Baca and West optimistic heading to Mac Tools Gatornationals. GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- "After testing at Las Vegas prior to the Phoenix event we felt a turnaround was in sight for this team at the previous race in Phoenix," said David Baca, driver...
Baca and West optimistic heading to Mac Tools Gatornationals.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- "After testing at Las Vegas prior to the Phoenix event we felt a turnaround was in sight for this team at the previous race in Phoenix," said David Baca, driver of the Henkelman & Baca American Racing/Waterloo/ YP.net Top Fuel Dragster. "Although it didn't show in the numbers and results during race weekend in Phoenix, there were some behind the scene improvements that has both (crew chief) Johnny West and me optimistic about the Gatornationals.
"I'm always optimistic, but for Gainesville, Johnny is with me and feels that we are on the right side of the curve. Now if we can be aggressive enough with our tune up, I do believe we have a top eight car. As long as we aren't too conservative and we're aggressive enough, I think our car is capable of running in the mid-fifties (mid-4.50 second range)."
The professional fuel cars will take to the Gainesville Raceway quarter-mile on Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15, at approximately noon and 3:30 p.m. each day for qualifying for the NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals, the third of 23 national events on the NHRA POWERADE® Drag Racing Series. The 16 quickest will then square off for the start of final eliminations at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 16.
Entering the Gatornationals, Baca, a second-generation driver from Brentwood, Calif., holds down the 13th position in the NHRA POWERADE Top Fuel point standings. Added Baca, "Gainesville Raceway is a very fast track and if the weather permits, you can get some tremendous performance numbers there. Our car wants to run. We're hoping to go beyond the first round; we need to get that first round win of the year here. The car wants not. It's got all the best parts, the same amount of stuff as the best funded teams out here. A good showing here will go a long way toward moving this American Racing/Waterloo Dragster back into the top 10 in points."
At the end of 2001, Baca and Rick Henkelman, both former alcohol drivers, began exploring the opportunities of fielding a Top Fuel Dragster and in 2002 the dream became a reality with the formation of Henkelman & Baca Motorsports. One week prior to the 2002 K&N Filters Winternationals, the pair hired veteran Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan and competed in all 23 national events on the NHRA POWERADE® Drag Racing Series. The Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Team advanced to four final rounds, winning one, and finished in fifth position in the final NHRA POWERADE® Top Fuel point standings.
During 2002, Baca, who previously competed in Top Alcohol Dragster (TAD) and who currently holds the TAD national speed record at 274.44 mph, upgraded his TAD license to Top Fuel and competed in a second Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster in the final two events of the season. This is his third national Top Fuel event of the current season and fifth of his career.