Houston Mike Thomas Charges Up Ladder

Pennzoil's Thomas charges up ladder HOUSTON (April 9) -- A record-setting Friday night at one of the National Hot Rod Association's fastest tracks proved to be a nice ending to a day that saw all three Pennzoil-sponsored drivers successfully ...

Pennzoil's Thomas charges up ladder

HOUSTON (April 9) -- A record-setting Friday night at one of the National Hot Rod Association's fastest tracks proved to be a nice ending to a day that saw all three Pennzoil-sponsored drivers successfully qualify their cars. With two rounds of qualifying in the books and two rounds remaining, Eddie Hill, Mike Thomas and Bruce Allen all managed to temporarily place their machines in the field of the 12th Annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park.

The following recap encapsulates the action in the Pennzoil pits through two rounds.

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, made the biggest move of the day in Round 2 when he jumped from 34th to fifth place in the standings by blazing down the strip in 6.965 seconds at 198.26 mph.

"Finally, we made a good run," Thomas said. "And what's encouraging is that when I analyzed this run on the computer I can see several places where we can go even faster. At least now we have a good run that we can tune from and I believe we can only get better. The track is in fantastic shape, which sure has helped all of us."

Eddie Hill, the driver of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, overpowered the track in Round 2 and failed to improve on his opening pass of 4.651 seconds at 316.38 mph. Meanwhile, many of Hill's Top Fuel peers managed to improve on their Round 1 times, pushing him down to the 12th position on the qualifying ladder.

"We were trying to do what (Larry) Dixon did (run a 4.486-second lap) but we just overdid it," Hill said. "It would have been perfect for us.

It has been exactly 11 years to the day when we were the first car to ever run in the four-second range (a 4.990-second lap on April 9, 1988 in Ennis, Texas.) We used every performance-enhancing adjustment we could think of tonight but the car just didn't want to hear about it."

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, ran a slightly improved lap of 6.992 seconds at 197.42 mph in Round 2. Despite the better time, Allen yielded six spots on the qualifying ladder, slipping from eighth to 14th place.

"We shook the tires going into second gear and that slowed us down a little," Allen said. "Otherwise we would have been down around 6.96 or 6.97 that round. We were a little over-aggressive with the set-up and the track went away from us. We'll be installing our race motor for tomorrow morning and I fully expect to go faster then. The first round in the morning should be the best one of the weekend for the Pro Stockers."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen