Columbus: Marnell's Grand Am No. 1 Qualifier

COLUMBUS, OHIO, June 16, 2001 - Qualifying for the 37th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing was completed today at National Trail Raceway. Bob Panella led the Pro Stock Truck division in a Chevy S-10 taking the No. 1...

COLUMBUS, OHIO, June 16, 2001 - Qualifying for the 37th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing was completed today at National Trail Raceway. Bob Panella led the Pro Stock Truck division in a Chevy S-10 taking the No. 1 spot with a track-record elapsed time of 7.519 seconds and a track-record top speed of 179.61 mph. Don Smith is qualified second while GMC Sonoma driver Jeff Gracia jumped all the way to the No. 3 position with a run of 7.541 seconds at 178.92 mph. Jeff Naiser is qualified fourth and Victor Cagnazzi is qualified fifth. John Lingenfelter will start Sunday eliminations from the No. 9 position. The Summit Racing GMC Sonoma qualified with a 7.562 elapsed time at 177.11 mph.

George Marnell captured his first Pro Stock pole since the 1995 Mile-High Nationals driving the Marnell & Black Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.935 elapsed time at 198.03 mph. Ron Krisher is No. 2 in a Cavalier, Mark Pawuk is third, Warren Johnson is fourth, and Brad Jeter is fifth, all in Grand Ams.


George Marnell (Marnell & Black Pontiac Grand Am) - "I can't say enough on how good the crew did. Greg Anderson has been a tremendous asset to our team. We've been working really hard and I think a track like this is where this Grand Am is going to shine. During that last run the car got real loose and the track was real slick and didn't really have a hold of the racetrack but other then that we've been going right down the racetrack all weekend. I can't say enough about Marcus, Bill and of course Greg. They've all done a great job. The other big helping we've gotten is from Reher-Morrison. We just got this motor back from them after we ran it in Chicago and they gave it back to us with a lot of power.

"It's been awhile since we've been in this position. It was a thrill in 1995 but I think I'm even enjoying it more now. We've had our ups and downs in drag racing, and I think we've finally put a really good team together and we've got a great racecar underneath us with good power. I think we've got all the components we need to be successful and I feel very optimistic that we can do real well. This weekend has given myself and the whole team a lot of confidence and encouragement." No. 1 qualifier - 6.935ET/198.03MPH

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Grand Am) - "The conditions aren't exactly the best out there but we're not the only ones having to deal with it. We made a pretty decent lap but left a little bit on the table. This is a brand new car and that was only the fourth run on it at a national-event track. Actually, it's only the 15th run on it total. We definitely feel that there is potential in this Grand Am and we feel we're on to something. Everybody on this team has been thrashing away and has done a great job. We felt like we needed to change cars given the hot weather conditions we're going to see in the next couple of months. The Ness car was fast when the conditions were cool but we're not going to have those conditions for the next couple of months. We felt that we could work better with the Haas car in the warmer conditions and I think we've got something to work with." No. 4 qualifier - 6.963ET/199.52MPH


Del Worsham (Checker-Schuck's-Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "Being so deep in the show we took the opportunity to try a few things aerodynamically there. We changed the wing a little, and we did some things we learned in the GM wind tunnel this spring that we hadn't had the chance to try yet. It was dancing around down there a little, sounding a little funny with some tire spin, so I shut it off. It was trying to run low e.t. of the session right there, but the test value of that lap was worth more than hurting the car. We'll take that data and tweak on it a little for the last lap, trying to move up if we can. I don't know though, the sun is beating on this track pretty hard and it may be difficult to get into the 4.80's here. But I guarantee we'll give it a shot."

Frank Pedregon (Checker-Schuck's-Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "You know, when the weather doesn't cooperate and you can't improve on what you did in the cooler conditions, the only way to see where you are is to compare yourself with the other teams during the same session. We ran low e.t. of the session, so that's outstanding. We've been running so well in the cooler conditions this year I was beginning to wonder if we still had a good warm weather car. All last year it was the hot tracks that we did so well on. It looks to me like we've got a cool weather car and a hot weather car. I know I love driving it."

-Pontiac Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Bob Panella , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Del Worsham , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Jeff Gracia , George Marnell