Geoffrion waiting for new Pro Stock car

Geoffrion, teammates await delivery of their new Pro Stock Ford Escort ZX2 SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., January 17, 2003 - After sitting out all of the 2001 NHRA season and the first half of last year, one might think Scott Geoffrion is getting quite...

Geoffrion, teammates await delivery of their new Pro Stock Ford Escort ZX2

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., January 17, 2003 - After sitting out all of the 2001 NHRA season and the first half of last year, one might think Scott Geoffrion is getting quite adept at living vicariously through his Pro Stock competitors.

Well, one thinking that would be quite wrong.

Even though Geoffrion finds himself anxiously awaiting telephone calls from Bradenton, Fla. - where the first test session is underway - the veteran driver is content with the fact he will be among them when the K&N Filters Winternationals, Feb. 6-9 at Pomona, Calif., ushers in the 2003 POWERade championship series.

While other drivers are able to put precious laps on their new racecars, Geoffrion and the crew on his Hurley Blakeney-backed, new Ford Escort ZX2 wait, albeit impatiently, for the car to be completed by builder Don Ness in Minneapolis.

"Waiting is the tough part," Geoffrion commented, "especially with the impressive times and speeds already being run at Bradenton - 6.71 seconds at 205 mph is among the best. We are putting all of our efforts into getting our new car done and having the engine ready to race. Right now we are on a very tight schedule. The car should be ready for the Winternationals, but we probably won't have time to do any extended testing with it. Our realistic goal is to meet the car in Las Vegas on its way out from Minnesota and make a few test laps to make sure it goes straight."

Geoffrion, Blakeney and Bob Panella, the team's engine builder, realized creating a Pro Stock Escort ZX2 would be a time-consuming project. It is the only one of its kind.

"It does take a long time to build the first new body style because the mold for the body has to be made," added the San Clemente, Calif.-based Geoffrion. "The teams from General Motors and DaimlerChrysler are factory-backed and get funding for building the Chevrolet Cavaliers, Pontiac Grand Ams and Dodge Neons. It takes longer for an independent team like ours, but we believe it's going to be a good racecar. It should be a hit with drag racing's Ford fans, too."

When the Blakeney team made its debut last year, Geoffrion was at the wheel of a Ford Mustang, but the larger body style was at a distinct aerodynamic disadvantage. Geoffrion qualified once, at the Las Vegas event in October, with a best of 6.957 seconds at 197.39 mph.

"We felt we were improving and looked forward to the Auto Club Finals at Pomona, but we never had a chance because it rained and the field was set on point standings," said Geoffrion. "The Mustang was two-hundredths of a second slower than the other cars on the last half of the racetrack. That's way too much to give up when you're racing in Pro Stock.

"The Escort ZX2 should be much better," he concluded. "We hope to prove it at Pomona iin February."

If the new car is as competitive as Geoffrion and his teammates believe, the wait with have been worth it.

-JlSherk

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Hurley Blakeney