Dallas Pontiac Friday Notes & Quotes

PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 13th ANNUAL REVELL NATIONALS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1998 DALLAS , TEXAS DALLAS, Tex. (October 23, 1998) - After a day of qualifying at the Texas Motorplex, Pontiac Firebirds have jumped to the head of the pack in ...


DALLAS, Tex. (October 23, 1998) - After a day of qualifying at the Texas Motorplex, Pontiac Firebirds have jumped to the head of the pack in two professional categories. In Pro Stock, Warren Johnson is in the No. 1 qualifying position tonight after his GM Goodwrench Firebird posted a track record elapsed time of 6.878 seconds. He also set the MPH track record in the first qualifying session today at 201.20 mph, tying the national speed record. In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon also set the track record when his Interstate Batteries Firebird blazed down the race track at 4.839 seconds. He also set the MPH track record at 317.90 mph and will go into tomorrow's qualifying session in the top spot.


Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) We were a little too aggressive on the clutch, but I really didn't want to set the e.t. record. I shut it off before the first mph light because I don't need the bonus points for setting the record. Since the championship is already wrapped up, I'd rather save the record for next year when we might really need the points. The car could have run a 6.85 or a 6.86, but there was no sense in resetting the record tonight.

We're just trying to get down the race track to the first 1000 feet as quickly as possible, and then we'll compare our incremental times to everyone else. We know the time for the last 320 feet will be off because I shut it off early. No. 1 qualifier - 6.878ET (track record)/201.20MPH (track record)

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) Usually with this track, and as late as the second session runs, you can get some good ETs out of this place. We basically used our Memphis combination and the Splitfire/Peak Firebird put up a good number. The starting line is not as good as it looks. We thought it would be a lot more aggressive and we spun the tires really hard. We were one of the first cars down the race track, and we don't know if it was because we were out early or if the track was just not what it seemed. I think if we can get the car off the starting line we can run in the 6.80s. We just need to get some better ET at 60-foot. We lost a lot there. The problem with this race track is that the dew comes in at night. That generally makes the middle of the track loose and we don't need any more of that right now. No. 5 qualifier - 6.908ET/198.71MPH

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) We don't know what's going on.

All of a sudden the Summit Racing Firebird can't make a straight run. It started in Memphis and it's continuing here. Hopefully we can get it figured out tonight because this may be a one shot deal. We're really struggling with the car in low gear. After it gets out of the groove it just upsets the whole thing. There's no room for error in this class. If you don't make a good run every session, then you're not going to be racing on Sunday. When you have to get out of it, and then get back in it, that's enough ET to not make the show.

Second Session: Believe it or not, we pulled the motor down in first gear, but other than that the Summit Racing Firebird made an awesome run. It ran great ET, a good speed and a good back half. The car went straight down the middle of the lane. I can't complain. I'm just glad that this car was able to perform so well. We hurt a spark plug in the first run and weren't sure if we'd hurt the motor. The car's been going left so we made a whole bunch of changes. I have to hand it to my crew. Everybody pulled together and worked real hard. We rolled the dice and put the right combination together. No. 2 qualifier - 6.897ET (career best)/199.07MPH

George Marnell (Tenneco Pontiac Firebird) We pulled through when we had to here tonight. We had a pretty good run going in the first session but when I put it in third gear, it skipped right through fourth and straight into fifth. That hurt the ET pretty bad, and after that happened, I shut it off. We knew that we had a pretty good baseline and we pretty much stayed with that coming into tonight's session. The Tenneco Firebird went right down through there and we're going to be racing on Sunday. We didn't have any trouble at all with the race track. I knew it was a pretty good run but I couldn't here my teammates on the radio. I got to the other end and Jim Yates came around the corner and told me what we ran. No. 8 qualifier - 6.935ET/197.06MPH

Mike Thomas (Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird) I guess I should be pleased that the Pennzoil Firebird was as quick as it was but truth be known, we could've gone faster. The tires really shook hard in first gear and that forced me to shift into second a lot sooner than I normally would. That's where we lost some time. I think we left the line at too high a RPM and the car slipped out of the groove and let go for a second. If we can dial it in better, we could be real fast tonight. No. 14 qualifier - 6.973ET/198.36MPH

Bruce Allen (Outlaw Pontiac Firebird) I wish we would have started better. However, everything on this Outlaw Firebird is new so we really didn't know what to expect. When you have a new engine, new carbs and a new transmission you just never know how the parts are going to react the first time out. Hopefully we gained some data and we can make the necessary changes to improve the car before tonight. I think we'll be fine.

