Bristol: Scott Geoffrion preview

Nitro Fish Ford Escort's performance brings Scott Geoffrion thoughts of winning at Bristol. BRISTOL, Tenn., April 21, 2003 - Count Scott Geoffrion among those new car buyers who are extremely happy with their purchases. OK, so Geoffrion didn't...

Nitro Fish Ford Escort's performance brings Scott Geoffrion thoughts of winning at Bristol.

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 21, 2003 - Count Scott Geoffrion among those new car buyers who are extremely happy with their purchases.

OK, so Geoffrion didn't walk into a Ford dealership and purchase his Escort ZX2. This car, right now, is one of a kind. It's the Nitro Fish ZX2 that Hurley Blakeney financed and Don Ness built, and is currently one of hottest topics in the NHRA Pro Stock ranks.

Geoffrion has driven the car in the last three POWERade Series races and climbed from 16th into seventh place in points (246) in what is the sport's toughest category. Races are won and lost by thousandths of seconds and more than 30 Pro Stock cars are attempting to make the 16-car fields at every event. Geoffrion proved just how close things are at Houston two weeks ago, edging Warren Johnson by mere two-10-thousandths of a second, 6.816 to 6.802.

Geoffrion advanced to the second round at Gainesville, Fla., and Las Vegas, then drove into the finals, a first for Ford since 1996, at Houston.

The performance validated everything Blakeney, Geoffrion, Ness, crew chief Eric Luzinski and engine builder Bob Panella Jr. believed: This car can and will win races.

The car that has made only 21 runs comes to Bristol Dragway for the Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals, April 25-27, rated as one of the favorites to challenge for a spot in the finals.

"I've never been to Bristol, but I am looking forward to it," said Geoffrion, a veteran driver with nine victories in 27 finals. "It is a Bruton Smith race track and anything he does is first class.

"Eric has raced there before and said it will be a little slower than Las Vegas. I'm excited about racing there because it has a strong Pro Stock fan base," he continued. "Eric and Ness made gear and chassis changes Saturday night at Houston and the car didn't shake when the track temperature went up. That made a huge difference."

Geoffrion lowered his career-best elapsed time from 6.801 to 6.798 on the car's third lap during qualifying at Gainesville. His speed improved from 201.43 to 202.02 on the second run.

At Houston, he dropped those numbers to 6.751 seconds and 204.73 mph.

"We are confident about what we do as a team," Geoffrion said. "The last time I had confidence like this was in 1997, the last year I won a race. It's an awesome feeling knowing whenever you go to a race you're going to have a shot at winning. If we all do our jobs, everything else will take care of itself."

Geoffrion had not been to a final round since September 2000 at Memphis. It seems quite probable there will be more title rounds in 2003.

Pro Stock qualifying unfolds at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon on Sunday.

-hbr/nitrofish-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Warren Johnson , Hurley Blakeney , Scott Geoffrion