Englishtown Team Pennzoil Friday Notes

Rocket-like start for Hill and Thomas ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 21) - An appreciative near-capacity crowd was treated to a very competitive opening session of drag racing Friday afternoon as the world's fastest drivers began qualifying...

Rocket-like start for Hill and Thomas ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 21) - An appreciative near-capacity crowd was treated to a very competitive opening session of drag racing Friday afternoon as the world's fastest drivers began qualifying for the 30th Annual Mopar Parts Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park with the first of four scheduled qualifying rounds. Team Pennzoil did its best to get off to a good start. Top Fuel pilot Eddie Hill ripped down the strip in a stunning 4.595 seconds at 308.99 mph to record the session's second quickest elapsed time. Meanwhile, Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas was one of just a handful of drivers that was able to break the seven-second barrier in his Pennzoil Firebird. Here's a brief recap of Team Pennzoil's Round 1 action. Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, grabbed the No. 2 qualifying spot with his 4.595-second, 308.99-mph first-round blast. Hill joined Gary Scelzi and Doug Kalitta as the only Top Fuelers to record runs in the 4.5-second range. "It's really excellent to have a first run like that," Hill said. "Considering this was a short week for us from the last race, it really helps to have a solid first lap because we now know we're in the field and now we have a few extra shots to try something new. It allows us a chance to shoot for the stars and go for some record times and speeds." Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, joined eight other drivers who managed to cover the track in less than seven seconds when he carded a 6.990-second pass at 198.70 mph in Round 1. The time puts the Knoxville, Tenn., resident in eighth place out of the 31 cars competing at this event. "We were soft on the clutch and the car spun a lot in low gear," Thomas said. "But once it hooked up, it really flew down the track. We had the third fastest speed and I'm pretty happy the car went down through there after such a heavy start. Tonight should be great if it cools down enough. Hopefully, the Pennzoil car will be on top by the end of the day." Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, experienced severe tire shake during his first round pass and elected to shut his car off to avoid any damage. Allen eventually crossed the finish line in 13.407 seconds at 63.82 mph, which earned him the No. 28 spot on the qualifying ladder. "We installed a new set of clutch discs and we just didn't know how aggressive they'd be," Allen said. "Now we do. You have to start somewhere and obviously we would have liked to have started better but the main objective was just to break in the discs and get set for tonight and tomorrow morning. Those will be the two sessions that matter."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Bruce Allen