Pennzoil stable off to strong start COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 11) -- The 35th Annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals completed the first day of professional qualifying with a Friday night session under the lights at National Trail Raceway. It was a ...
Pennzoil stable off to strong start
COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 11) -- The 35th Annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals completed the first day of professional qualifying with a Friday night session under the lights at National Trail Raceway. It was a successful evening for the Pennzoil gang as all three pros emerged from the session having earned a spot in their respective 16-car fields.
The following information reflects each driver's Round 2 pass.
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, was able to better his previously posted time of 7.064 seconds when he carded a 7.041-second lap at 196.07 mph in the cooler evening session. The improvement helped Thomas keep pace with the rest of the class and he remained in the No. 3 spot in the qualifying field.
"That was a great run," Thomas said. "I really thought we had a good shot at being the No. 1 qualifier overall but ol' WJ (Warren Johnson) waved his magic wand and came up with another magical lap. He's amazing. I'm still very pleased with our car and how things are going so far. We've got a real good shot at making a move this weekend. The car's ready."
Bruce Allen, the pilot of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, experienced problems with his front wheel brake locking device and could not execute a burnout or start his second round run under power. Consequentially, Allen had to launch from a dead start and could only post a 7.780-second lap at 130.46 mph. Fortunately, his Round 1 marks of 7.094 seconds at 195.53 mph kept him in the field as the 15th qualifier.
"We're just not having any luck at all," crew chief Dave Reher said. "If we could have had any kind of run we would have put up at least a 7.07-second pass. The line lock failed completely that run and we couldn't get a burnout done to warm up the tires or get the RPMs up when we launched. I mean this is getting ridiculous. It's almost laughable."
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, was most of the way through his Round 2 lap when his car began to weave slightly from side-to-side. Playing it safe, Hill clicked the power off and ended up with a 4.993-second lap at 220.51 mph that was good enough for 14th place on the qualifying ladder.
"I carried the front end much further than I normally do," Hill said, "and with virtually no control of the car for the first few hundred feet we sort of drifted out of the groove. I was trying to coax her back in but eventually the tires started spinning and that whipped the blower belt off so I just shut her down. We've got some work to do now for tomorrow."