Pennzoil's Pro Stockers earn spots DENVER (July 16) -- A lengthy rain delay put a damper on the opening two rounds of professional qualifying for the 21st Annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals, but it didn't slow down the Pro Stock drivers of ...
Pennzoil's Pro Stockers earn spots
DENVER (July 16) -- A lengthy rain delay put a damper on the opening two rounds of professional qualifying for the 21st Annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals, but it didn't slow down the Pro Stock drivers of Team Pennzoil.
Rain forced the outright cancellation of the afternoon's first round and the scheduled nighttime session was cut short after the first few Funny Cars covered the track. The only completed pro session of the day belonged to the Pro Stockers and Pennzoil pilots Mike Thomas and Bruce Allen both found a way to run quick enough down the slippery surface of Bandimere Speedway to qualify their cars in the field.
Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, grabbed the No. 12 spot on the ladder with a Round 1 pass of 7.472 seconds at 183.82 mph. The altitude-slowed numbers slightly pleased the 46-year-old Thomas, but he is convinced he can do better.
"All that rain made the track very loose," Thomas said. "Running up towards the front of the pack didn't help us out much either. The car moved around a lot out there and that always cuts into your time and speed. Plus, it felt like I hit a few little bumps. I was fighting to find traction all the way down.
"Still, it's encouraging to run good enough to get in the field with what we consider to be a real sub-par run. If that's the worst we do all weekend, we'll end up in pretty good shape. The way this weather is acting, anything could happen. It could be cold in the morning and we might all go faster then. No matter what, we'll get this Pennzoil car to go faster, that's for sure."
Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac, finished the session just behind Thomas in the 14th position. Allen tripped the timers in 7.493 seconds at 183.39 mph and, like Thomas, is eager to improve on his first round effort.
"We ran a 7.35 in testing here a few weeks ago," Allen said. "And that was during the heat of the day with track temperatures in the 130-degree range. We know this car is capable of doing that again. It just wasn't going to happen during that session.
"The track was really sloppy. That was borderline on whether or not we even should have been out there. During my pass I got out of the groove, started spinning and the car went sideways for a second. Luckily, I gathered it in and finished the run with a decent time. But it was still not what we were looking for. Tomorrow should be considerably better."