Gainesville Pennzoil Round 3 Recap

Plenty of fight left in Pennzoil stable GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 20) -- Partial cloudy skies provided some welcome relief from the heat for the fans attending Saturday's second day of qualifying for the 30th Annual Mac Tools Nationals. The...

Plenty of fight left in Pennzoil stable

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 20) -- Partial cloudy skies provided some welcome relief from the heat for the fans attending Saturday's second day of qualifying for the 30th Annual Mac Tools Nationals. The cloud cover also kept the smooth surface of Gainesville Raceway's quarter-mile strip at an agreeable temperature and, as a result, elapsed time and top mph's improved across the board.

The Pennzoil stable of drivers all managed to post competitive times. Here's a quick recap of each driver's Round 3 pass.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, ran a 4.748-second lap at 239.95 mph in the third round. His opening pass of 4.577 seconds at 314.97 mph is still his best of the weekend and the time kept him in sixth place through three rounds.

"We were going for that elusive 4.4-second lap and we didn't quite have the right set-up," Hill said. "We are basically still testing a bunch of different things and when you're trying new things it seems like nine out of 10 of them don't work. But that's all part of the process. We're hunting for anything that will help us go faster and the hunt continues."

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, posted a 6.979-second lap at 195.73 mph in Round 3 to move into the 16th and final spot on the qualifying ladder. Allen must improve on that time in Round 4 or hope that no one below him bumps him out by running a quicker time.

"We keep on improving which is a great sign," Allen said. "But I don't think we'll hold the bump (16th spot) with that time. We'll have to go quicker and I think we can. The car went a little left in third gear and we spun the tires momentarily. That cost us some time. The good news is that if we go straight, we will be quicker. There are so many fast cars behind us that we better be good if we still want to be racing tomorrow."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, finally completed a lap under power during Round 3. But his elapsed time of 7.034 seconds at 196.93 mph was well off the field's all six-second pace. Thomas, who is currently in 27th place, has one more chance to qualify this afternoon in the fourth round.

"We've been chasing the proper clutch setting all weekend," Thomas said. "But now I'm starting to think that it's not the clutch, but the motor itself. It just seemed like it died on the top end of the track. There is a lot of work to do before this afternoon's session and we're going to do everything we can to put this car in the field."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen