Brainerd: Pontiac Racing qualifying report

BRAINERD, Minn. (August 18, 2000)- Qualifying for the 19th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals was completed today at Brainerd International Raceway. In Pro Stock, Bruce Allen, in the Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird, held on to the...

BRAINERD, Minn. (August 18, 2000)- Qualifying for the 19th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals was completed today at Brainerd International Raceway. In Pro Stock, Bruce Allen, in the Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird, held on to the No. 1 spot with a track-record elapsed time of 6.948 seconds at 197.45 mph. Kurt Johnson is qualified second in a Camaro, Darrell Alderman is third in an Avenger, Jeg Coughlin is fourth in a Cutlass and Ron Krisher is fifth in the Eagle One Firebird. Mark Pawuk's Summit Racing Firebird is qualified sixth, Jim Yates is 11th, Richie Stevens is 12th, Warren Johnson is 15th, Tom Martino finished 17th and Brad Jeter was 18th.

In Funny Car, Ron Capps set a track record and took the top spot in a Camaro with an elapsed time of 4.862 seconds at 310.91 mph. Del Worsham and the CSK Pontiac Firebird is qualified second, John Force is third in a Mustang, Al Hofmann and the Mooneyes/Red Line Oil Firebird is fourth and Dean Skuza is fifth in an Avenger. Frank Pedregon is qualified seventh, Bruce Sarver is 10th, Tommy Johnson Jr. is 14th, Jerry Toliver is 15th, Gary Densham is 16th, Tim Wilkerson was 17th, and Dale Creasy Jr. finished 18th,

In Top Fuel, Tony Shumacher gets his first No. 1 qualifying spot of the season with an elapsed time of 4.587 seconds at 319.14 mph. Doug Kalitta is qualified second, Joe Amato is third, Doug Herbert is fourth and Don Lampus is fifth. Cory McClenathan and the MBNA/Pontiac dragtser qualified sixth with an elapsed time of 4.682 seconds at 314.17 mph. McClenathan will take on Bob Vandergriff in the first round of final eliminations.


Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) - "This is a great race to achieve this. The way we look at it is that we just made a good run in a good session. Being No. 1 obviously gives you an advantage on race day because you have lane choice, and theoretically, you're racing the lowest qualified driver. But other than that it doesn't get you much. This is a tight field. If you make a good run and you have a good light you have a good chance of winning. If you fail at both then you have a bad run. We still have a lot of work ahead of us. Our clutch system isn't making up very good -- it keeps slipping a lot. So we need to get on top of that and go run good tomorrow. It's been awhile since I've been here and it feels pretty good. I am excited about tomorrow and hope to do well for my sponsors and Pontiac." No. 1 qualifier - 6.948ET/ 197.45mph

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "We aren't getting a hold of this race track for some reason. We've tried everything we know what to do with this particular car and it won't respond. We can't get a good 60-foot time at all. We don't know why. If we did we would fix it. This is the worst qualifying spot we've had since 1988. It's just one of those things. Sometimes this happens. We're just going to have to figure it out and go on from there." No. 15 qualifier - 7.004ET/197.62mph

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "I was kind of surprised at the track conditions. I saw Kurt (Johnson) run a 6.97 and I was shocked because it looked like a better run than that. Brainerd is real unique. I've seen it lot of years when the weather was actually better and the ET's weren't as good. I remember times when if you didn't get in on Friday, there was nobody even close to getting in on Saturday. And other times, the conditions seemed better on Friday than Saturday, but we'd run better on Saturday. The racetrack seems to be not as good as most expected. We didn't make a bad run with the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird; we were fourth fastest in that session. Tricky place, tricky time. This is an altitude racetrack, and even though you have a pretty good surface you're down on horsepower. I thought we'd see a low 6.90 this morning but that run that Bruce (Allen) ran last night was pretty stout. If it stays cloudy and overcast, and the track stays cool, it's quite possible that this afternoon will be the better session." No. 6 qualifier - 6.983ET/196.62mph

Richie Stevens (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - "This has been a great weekend for the Valspar organization. There's been a big group of people up from the corporate offices in Minneapolis and everyone is having a great time here at the races. It's fantastic to have so much support right here in our pit and up in the stands when we're running. They really have us motivated to win. I hope we can show them something tomorrow. It's a new day and a fresh start where anyone can win. The field of 16 is so tight that I think any car can beat any other car out there. If we take care of business we have as good a chance to win as any team here. We ran pretty much the same in both lanes so I don't think lane choice will play a big role in who wins or loses. We do have some work to do on our Valspar car before we get started. Yesterday we had trouble with it bogging down a bit at the starting line and it did it again in the first round today. We made some more changes before the final session but that time it bogged at the other end of the track. Something is hurting this motor and we're going to work all night if we have to so we can find out what's wrong and fix it. This is a big race for all of us on this team, for the folks at Valspar, and for our friends at Mills GM, who came on board with us for this race since it's in their hometown. There's a lot on the line and we want to do well." No. 12 qualifier - 6.998ET/196.02MPH

