ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 19, 2000) - Qualifying for the 31st annual Matco Tools Spring Supernationals got underway today at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Qualifying highlights can be seen ESPN2 on Saturday, May 20, beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern.
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 19, 2000) - Qualifying for the 31st annual Matco Tools Spring Supernationals got underway today at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Qualifying highlights can be seen ESPN2 on Saturday, May 20, beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern. Same-day television coverage of final eliminations can be seen on Sunday, May 21, beginning at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.
Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "There was a little dew or mist on the racetrack that got me over to the right real hard. Kurt (Johnson) ran right in front of me and almost crossed the centerline. The Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird made an almost identical move, took off hard to the right, got out of the groove and was out there skating around pretty hard. I think 6.89 was pretty good considering the position the car was in going down the track -- we spun the tire quite a bit. We'll just try and back the clutch down a little and put this Firebird right down the middle. The track will improve quite a bit as the weekend goes along - it hasn't been run on and is pretty green. The more cars we get on it the better it's going to be. We're focussed hard on getting qualified well tonight so that we can try and win the Dominator Duel tomorrow. The big race is on Sunday - that's where the points are and that's what we're here for. It would be nice to race for the money tomorrow, but the perquisite for me to do that is to be qualified well tonight. We can't go out there and run tomorrow like we would like if we're still worried about getting qualified. The key is to be qualified strong tonight, and go out tomorrow and throw caution to the wind." Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing/Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird) - "Not a bad start. We didn't make a real good run with the No. 1 car but I'm sure a lot of guys could say the same thing. What I was most impressed was the speed the second car ran on the backhalf. We've been struggling to make good runs with both Summit Racing Firebirds and I'm starting to question everything. At least it looks like our power is still okay, we just need to work on some other areas. Greg's (Anderson) car runs more speed because it's a little more aerodynamic. My car is older, but it's run so fast to the eighth mile that it's kind of hard to give up."
Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) - "It's the same thing we always try to accomplish on our first qualifying run. Get off to a good start, be conservative enough yet be able to make a decent enough run. We were concerned because we knew if we could make a run it would be really fast. You can't go over that edge and that's a pretty fine line. We were lucky, we made some good calls on the Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird, adjusted for the conditions and actually we're pretty pleased with the results. I knew Krisher ran a 6.85, and I didn't know that Greg (Anderson) ran the 6.86, but I knew it was good because Mark (Pawuk) looked pretty happy about it. Nonetheless, when I made my run I knew it was good because it pulled the motor down in the gears and stood up in low. But still it was good enough that I knew it was a decent pass. We're pretty happy with that kind of start. The track was real good downtrack. We put more spoiler lip in it than what we would normally run, but that was part of the plan and if it ran a little slower because of that, that's fine. Now we'll just tune it up. We'll come back and be more aggressive trying not to go over that line. That's what good teams do in any sport - they have a plan, they execute it and then they gradually go after it more and more. You get to a spot where the car works good and then you have to stay on top of it. We're getting better at doing that."
Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) - "I don't think our 6.87 will get bumped out but that doesn't mean that we couldn't get knocked out of the top half of the field if we don't improve. If it doesn't rain tomorrow then I think we may have a record bump and possibly the first all-6.80 Pro Stock field. There are just too many guys who got fooled by the track in that first session - us included. We just got lucky and made a good miss. If this were golf you could say that I sliced that shot, hit a tree and still landed on the green - but I'll take it. When you look at the score sheet it looks like a par. I'm not saying we could have taken the pole, but we actually got away with missing the track but had enough power in this Century 21 Firebird to get through the middle. We were extremely light on clutch, I over wound it some and the fact that the motor runs up high saved us. The higher you rev it the more counter weight action you have on the clutch. If I had a motor that didn't run up high I would've had to shut it off. It was eating up track pretty good in high gear and I thought it was a low 6.90 so I was happy with 6.87. For tomorrow, we're just going to sit back and wait on the fastball. If it's a curve I'm going to be way out in front of it."
Cruz Pedregon (Mac Tools Pontiac Firebird) - "It feels really good to be back. My main objective over the last couple of months has been to get this Mac Tools Pontiac Firebird to perform. We're close, we're really close now. It was kind of a weird run. It left really lazy, ran good through the middle and then kind of nosed over at about three quarters downtrack. To run a 5.05 on the first run off the trailer is awesome with it being as cold as it is. Anymore, with the fields as tight as they are, each event has two steps and obviously to race on Sunday you have to get there by qualifying. Now we can work on the car and try and step it up tomorrow. Our focus is to get this Pontiac back in shape and back in the fours. That's a personal goal that I've had all year and this car is more than capable."
Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "That wasn't much of a show for the fans, but I know what the NHRA and the track operator are up against. We've got a schedule that's almost completely full between now and the end of summer, and I'm sure they can't even fathom trying to reschedule this event. But temperatures in the high 40s and 100 percent humidity are a tough deal. Most of the cars smoked the tires right at the hit of the throttle, but the Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird was actually going. It went far enough that I thought it would go all the way, but the clutch came in a little too aggressively out there around 150 feet and it started to lose traction. Normally I would have pedaled it and it probably would have hooked up again, but my visor was so fogged up I really couldn't see where I was going so I was afraid to pedal it. We got a lot of good data though. We had the best 60-foot time in the class so I'm encouraged. Now we just have to find who is in charge of the weather around here."
Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "Whoop, right up in smoke. Nothing you can do about that. It was cold and wet and really hard to do anything about. Three of the five cars that did pretty well in the class ran right after the rain delay, after the jet dryers had run up and down the track for 20 minutes to dry it off. So those guys got a break, they got a warmer track than we did. It's just bad luck I guess. We've got our data and Del's to work with, so we'll be okay. Maybe it will snow."