HOUSTON, Tex. (April 8, 1999) - Pro Stock Truck qualifying for the 12th Annual O'Reilly Nationals got under way today with two sessions at Houston Raceway Park. RJ Race Cars GMC Sonoma driver Rick Jones made his Pro Stock Truck racing debut...
HOUSTON, Tex. (April 8, 1999) - Pro Stock Truck qualifying for the 12th Annual O'Reilly Nationals got under way today with two sessions at Houston Raceway Park. RJ Race Cars GMC Sonoma driver Rick Jones made his Pro Stock Truck racing debut today after testing earlier in the week at Atlanta Dragway. In his first qualifying run, Jones of Galesburg, Ill., ran an elapsed time of 7.812 seconds at 174.89 mph. In the second session Jones Sonoma fell off to a time of 7.847 seconds at 175.16 mph. He is qualified in the 31st spot.
Dynagear GMC driver David Spitzer returns for his second race behind the wheel of a Sonoma. In the first session, the Indianapolis native struggled with clutch problems but still posted an elapsed time of 7.743 seconds at 175.02 mph. In the second qualifying session, Spitzer's Sonoma jumped to the No. 12 qualifying position with an elapsed time of 7.692 seconds at 175.84 mph.
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Rick Jones (RJ Race Cars GMC Sonoma) We had to make six test runs on Monday to get my license. It was a thrash. The best we ran was 7.83 at 174 mph, but we did what we had to do so we'll be all right. The first two passes were half track passes and we had to shut it off on the first two runs at 330 feet because those are the rules. For our first pass today, we changed the setup, changed the tires, and the clutch was probably too light. But all in all, for our first run at a national event, it wasn't too bad. We're very excited about being here. It's a lot of fun. I'm pumped up, the team's pumped up and we just need to get on the ball and get this GMC Sonoma running better. We'll give it another shot tonight but I think the 5:30 session tomorrow will be the best of the weekend.
Second Session: We have a lot of work to do. We ran a 7.84 that time, and we ran pretty good speed, but we just have to get a handle on it in low gear. It's shutting off on us and we don't know what's causing it to do that. I don't know if it's electrical or something in the fuel, but that's where all of our performance is going right now. It happened in the first round and then it was worse in the second session. Once we get a handle on that, the performance is going to go up. There's a lot left in this Sonoma.
We'll work on it tonight, come back tomorrow and I think we'll be a lot better.
David Spitzer (Dynagear GMC Sonoma) We just didn't make a good run in the first qualifying session. We didn't have enough clutch in the Sonoma for that run so it felt pretty soft. Houston is a pretty good race track, we knew that coming in, but not testing here before we were at a disadvantage from an information standpoint. We'll make the proper adjustments with the clutch and go out and take another shot at it. We didn't have any wheel speed at all and you can't expect to generate good elapsed times when you're not turning the tires. I still think we can make a good run this afternoon. If this cloud cover holds you could get some good performances later today. I know that the barometer isn't dropping so that's a good sign. You could tell that we were slow that run. It was slipping a bit in second and third gear, and it finally caught up with itself down towards the finish line, but by that time it wasn't going anywhere.
Second Session: I haven't read the sheets yet, but I'd have to say that our Sonoma was one of the quickest trucks that session - there's still something left in it. It was a pretty good run considering conditions weren't as good as this morning. A lot of guys slowed up but we improved by five hundredths of a second. I think we were soft on the clutch even during that run so I think we can improve even more. The tires are still spinning pretty good in low gear so I was surprised we ran the speed that we did especially compared to how everybody else ran. We're pretty pleased to be in the No. 12 position, but I think we can still get three to four hundredths out of it. Tomorrow night may be the key session though. If its overcast and we run as late as six or seven o'clock, I think it could be very, very fast -- I'm in the last pair so that will be nice. We're still trying to figure out the best setup on this truck. It's just a matter of figuring what gear ratio the truck wants, track conditions, how much weight on the rear end we need and balancing all of that with the clutch setup. For no more passes than we have, today was just another couple of laps to learn by, and we learned quite a bit. yy