Brainerd Pontiac Racing Friday report

BRAINERD, MN (August 18, 2000)- Qualifying for the 19th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals got underway today at Brainerd International Raceway. In Pro Stock, Bruce Allen's Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird set a new track record and...

BRAINERD, MN (August 18, 2000)- Qualifying for the 19th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals got underway today at Brainerd International Raceway. In Pro Stock, Bruce Allen's Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird set a new track record and took the No. 1 qualifying spot with an elapsed time of 6.948 seconds at 197.45 mph. "We had a real smooth run and got the most out of it," Allen said. "The right lane is a little bumpier than the left, so that helped. We were also the last car out tonight and had the best possible chance of making a good run. Everything just stacked up in our favor." Kurt Johnson is qualified second in a Camaro, Jeg Coughlin is third, Mark Pawuk's Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird is fourth and Rickie Smith is fifth. Richie Stevens is qualified ninth in the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird, Jim Yates is 11th, Warren Johnson is 12th, Ron Krisher is 13th, Tom Martino is 15th, and Brad Jeter is 18th. In Funny Car, Ron Capps took top honors in a Camaro with an elapsed time of 4.901 seconds at 305.98 mph. Del Worsham is qualified second in the Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird with a career-best elapsed time of 4.911 seconds at 307.02 mph. John Force is qualified third, Dean Skuza is fourth and Al Hofmann and the Mooneyes/Red Line Oil Pontiac Firebird is fifth. Bruce Sarver is qualified seventh, Tommy Johnson Jr. is ninth, Gary Densham is 11th, Dale Creasy Jr. is 12th, Jerry Toliver is 16th, Frank Pedregon is 17th and Tim Wilkerson is 18th. In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher is in the top spot with an elapsed time of 4.587 seconds at 319.14 mph. Doug Herbert is qualified second, Don Lampus is third, Cory McClenathan and the MBNA Pontiac Dragster is fourth and Doug Kalitta is fifth.

Final eliminations from BIR can be seen on Sunday, August 20, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern on TNN.


Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) -"We had a real smooth run and got the most out of it. The right lane is a little bumpier than the left, so that helped. We were also the last car out tonight and had the best possible chance of making a good run. Everything just stacked up in our favor. We went and tested at Houston Raceway Park last week and then we went to a local track on Tuesday before we came here. We tried to reevaluate what we were doing and changed some things. We've got some different parts on our car - different chassis setup, new rear end housing and different shocks. We looked at our performance early in the year and thought we were doing pretty good. Then we got to the hotter and not so good tracks and started struggling so we thought it was time for a change. We came here and knew we would have to find a new setup for this track. In the first session the car got real loose and shook real bad. Then we came back in the second session and just changed minor things to adjust to the temperature change and had a really good run. I'm really happy for my team, Reher Morrison and Pontiac. I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend." No. 1 qualifier - 6.948ET/197.45mph

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) -"It's nice to be away from the west coast. At least we have a racetrack that cars can get down. We shook through second, and third but at least we got down the track - that's a good start. We're going to try and build on our run. Tonight and tomorrow morning are going to be the better sessions, so we're hoping to move up a little bit with the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird, we'll just have to see what happens. Anymore just getting in the show is an accomplishment. There are a lot of guys in the last few races that have picked their program up and anyone out there can qualify. We just have to stay focused and hope for the best." No. 4 qualifier - 6.983ET/196.62mph. Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "We were first every where except the 330 in the first session. In the first session, one tire grew an inch more than the other, we sent it back to Goodyear and they gave us one new tire. So we had one new tire and one old tire on it. We're not sure but running those tires together could've put me in the wall, because I went to the left quickly and if I would've switched gears I would've hit the wall. I don't know if the tires is all of it or some of it. We're going to change the tires for sure tomorrow! I promise you we won't be struggling tomorrow. We're all a little frustrated right now, but tomorrow is a new day and I guarantee we won't be struggling like we were today." No. 13 qualifier - 7.004ET/197.54mph

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "We took the testing we did in St. Louis with the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird, changed it a little bit and we're trying to get a baseline here. The car went down the racetrack the way we thought it would do. We're just going to wait until tonight, see if the track gets any cooler and hopefully run better."

