Commerce: Scott Geoffrion preview

New motor may help Geoffrion at Atlanta. COMMERCE, Ga., April 30, 2003 - If everything goes according to plan, there will be a new motor under the hood of the Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 Pro Stock entry in time for Scott Geoffrion to use it...

New motor may help Geoffrion at Atlanta.

COMMERCE, Ga., April 30, 2003 - If everything goes according to plan, there will be a new motor under the hood of the Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 Pro Stock entry in time for Scott Geoffrion to use it during the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway this weekend.

Engine builder Bob Panella Jr. completed the engine and tested it on the dyno before shipping it to Geoffrion and both are confident it will be stronger than the one currently in use.

Geoffrion fully expects it to be because he knows the engine the Hurley Blakeney-owned team had been using isn't capable of giving peak performances.

Don't get the impression the power plant wasn't competitive. In the car's four races, Geoffrion qualified fifth, third, eighth and seventh while putting up career-best numbers at Houston - 6.751 seconds at 204.73 mph - three weeks ago. Those are rather startling because the car still has less than 30 runs on it.

He was runner-up at Houston, losing to current series leader Kurt Johnson. And Geoffrion has made a remarkable climb in the POWERade Series standings, jumping from a tie for 16th after the second event to sixth (279 points). He's less than two rounds (40 points) behind fourth-place Jeg Coughlin (313).

"We hurt the motor Saturday in Bristol (Tenn.)," Geoffrion said. "It hasn't been running as quick or fast as it was before. The new motor is arriving just in time. If the motor runs as good as Panella says it will, it will be good.

"We knew we had a problem when some cars on Sunday at Bristol were running 6.90 seconds and 6.91s," he continued. "We should've been able to run a 6.89."

Geoffrion posted times two runs of 6.92, one at 6.91 and his qualifying best of 6.894, starting seventh on race day. He had a 6.942 in the first round against Jeg Coughlin Jr., but Coughlin ran 6.934. It was no consolation to Geoffrion that the time was third-best among those drivers not advancing to the second round.

Although he hasn't raced at Atlanta Dragway for several years, Geoffrion did collect one of his nine career victories at the track in 1994, beating hometown favorite Warren Johnson. He was runner-up in 1992.

The Nitro Fish team made a few test laps Monday at Bristol to scuff in new tires and try some different shocks.

"The car is awesome," Geoffrion said of the only Ford Escort ZX2 currently competing in NHRA POWERade Series competition, "but lately we've been making good runs, but not killer runs."

The combination of a new motor and the tuning prowess of crew chief Eric Luzinski might change that this weekend.

Pro Stock qualifying will be at 3:45 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations on Sunday begin at 11 a.m.

-hbr/nitrofish-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Warren Johnson , Scott Geoffrion