Hammonds shakes out early in Dallas. After enjoying temperatures in the mid 80's for the first two days of the event, competitors and fans arriving at the Texas Motorplex for Sunday's final eliminations of the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals felt...
Hammonds shakes out early in Dallas.
After enjoying temperatures in the mid 80's for the first two days of the event, competitors and fans arriving at the Texas Motorplex for Sunday's final eliminations of the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals felt the effects of a cold front that had moved through the area on Saturday evening, as the mercury fought to reach sixty degrees.
The sudden change found teams scrambling to not only find warmer clothes, but also a completely different set up for their race cars. This was particularly true in the Pro Stock pits, where the performance of the naturally aspirated "factory hot rods" was expected to increase dramatically.
As if the challenge of tuning his Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier for the drastically different conditions was not enough, eleventh qualifier Tom Hammonds also faced the tough assignment of meeting former Pro Stock champion Jim Yates in the first round without the luxury of lane choice.
Running in the less preferred right hand lane, Hammonds left the starting line one hundredth of a second ahead of his rival as he looked to pull the upset. However, his charge was soon halted, as his race car was plagued by violent tire shake, forcing the former NBA star to shut off early and end his weekend prematurely.
"Today was a tough loss for the Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care team. We didn't adapt to the change in weather as well as we should have, and as a result, were too aggressive with our set up. Under less-than-perfect conditions, we've been able to find the right combination to make good runs, but in the sessions with really good air, we seem to be out in left field. Obviously, that is an area we need to work on.
"We'll learn from today and move forward, focusing on improving our good weather set up during the upcoming winter months. There is no substitute for experience, so we will keep working to gather as much data as we can on running our Cavalier on a good track in good air. That way, the next time we encounter these conditions, we'll have something to look back on for guidance, giving us a better chance of being fast. We're certainly not happy with today's results, but it makes it a little easier seeing the progress we're making at every race."