On new crew chief: "Terry (Adams) has a real good understanding of the Pro Stock cars. He seemed to get a feel for the car real quick when we tested in St. Louis. I kind of just let him make some decisions to see which way he wanted to go with the car and he's done real well. I'm excited about the potential. He just knows what to do with the car and can tune it real quick. He just seems to be in tune with the car and we're really excited about the rest of the season."

After second session: "We were real aggressive on the first run, so we went and took a little bit of clutch out thinking that would be enough, but we were still heavy on the second run. The car veered off to the left and we're trying to figure out why now. By the time I got it back into the groove, we spun the tires a lot in second and third gear and lost some ET. We still came back and had the fifth best speed. So it looks like we've got the power, now we just need to figure out how to get the car to go straight in the first 60-feet. If we can do that I think it can run a 6.96 or 6.97. " No. 11 qualifier - 6.999ET/196.76mph

Brad Jeter (Dynagear Pontiac Firebird) - "After the west-coast swing Terry Adams decided to leave the team, so I've been put into the position as crew chief. I think things are going to be all right. I completely changed the way we've been running the car and for the first run here I'm very pleased with it. We're going to tune on that and hopefully move up in the field. We're in the 10th spot right now and I think I can move this Dynagear Pontiac Firebird even farther up. We've got to get this team turned around and start heading in the right direction. Hopefully we will end on a good note here at Brainerd because I go to Jamaica to get married next weekend. Then hopefully we will go to Indy on a very good note! Everyone on the team is really working hard and I feel good being the crew chief again. I used to be in my past racing and it feels good having the responsibility. I think we'll be alright." No. 18 qualifier - 7.024ET/195.90mph

Richie Stevens (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - 'That lap surprised me to be honest with you. My crew chief Tommy Utt came on the radio and said, 'Good job buddy, you ran a 6.99 and I couldn't believe it. There is a little problem holding us back right now and we're not quite sure what it is yet. In the first session as soon as I let out the clutch at the starting line the car just totally bogged down. It was like something knocked the breath out of it. By the time it picked up and started running I was way behind. My incremental times on the front half of the track were some of the slowest of the day that time. In Round 2, when we ran the 6.99, the car bogged again at the line. Not quite as bad as the first time but when I felt it bog I thought we were going to be in trouble. That's why I was so surprised when Tommy told me I had run a 6.99. This Valspar Pontiac really flew down the back half of the track. Tommy and (engine builder) Rick Hickman, who is here at this race, made some changes to the motor between rounds and they plan on making some more now. I have confidence that they will figure this thing out and we'll be able to run much quicker tomorrow. The morning session could be as quick as this nighttime one was. If the weather stays cool and the track holds, we can get in the top half of the field for sure." No. 9 qualifier - 6.998ET/196.02MPH


Al Hofmann (Mooneyes/Red Oil Pontiac Firebird) - "It's going real good. I'm real happy. Jim Dunn and the whole team is working really hard. It's nice to see the car go down the track and get qualified and now we can play with it a little bit and maybe move up in the show. I am real happy for my sponsors - Mooneyes, Red Oil and Pontiac." No. 5 qualifier - 5.000ET/301.67mph

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "How about that? That was really huge for us. With Rob Flynn here now, working with my dad and me, we made some pretty serious changes to the way the Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird works before that run, and it all worked wonderfully. We took a real good look at all our Brainerd data, looked at this great weather, and put a tune-up together that we thought was aggressive but not on the edge. I'd say that run is not only a testament to Rob, but to the three of us being able to combine our thoughts and ideas. A lot of people can't do that, but the three of us see eye-to-eye and it works. You know, every year we come in here with the Bud Shootout hanging over us, and this year we came in here knowing we had to outqualify Scotty Cannon by 7-9 spots to stay in the Shootout, depending on where in the top 16 we each ended up. Well, Cannon and his team have been running great and I'm sure they were confident coming in here, they should have been, but I think they're going to have a tough time outqualifying us by 7 spots now." No. 2 qualifier - 4.911ET/307.02mph