Tom Martino (Jesel Valve Train Pontiac Firebird) It was only out of control for 6.97 seconds. I don't know if we lined up in the wrong spot or what happened. I let the clutch out on the Jesel Valve Train Firebird and it took a right hand turn. I fought it just to get it back in the groove. I was surprised that in the second session we were still able to run the 6.97 considering what happened. That's a brand new motor that we ran 6.93 at 199 with in the first round. We were pretty happy with that and thought maybe we could sneak a 200 mph run in there. Maybe tomorrow though. It's in there, we just have to find it. At least I'm going to be able to sleep tonight. No. 9 qualifier - 6.937ET/199.02MPH


Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) You can look at what other teams are running, but there isn't anything wrong with our 4.94 at 311 mph. That just goes to show that you have to run what you can do, and take what you can get. There's something to be said for paying attention to what you're trying to accomplish. When you have a race car as quick and as fast as our Interstate Batteries Firebird, it's easy to try and out do the rest of the pack every time out. Consistency wins races and I really feel that we're going to accomplish a lot of good things before the season is over. We're hoping to put a few more wins on the board before it's all said and done. We're going to try and keep moving up and when the dust settles at the end of the year, then we'll look at the points. I'm just trying to stay focussed, do my job and the rest will take care of itself. I believe in myself, in my team and my crew chief and if we can come out of this race with a win, then maybe we'll start to hit our stride.

Second Session: We were in the staging lanes and guys were up there running 4.93s, I saw my brother Tony run 4.92. I know Wes (Cerny) never predicts if the car will be aggressive. He never says anything. Only twice has he told me to 'hang on, 'it's going to have the front end up and it's going to be dancing around while you're driving.' That was in Houston when we set the national record and tonight. By nature he's aggressive, so when he talks, it says something. To me, that was music to my ears. I thought it was going to cool down tonight, but the weather really hung in there and didn't cool down as much as we thought. I knew the race track would be there, my only concern was that it was maybe a touch on the dark side out there. When you look at the track, the groove is very narrow and there isn't a lot of room one way or the other to go right or left. I was really trying to keep it in the center because if you get the tires in the rough stuff with a car that makes power like this Interstate Batteries Firebird, it won't make it and you take a chance of messing up a good run. So I definitely wanted to make sure I did my part. The quicker you go, the less margin for error you have to work from. This car does funny things. It's like a bullet. When it's bucking, humping around in the middle and getting squirrelly, that's when I know it's on one. No. 1 qualifier - 4.839ET (track record)/317.90MPH (track record)

Tim Wilkerson (JCIT Pontiac Firebird) That 4.95 is pretty much what we thought the JCIT Firebird would do. We were a little concerned about that lane, watching everybody spin the tires before we ran. I think we were just fortunate enough that we were far enough back in the lane that the race track held what we trying to do. It put a hole out down there at about three-and-a-half seconds and that's why our speed was down. That's all right. Now we don't have to approach the situation so conservatively, and we can go out there tonight and try to put up a big number. We can try to attack the race track a little. I really feel there's a lot left in the race car. I don't know if it will run in the 4.80s but it will run in the low 4.90s. No. 7 qualifier - 4.957ET/292.68MPH

Randy Anderson (Parts America Pontiac Firebird) Jim Dunn told me that the Parts America Firebird would run anywhere from a 5.08 to a 5.15, and it ran a 5.13. He decided that we would approach it a little differently, back it off a little bit and try to do what we did at Indy, instead of trying to run big numbers right out of the box. The car did exactly what he wanted it to do. We're all pretty enthused. Just like at Indy, it ran a good number in the first session, we fine tuned it from there and went all the way to the finals. The lane seemed to be fine. The car pretty much drove itself. It made a nice smooth run and it gives us something we can work with tonight. There's no question that there's quite a bit left. We plan to go a lot quicker. Our car makes tremendous power but it just hasn't been consistent. We're taking a new approach this weekend and it looks like it's going to work. No. 12 qualifier - 5.131ET/291.35MPH

Al Hofmann (GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird) That's the first time we've made a good pass in the first session in a long time. We were trying to be careful and make it to the other end. We didn't want the GM Performance Parts Firebird to go that slow, but this car has some big power and we had it pulled way back. We'll go out tonight and try to step it up into the top three or four anyway. Last year when we won here we had completely different parts including a different set of clutch disks. The track right now is much better than it was last year and the air is a lot better. We're looking for some big, big numbers and think we have something to show. No. 8 qualifier - 4.970ET/307.06MPH

Del Worsham (Checkers/Schucks/Kragen Pontiac Firebird) We like Dallas. We like the Texas Motorplex. We like racing here. Pretty easy call to make. After about June or so, we head off to tracks that are either blistering hot or just not sticky and smooth enough to hold our car when we lean on it. Usually, you can count on Topeka being the first really stout track after the long hot summer. But it was so cold there, and so rainy, it ended up being one of the trickiest and loosest tracks of the year. So we were excited to get back here to the Motorplex where our Checkers/Schucks/Kragen Firebird ran the 4.98 in the spring. And BOOM, 4.98 right off the trailer. How cool is that?

Did not run second session: We ran the 4.98 in session number one even though I shut it off around 1000 feet. It was starting to chew itself up. We broke some stuff, have to change motors and we need to think about what we're going to do to run it through the lights without leaning out at the top end. Plus, our crew is just exhausted. It's going to be a long weekend so we need to make the smart move here, work on the car and then get back to the hotel for a decent night's sleep. It really doesn't make any sense to thrash to get back out there right now. We need to take our time, and do what we have to do. No. 9 qualifier - 4.988ET/272.56MPH

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , George Marnell