Columbus: Tom Hammonds final qualifying summary

A tough Columbus track abbreviates Hammonds' weekend. Tom Hammonds had high hopes coming into the Pontiac Excitement Nationals. After all, at the most recent national event in Joliet, Hammonds' Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier posted an ...

A tough Columbus track abbreviates Hammonds' weekend.

Tom Hammonds had high hopes coming into the Pontiac Excitement Nationals. After all, at the most recent national event in Joliet, Hammonds' Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier posted an impressive runner-up finish, and was one the quickest Pro Stock entry throughout eliminations, a trend Hammonds naturally hoped to continue in Columbus.

However, after opening with a solid 6.969-second, 199.14 mph effort on Friday afternoon, the Hammonds crew fought to find the right combination to solve the National Trail Raceway track. The unusually cool temperatures on Saturday did not make their task any easier, which produced the quickest field in this facility's history. The near perfect run that was necessary to make Sunday's field eluded them, and as a result, ended their weekend early.

"The race track this weekend seemed to have a very narrow groove, with little traction available outside of it, and we just weren't able to adapt to it. Although we're certainly not pleased with the results, we realize this is part of the learning process. We're not about to get down on ourselves. We're just going to tighten our belts a notch and get back to work.

"We need to be able to come to a racetrack and know what adjustments the set-up needs as opposed to taking two or three runs to get the car dialed in, because by that time the track or atmospheric conditions will often prevent you from running the number necessary to get in the show. We have to set up our Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier so that it's fast right off the trailer.

"We're going to stay here in Columbus and test extensively on Monday, so we can learn what it takes to get our car down this type of track, because I'm certain we'll see this type of conditions again. We plan on being in St. Louis with everything we need to win."

Hammonds also commented on the NHRA's decision to start the third Pro Stock qualifying session one hour earlier on Saturday morning. The intent of this decision was to hopefully give the normally-aspirated "factory hot rods", which often set the field in the cooler conditions on Friday evening, an additional opportunity in which they could realistically have a chance of qualifying.

"I think running the third session earlier on Saturday morning is a great idea, because it offers everyone an additional opportunity to get in. It makes it fair for everyone. If you have a mechanical failure, or have some other problem, you can still come back on Saturday and have a realistic chance of qualifying. The NHRA should be commended for doing it, and I hope they continue the practice throughout the rest of the year."

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Hammonds