Bristol: RW Performance preview

RW Performance Pro Stock Chevy Cavalier Mark Whisnant -- Driver Reid Whisnant -- Owner RW Performance Team heads for the Tennessee mountains. BRISTOL, Tenn. -- This weekend the National Hot Rod Association will make its sixth stop on the 2002...

RW Performance Pro Stock Chevy Cavalier
Mark Whisnant -- Driver
Reid Whisnant -- Owner

RW Performance Team heads for the Tennessee mountains.

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- This weekend the National Hot Rod Association will make its sixth stop on the 2002 POWERade Drag Racing Series in Bristol Tenn. for the Second Annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals.

Mark Whisnant, driver of the RW Performance Chevrolet Cavalier, will take his place on the Pro Stock roster of drivers trying to qualify for this weekends event. His challenge here in Bristol will be to overcome the altitude and find the right combination that will place him in the top sixteen quickest Pro Stock cars at this event.

Nicknamed Thunder Valley, the Bristol Dragway offers the competitors of the Pro Stock class a unique set of factors which makes this one of the most difficult tracks for the Pro Stock cars to navigate.

The 3000-foot elevation makes the air thin, which robs horsepower from the naturally aspirated Pro Stock motor combination. Being down on power requires the teams to pay more attention to the set up of the car, and how it travels down the racetrack. The most critical components of the run will be how the car leaves the starting line and reaches the 60 and 330-foot marks. How fast a car gets to these points will make the difference between racing on Sunday and going home Saturday night.

"My job this weekend is to beat the racetrack," said Whisnant, of Stockbridge, Ga. "It is not about who is on the pole or who is in the lane next to me. My job here this weekend is to get this Cavalier from the starting line to the finish line as smoothly as possible. Any little mistake will cost you dearly here in Bristol. We cannot afford mistakes.

"The altitude is always a factor in Bristol, but this year they have ground the racetrack for the starting line to the finish line. This racetrack will be different than we have ever seen it. So, really we will not know what we have until we get there. The upside to that is that if it is different for us it will be different for everybody.

"Right now this team is focused on putting this RW Performance Cavalier in the show. We need to get this monkey off our backs, and not get stuck in a DNQ rut. To make the show on Sunday will be a real moral booster for this team, and will put us back on track for the rest of the season.

"Our plan is to make every run smooth and mistake free. We need to take advantage of the good sessions, and not beat ourselves. We have proven to ourselves that Pro Stock racing takes practice, dedication, and hard work. I believe that if we stick to our game plan this weekend that we will qualify this car, and be racing in Bristol on Sunday."

Qualifying at the Second Annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals will begin on Friday April 26 and continues on Saturday April 26. Eliminations will take place on Sunday April 28 at 11:00 Am EST.

Second Annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals
TV Schedule

Qualifying Highlights
Saturday April 27 8:00 -- 10:00 PM EST (ESPN2)

Eliminations Coverage
Sunday April 28 5:30 --7:30 PM EST (ESPN2)

Repeat Eliminations
Sunday April 28 11:30 PM-- 1:30 AM EST (EPSN2)

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Whisnant