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) -"We just had a little leak on the left side, at the stud where the header pipes bolt on the head. That one stud is the only one that has an oil galley the only one that would have leaked, and it was put on and checked right before the run. Weird. We might go run after run and never even think about something like that, but we just went over everything right before the run, including that particular stud. And yet, drip, drip, drip it was leaking after the burnout. I tend to see these things in a positive way. What if we hadn't seen the leak? There's no telling how bad it could be if you're out there running 250 mph or more and the thing let loose. It stinks to lose a run, but I'd say we've got some pretty good data in our camp now after Del's 4.91. We were set to run just a little more conservative than the red team, so I'm thinking we had a solid 5.0 in the car. We'll just have to get it tonight." No. 17 qualifier - 12.420ET/73.87mph

Dale Creasy Jr. (MAD Magazine Pontiac Firebird) - "I don't know what to say. It's not performing the way I want it to. In the first session I shut it off, and luckily I did because if I hadn't it would've burnt it up. In the second session I dropped a cylinder and never picked it back up. I know we will figure this MAD Magazine Pontiac Firebird out and be ready for tomorrow." No. 12 qualifier - 5.449ET/277.09mph

Tim Wilkerson (Sioux City Kenworth Pontiac Firebird) - "It feels real good to be back. We're just trying to find a combination for this track. We're obviously over center. This car has never smoked the tires on the starting line in its life with this particular chassis and now it's done it two runs in a row. I've created a monster! I've done a lot of work on this car in the past three weeks, and it's responding to the change but it's meaner than I thought it would be. Which is good because I was having problems at really good race tracks getting power. I'm just sad we're going into Saturday without being qualified. But we'll work on it and get this Sioux City Kenworth Pontiac Firebird ready for tomorrow." No. 18 qualifier - 13.417ET/83.96mph

Gary Densham (NEC Pontiac Firebird) - "Brainerd has always been a really good race for us and it's nice to be up here. We're all excited that we finally have our NEC 2000 Pontiac Firebird body, and we're one of the few cars that didn't smoke the tires in the left lane, so it must be doing what it's supposed to be. We're really pleased with the car. We hope we let our presence be known and show everybody that we could've been tough all along if we'd had the new body. Now it's up to us! The difference in the old compared to the new body is that it has more down force. We barely got the car done; we were putting decals on it yesterday, so we didn't get to test it anywhere. This is the very first day for it and we are pleased with it so far." No. 11 qualifier - 5.241ET/286.44mph

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Hofmann Pontiac Firebird) - "We're not going to smoke the tires tonight. We just aren't. It didn't help that we were the first pair out on the track either. We had no idea what to expect. We were too soft and it smoked the tires. You can actually be too soft and not aggressive enough and smoke the tires. We weren't aggressive enough. It's all in the clutch. We were just a little too attentive. Hopefully we will do a little better tonight with the Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird. Being off the West Coast is nice. I think we under estimated this track. It seemed to be a little slick on top but overall it's much better than the West Coast. I think all the problems everyone has had during the first session are all relative to what happened on the West Coast. You're tune up gets so off when you keep backing it off at those tracks that when you get back to a decent track, you got to go find yourself again." No. 9 qualifier - 5.121ET/285.35mph


Cory McClenathan (MBNA Pontiac Dragster) - "I think we were a little too aggressive this morning. We seem to have the same kind of air we did in Sonoma but better track conditions. So, we got after it a little bit this morning and it just didn't like it. So we backed it off because we needed to get in the show safely and we concentrating on that and this time it was soft. We ran a 4.682 and we feel really good about it. This MBNA Pontiac Dragster has been consistent during qualifying and not on race day so we are working towards getting the consistency back for race day." No. 4 qualifier - 4.682ET/314.17mph

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Rickie Smith , Jerry Toliver , Tommy Johnson Jr.