Mother Nature rules Columbus -- Baca 11th HEBRON, Ohio (June 14, 2003) -- Once again Mother Nature played havoc with the qualifying schedule for an NHRA national event when qualifying for the 39th running of the NHRA Pontiac Excitement...
Mother Nature rules Columbus -- Baca 11th
HEBRON, Ohio (June 14, 2003) -- Once again Mother Nature played havoc with the qualifying schedule for an NHRA national event when qualifying for the 39th running of the NHRA Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway, near Columbus, Ohio, was the victim of weather.
On Friday, in the opening session, Baca drove his American Racing/Waterloo Tool Storage/SpeedCash.net dragster to an elapsed time of 4.712 seconds at 310.98 mph, although the engine lost a cylinder during the run. The dropping of a cylinder equates to a loss of approximately 750 horsepower. Rain and lightning then caused cancellation of the second qualifying session to end Friday's racing.
Rain again caused Saturday's first session to be pushed back, with the first Top Fuel car taking to the track at 3:10 p.m. Baca took the opportunity to improve, running a 4.688 second elapsed time. This placed the Brentwood, Calif. driver in the ninth position on the qualifying grid enter the final qualifying session.
The final sessions was once again delayed by rain and the professional classes began at 7 p.m. Baca looked like his American Racing/Waterloo/Skill Clean dragster was on a good pass, but lost the blower belt and the Henkelman & Baca team settled for a run of 4.785 seconds at 297.42 mph. He finished qualifying 11th on the ladder.
"The delays of Friday and Saturday has made the weekend seem longer," said Baca. This American Racing team led by crew chief Johnny West has adjusted beautifully to the changing weather conditions both yesterday and today. Tomorrow we'll have a whole new set of conditions to deal with, but I feel confident that we'll be up to the challenge."
The opening round of eliminations take center stage at 11 a.m. (ET) tomorrow. Baca's first round opponent will be Cory McClenathan, who qualified sixth with pass of 4.611 seconds at 321.88 mph.