Eddie Hill First Round Gainesville Report

Pennzoil's Hill No. 1 after first round GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19) -- The legendary quarter-mile of Gainesville Raceway is living up to its extremely fast reputation today as qualifying for the 30th Annual Mac Tools Nationals got underway...

Pennzoil's Hill No. 1 after first round

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19) -- The legendary quarter-mile of Gainesville Raceway is living up to its extremely fast reputation today as qualifying for the 30th Annual Mac Tools Nationals got underway with Round 1. Pennzoil Top Fuel legend and three-time Gatornationals champ Eddie Hill provided the weekend's initial jolt of excitement with a 4.577-second lap at 314.97 mph to grab the pole of the sports' quickest class.

Here's a quick recap of Hill's lap as well as those of his Pennzoil teammates.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot by a comfortable five-thousandths of a second from his nearest challenger. Still, Hill believes the rocket-fast time of 4.577 seconds will only hold the No. 1 spot for a little while.

"That's probably the worst conditions we'll see out there this weeken d," Hill said. "The track will steadily get better as more rubber is laid down. And the forecast looks good for cloud cover this weekend, which will help cool things down a little. If that happens, we'll really be flying.

"Boy, to open with a pass like that does this old heart good. That really just felt like about a medium run until we got to the 1,000-foot mark, then she just took off. It feels so good to be tuning the car yourself and then to turn around and run that quick. I'm having a ball."

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, managed to place his machine in the initial field of 16 cars that have qualified for Sunday's action. But the 14-year pro knows that he'll have to improve on his time of 7.038 seconds at 196.02 mph to survive the next three rounds of qualifying.

"That wasn't real pretty and that time definitely won't hold," Allen said. "But we did get a full lap in under power and we got some good data to work with. I think must of us (Pro Stock drivers) over-estimated the track. It was slicker than I thought it would be for sure. A lot of cars were spinning their tires and we were no exception. I spun really hard in low gear and that's where I lost most of my ET. We'll get better."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, could not find traction on the starting pad during his first pass and eventually clicked off his car and drifted through the lights in 15.321 seconds at 50.84 mph.

"We were at the back of the group and it hurt us big time," Thomas said "Between the start of the session and the time we ran, the track warmed up by 12 degrees. Consequentially, we had way too much clutch set in the car and we just spun like crazy. We'll have to be ready to go this afternoon. I'm so anxious to show how fast this car can be."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen