around. It's just really disappointing. It started up great and I thought we were going to have a good run, then it just dies. But hey, it will turn around eventually. This kind of thing just happens."

TOP FUEL

Cory McClenathan (MBNA Pontiac Dragster) - "That was the best reaction time of the weekend by (Bob) Vandergriff and I had a pretty decent light. What a disappointment. A .452 to my .478. It was a great race; I just got beat at the line. That just hits you the wrong way when you lose on a holeshot. It's the absolute worst thing ever. But you have to move on and get ready for the next race, which are the U.S. Nationals. I guarantee we'll be ready and so will the MBNA Pontiac Dragster!"

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Ron Krisher , Gary Densham , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Jerry Toliver , Tommy Johnson Jr.