Houston: Pontiac Racing Friday notes

BAYTOWN, Tex. (October 27, 2000)- Qualifying for the 4th annual Matco Tools SuperNationals got underway today at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. In Pro Stock, Ron Krisher drove his Eagle One Pontiac to the No. 1 qualifying spot with an...

BAYTOWN, Tex. (October 27, 2000)- