Bristol: Pontiac Racing Saturday notes

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8, 2000) - Qualifying for the 2nd Annual Winston "No Bull" Showdown was completed today at Bristol Dragway. In Funny Car, Ron Capps and Scotty Cannon held onto the only two open Funny Car spots in this year's Winston ...

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8, 2000) - Qualifying for the 2nd Annual Winston "No Bull" Showdown was completed today at Bristol Dragway. In Funny Car, Ron Capps and Scotty Cannon held onto the only two open Funny Car spots in this year's Winston Showdown. Capps qualified in the No. 1 position with an elapsed time of 4.887 seconds at 301.40 mph. Whit Bazemore qualified second, Scotty Cannon was third, Del Worsham and the Checker Shuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird was fourth with an elapsed time of 4.981 seconds at 288.56 mph and Tony Pedregon was fifth. Frank Pedregon qualified seventh, Jerry Toliver was ninth and Tommy Johnson Jr. was 12th. Bruce Sarver had the fourth quickest run of the weekend at 4.952 seconds at a speed of 295.66 mph but that wasn't good enough to capture one of the two open spots in the Funny Car class

In Top Fuel, Gary Scelzi was the No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 4.675 seconds at 303.30 mph. Tony Schumacher was qualified second, Doug Herbert was third, Bob Vandergriff was fourth and David Grubnic was fifth. Cory McClenathan qualified the MBNA Pontiac Dragster in the No. 11 spot.

In the first round of eliminations Frank Pedregon defeated Larry Dixon, Del Worsham defeated Jim Head, Jerry Toliver lost to Bob Vandergriff, Cory McClenathan defeated Whit Bazemore and Tommy Johnson Jr. lost to Gary Scelzi.

The Winston Showdown at Bristol Dragway is the 13th race on the 23-event NHRA Winston championship tour. Qualifying highlights can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday July 8, beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern. Television coverage of final eliminations can be seen on Sunday July 9, beginning at 9:30p.m. Eastern.


Bruce Sarver ( Pontiac Firebird) - "We were on a fairly decent run that last session with the Pontiac Firebird and we blew the belt off. At least it's going down the track every time now. It's running real good. It's just that they only take two cars and I was number three. It's just sad when you're the third fastest car here and you're going home. It's weird."

Jerry Toliver (WWF Pontiac Firebird) - "It's very disappointing. It's not the way we wanted to come out here. What happens, happens. I started smoking the tires and started moving towards the centerline and I couldn't get it to come back. I saw the centerline and new it was going to be close. I thought the dragsters had an advantage. I clearly think the left lane is better. All the wins were in the left lane. There was just nothing I could do when the car went towards the centerline. It's never good to lose, its always painful. But that's life and we are going to move on. The good thing is that we didn't lose any points."

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "In one word - frustrating. We keep thinking we are making progress and then a two-dollar part breaks and costs us a run. Then the clutch wouldn't work and then it was all over. It has been a frustrating weekend. For Denver we are going to put together a whole new car. We need a change of luck and maybe this will work. We wanted to get this old body straightened out before we went to the new one but it's getting to be so frustrating that we need to make a change. So we are going to put together a whole new Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird and go from there."

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "I was feeling about back to normal yesterday, except for my tongue which still hurts, but after our 4.98 yesterday I got up this morning and all the sore spots had come back. Everywhere the seat belts hold me the tightest, I've got bruises. We plan on winning rounds here, and with a five round race I want to be sure I'm up to it. So with the 4.98 in the bank, we chose to sit this one out and send the blue car out there to collect some data from the front two-thirds of the track. They did great. I think there's a lot of pressure in this thing, since we leave first with the headstart you've got to be right on the lights. You can't give anything away to these guys, so I'm pretty pumped up to be a part of it."

Round one eliminations: "That was intense. I've never really experienced anything like that before. We did just want we wanted to do, we powered down the track and put a decent number up. And now it's pretty obvious I think that the Top Fuel guys have an advantage in this deal. They hear us leave, then they know the light is coming. It's like a tip for them. I'm not complaining, I'd be doing the exact same thing. But these guys have had a couple of laps to get used to it and they're all pretty dialed in to be ready to leave on the sound. I'm sure they've figured out a count or something, some trigger that has them right on the lights. But the good thing is, the handicap system works. The Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird ran a decent solid lap, so did Jim Head, and we won. And we're proud of it. Tomorrow we get the Aussie."

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "Fletch (Dave Fletcher) told me to take the Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird out to 1,000 feet and shut it off. The trouble spot out here is around 660, so we just wanted to see if we could cruise past the mid-point and keep it planted. I actually probably clicked it a little earlier than 1,000-feet, more like 900. When you're collecting data the important stuff is the trouble spots. Out there in the last 200 feet you're not doing much more than wearing out parts, or worse. So we took it easy on the back end and just got the tune-up for both teams. It was so smooth, a perfect run. This car is running great, both of our cars are. I'm pretty pumped up. Can't wait to have a go at it tonight. There have been a lot of cars having problems getting down the track, and we've had a car that went straight on down there, so I think we can put the whole thing on the table at the starting line and see how it comes out."

Round one eliminations: "Cool deal. You know, when you run Snake's car, with Dixon driving, there's no getting around the fact that a big-time team is in the other lane. It means a lot to our crew, who have only been together for a half season now, to take out such a big name. Dave Fletcher just keeps putting a solid safe race car under me, and all I have to do is concentrate on my light and staying in the middle. We've had our best weekend of the year to this point in both of those regards. And we seemed to be right there at the top of the ET's for Funny Car until that Capps character posted that 4.91. And that's who we've got next. We can't get away from Don Prudhomme. We took out his dragster now we've got his Funny Car. We'll have to be right on top of it tomorrow to take out Ron Capps, but I don't see why we should be any more worried about it than their team. They have to race a car that goes down the track every time."


Cory McClenathan (MBNA/Pontiac) - "Wes (Cerny) made changes to the engine to better cope with the hot, humid weather, then changed the clutch to compensate for the engine changes. His goal was to go down the racetrack and gather enough positive data to tune the MBNA Pontiac Dragster for eliminations. The car's performance improved a tenth of a second and Cerny felt comfortable going in that the car would run quicker even though atmospheric conditions hadn't improved. He had nothing to tune to until Saturday's first run. I can't wait to race Force tomorrow. It will be exciting. We'd like to reverse last year's decision."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Larry Dixon , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , David Grubnic , Scotty Cannon , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Jerry Toliver , Bob Vandergriff , Tommy Johnson Jr.