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "The track was pretty bad in the center. The right lane is real bumpy at the other end as well. With not as much traction on the racetrack and a little bit of bumpiness it compounds it tremendously. It was a pretty difficult session to move up in the field. It was just really slippery. We could've run a 6.95 with the Eagle One Pontiac Firebird, but we wanted to run real conservative. We had to get off the bottom of the field. After that fiasco last night, with no clutch or almost no clutch, we wanted to make sure we had it solved. And it moved us up. We did what we had to do. You can't race from the 13th spot. That is not where we wanted to be. If the air is the same later on this afternoon as it was this morning we should be able to run a 6.95. The barometer was real bad this morning and that probably hurt some people too. It was 28.94 this morning and last night it was 29.06. The barometer plays a bigger factor on how fast your car will go than the temperature. Everybody was about a mile per hour off from last night. That was the barometer and the humidity playing a factor." No. 5 qualifier - 6.969ET/196.62mph Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - The car keeps going left. We think we may have a bad shock or something. We're working on it. We're going to try some more stuff tonight, take the back of the car apart, recheck everything and see if we can come up with an answer. But right now we're a little bit confused. We keep adjusting the Splitfire/Peak Firebird but it's almost like we're turning the screws the wrong way. So we checked that too. We aren't ruling anything out even stupidity. We have to do an autopsy. Thank goodness it's in one piece." No. 11 qualifier - 6.996ET/196.13mph

Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) - "The only good thing about this race so far is that two of my motors are qualified. We're making really good runs from second gear to the finish line. We're just not doing good at the starting line. I don't think we're doing a horrible job, but I think we just have something off a little on our car. We never start at the bottom of the page at the 60-foot line and that's where we are at right now. We went to Norwalk and had so much fun. Not only did we have fun, but the track came to us and the Century 21 Firebird was flawless. I thought we really might've had it together. I told myself 'you know, I'm starting to feel a little better.' Wrong! We're still struggling; we're in the 15th spot right now. But I know I have as much power as the number eight or nine car. I feel I should be in the fifth, sixth, or seventh position. Hopefully in this last session I will be able to move up and knock everyone down a spot. I think the track was a lot worse than what we gave it credit for. That's my opinion. We thought it would've been better. We thought everyone was just missing it but after our run we were heavy and that's what everyone else was saying, We got a little better in that last session but hopefully tonight we will be able to improve even more. And stay in the top 16!" No. 17 qualifier - 7.010ET/196.16mph


Bruce Sarver ( Pontiac Firebird) - "Yesterday we had some tire shake problems, and last night I had to pedal it. We still ran pretty decent with a 5.06 at 305mph. So we're pretty happy knowing that we pedaled it about a tenth of the way down the track and still ran pretty well. We came in today thinking we would run a mid to low 4.90 with the Pontiac Firebird, but we guessed wrong on the tune-up. It was smooth but still a little weak. So for tonight we'll tune it up and go for the pole!" No. 10 qualifier - 5.033ET/307.44mph

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "The incrementals were pretty stout, right there with the 4.91 we ran yesterday. But it put a cylinder out on the left side down there and when it did that it made a hard move for the centerline. I yanked on the wheel and stayed with it as long as I could, but finally I had to settle the car to bring it back. I'm happy we got it cleanly off the line and up and running again, with a good strong set-up in it. It's a fast racecar, man; it's really a fast car right now. I'm looking forward to the final shot tonight, I want to see what we can do." No. 2 qualifier - 4.911ET/305.98mph Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "Do I feel better? You better believe it. That was sweet, nice, and smooth, no problems. After the finish line it sagged a bank of header pipes and threw some sparks, but nothing was really wrong. We'll just put some new pipes on there and be fine. You know, we'd made like seven bad runs in a row going back to the Finals in Seattle, and the guys were getting a little depressed. But it wasn't like we kept doing the same stupid things over and over. Each run was different, some of the things we did wrong were mistakes and many of them were just bad luck. It really just was your classic bad streak. I still had confidence, and when we towed back here I could feel the difference in the guys. They got their game faces back on that run, they believe in themselves again and we're going to be fine." No. 7 qualifier - 4.966ET/299.60mph

Dale Creasy Jr. (MAD Magazine Pontiac Firebird) -"Something in the fuel system is not working right and we're trying to figure it out. It's too bad they don't make a manual for these things. Unfortunately we have to figure it out on our own. I'm going to get it though! I might be here until Tuesday but I'm going to get it! You can count on it. Hopefully we'll be ready for tonight and get this MAD Magazine Pontiac Firebird in the show." No. 18 qualifier - 5.449ET/277.09mph

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "Compared to our past races we're looking pretty good! It's nice going into the last session not worrying about getting qualified. Plus, this is the first time since I've been racing it that it's gone down the track two times in a row without smoking the tires -- the two runs were within a hundredth of a second. The second run was actually a little better then the first, and it dropped a cylinder but still went 5.13. You might say we're slowly sneaking up on it, and that's probably an understatement. We should've been there a long time ago. But, so far so good. If we can make another good run and get this Firebird into the mid 5.00s we'll be looking pretty good. Because then they will have to try and beat us and we won't beat ourselves for a change. That's our primary goal right now. Keeping it in the show and getting into the 5.00s. We want to be consistent with no mistakes and hopefully go some rounds tomorrow." No. 14 qualifier - 5.121ET/285.35mph

Gary Densham (NEC Pontiac Firebird) - Well obviously we've got our work cut out for us tomorrow against Ron Capps. We're going to have to step up. Capps has been running good all weekend and we've been struggling. Maybe it's our turn to find the right bone and their turn to lose it, I don't know. We're not real pleased right now with our performance. There is just something we are overlooking. The car is not running good from one end to the other. Hopefully we can find what we're missing. I'm not sure we can run a 4.86 but hopefully we can give him a good race." No. 16 qualifier - 5.204ET/287.84mph


Cory McClenathan (MBNA Pontiac Dragster) - "The car was all over the racetrack during that first session. We wanted to soften it up for the next session but we ended up smoking the tires. But we are sixth and we take on Bob Vandergriff in the first round. I am looking forward to tomorrow and hope to go some rounds with the MBNA Pontiac Dragster." No. 6 qualifier - 4.682ET/314.17mph

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