Gateway Pontiac Racing Sunday Notes

PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 1998 SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 1998 MADISON, ILLINOIS PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) We broke an air shifter fitting during the burnout, leaked all of the air out of the air...

PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 1998 SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 1998 MADISON, ILLINOIS

PRO STOCK

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) We broke an air shifter fitting during the burnout, leaked all of the air out of the air bottle and I couldn’t shift. We replaced all of the air lines after Columbus to prevent this exact same thing from happening and this time, of all things, the fitting breaks. Lost in round two to Jeg Coughlin

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) I think the performance of the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird is back on track. The car’s running excellent. We had low ET in both the second round and the semi-final round, and taking into consideration what we did at Columbus, I think we have our program figured out. We just have to work a little bit on fine tuning the driver. But those things happen. Kurt’s (Johnson) an excellent driver and you can’t take it personal when he beats you. He beats a lot of people out here. Were just going on to Denver. We’re still in this points race as much as we can be and we want to win another race just to show people we can still do it. We’re going to stay here tomorrow and test and then we’re going to Denver to test. We’re not quitting, and we’re going to keep on going as hard as we can. We’re racing with the idea that we can still win this championship and you know something, I think we can! Lost in round three to Kurt Johnson

Tom Martino (Six Flags Pontiac Firebird) I broke the throttle linkage. I thought I broke the motor. I left the line and the thing just barked. I got down to the end of the track and saw the gas pedal on the floor. I looked down and I could see the carburetors closed. You never know if you’re going to win or lose, but I had a hundredth on him on the tree and I’m pretty confident that the Six Flags Pontiac Firebird could have run a least a 7.16. We’re a little disappointed that we didn’t make the right call in the first round and secure lane choice. The car didn’t bite us, we thought we were good and the car only ran a 7.11. We definitely should have run a 7.08. I had the third best back half and the third best MPH. I don’t know what that run would have been because I never got out of low gear. It left, and didn’t feel great, but I was only four hundredths behind him at the 60-foot without any throttle linkage. We don’t know what engine we’re going to use for Denver. If we don’t break Spike-Tail on the Dyno, then we might use it in Denver. It’s the second time we’ve had it on the dyno and it seems to go away some. We think we’ve fixed it though. We had aluminum main caps on it to keep the weight down on the car. As long as the steel caps don’t hurt the power we might continue to use them. We might run T-Rex in Denver only because it has a smaller manifold. If Spike-Tail is only five or six horsepower better, we’ll run T-Rex. We know how this car runs down the race track and it might be faster in that higher altitude. That’s why when we get to these hot weather tracks we run so well because this combination is probably a little better for that. Warren (Johnson) and I are match racing the two Dodges at Atco, New Jersey on Wednesday and then the following just Warren and I race at Englishtown. We’ll try Spike-Tail and we’ll be able to judge that engine to what Warren’s doing. Lost in round two to Larry Morgan

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) We’re going to go test and try to improve our performance for Denver. We’re still lagging a little bit in horsepower, in car setup and some other areas. We’re kind of disappointed, but we’re going to get there. We’ll keep working hard to get this Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird on track. We’ll make a move in the point standings so all in all, it wasn’t a complete bust. The starting line seemed to be worse, we would go out, spin the tires real bad and the car would go into a shake mode. Lost in round two to Jim Yates

Mike Thomas (Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird) The light was quick and Shawn (Collins) was right there on it. I thought my clutch was a little soft but I don’t want to take anything away from Shawn’s win. He beat me straight up. I’m a little disappointed because we really wanted to make a move in the point standings this weekend. We gained some ground but we could have done a lot better. We’ll be fine. These things happen from time to time and my hat goes off to Shawn. The Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird performed extremely well throughout the entire weekend and I’m already looking forward to Denver. We have no testing scheduled but we will take all of our engines to the shop to freshen them up for the second half of the season. I really want to make a run at the Winston points championship and I believe we can reach that goal. Lost in round one to Shawn Collins

FUNNY CAR

Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) We had a little bit of trouble qualifying, but on race day the Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird ran a couple of 5.11s, we were low ET of the round and you can’t really complain about that. Everything’s great with the exception of not winning the round, but everybody did the best they could, we just didn’t get through all of the plan. I’m happy with the way the car started to perform, especially towards the end of the weekend in the conditions that we had to work with. The guys made some changes last night and they seemed to have worked. Wes was just commenting that the setup for Denver will be similar to the one we used here, that’s his area of expertise, he’s doing a tremendous job and we’re just lucky to have him. Now we need to move on to Denver and see if we can’t get that third win of the season. Lost in round two to Chuck Etchells

Al Hofmann (GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird) That’s the first time I’ve had a red light since Gainesville back in 1996, but it’s still very hard not to keep from beating up on yourself. We’re still having a hard time with the clutch disks. A few teams have already abandoned this particular kind that we have, but they’ve gone back to something else they already had and we just don’t have that alternative. You have to be very easy with the motor if you want these disks to work. When you do that it’s easy to pull on the motor and smoke the tires. Out there today, the race track just let go and the car never had a chance. There were other guys getting down it and obviously some of the teams know how to do it, but we just missed it today. Now it’s on to Denver and we have three races in a row. Hopefully this GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird can win all three of them. Next week we run a match race in Eddyville, Iowa. It’s a pretty good little eighth-mile track with a lot of concrete. With the problem we’re having, it’s OK to experiment with a few things there. Lost in round one to Gary Densham

Tim Wilkerson (JCIT Pontiac Firebird) This team isn’t going to dwell on this one race. We’re disappointed of course, but it’s just a matter of the race track reaching up and biting us. We were a left lane car all weekend, and every thing that we did well we did it in the left lane. We lost lane choice by a couple of hundredths to Frank (Pedregon) and I really wasn’t concerned about it. I did OK but the car just smoked the tires. That’s part of it, and that’s racing. You can’t go up there and run a mediocre pass and expect to win. He lost the blower belt and if we would have been on our game we would’ve been by him. This is great group, no one’s down in the dumps, everybody’s chins are held high and you’ll see us go into Denver, and hopefully we’ll whip somebody else’s butt. When you continue race, some times you get the breaks and sometimes you don’t. We’ll fix our car and take it to the next event. These conditions were pretty adverse and you won’t see them again until maybe Sonoma, or Seattle or Indianapolis. We’re going to go back to the shop and get our new Pontiac Firebird body prepared, get it straightened out, get it on the car and get it ready for Denver. Lost in round two to Frank Pedregon

Del Worsham (Checker-Schucks-Kragen Pontiac Firebird) Losing is never fun, it always stinks, but it gets me a little more when you drop a round you could have, maybe should have, won. We covered him to the last 300-feet, but there haven’t been many cars that figured out how to keep the tires planted down there in that right lane. We thought we had the plan, but we missed on one tiny piece of the combination, and it cost us. I knew we needed a hole-shot, a good first 300-feet, lots of power through the middle, and enough speed to create the downforce you need down there by the finish line. We just missed one little bit, it cost us traction out there, and he went by. It was good that we came out here and ran better than we had all weekend, but we were darn close to running way better and winning. Lost in first round to Cruz Pedregon

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Mike Thomas , Jeg Coughlin , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Chuck Etchells , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson