Arriving in Englishtown for the completion of the rain-delayed Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals, Cristen Powell was faced with a dilemma. Based on the qualifying results completed in May, Cristen's 13th place effort found her matched against...
Arriving in Englishtown for the completion of the rain-delayed Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals, Cristen Powell was faced with a dilemma. Based on the qualifying results completed in May, Cristen's 13th place effort found her matched against Whit Bazemore, who less than two weeks ago had hired her to drive his Bazemore Racing Matco Tools NitroFish Camaro Funny Car. However, Bazemore quickly assured her that there would be no team orders, and that he expected her to do her best to win. Following his instructions to the letter, Cristen used a solid 5.088-second, 282.13 mph run to edge her tire-smoking employer.
This set the stage for a second round encounter with Cruz Pedregon, marking the second time in as many races that these two would meet. Once again, Cristen's chances were thwarted by mechanical problems, as her racecar was slowed at the top end of the track before becoming enveloped in smoke as a result of an engine failure. Despite a solid 5.033-second elapsed time, it was not enough to prevent her rival from gaining the narrow victory. Afterwards, Cristen spoke about her weekend in the Garden State.
"It was really strange to race Whit, because while my first instinct as a racer is to go out and beat your opponent, I also had to fight the natural inclination to not beat up on the boss. But to his credit Whit had told the team to race him hard and to try and win. With that in mind, I just tried to race him like anyone else. The actual run was okay. It was a little squirrelly, so I had to do some driving, and it ran an .08, which surprised us a little because we had expected it to run a little quicker than that. But the bottom line is that it got down there and it won, which is all that matters.
"Then, for the second race in a row, we raced Cruz. It reminds me of last year when I seemed to race Tommy Johnson Jr. a lot, and had trouble getting by him. The Matco/NitroFish Camaro was on another good pass and we looked like we were about to pass him, when it suddenly started to go away, and blew up shortly afterward. I had my hands full, and luckily there was no fire. As long as there's no fire, I'm cool with it. That makes two races in a row that Cruz has beaten us when we had something break. That's how it goes. Next race we will get him. We're trying to make it to the final in Reading, which the team is totally capable of."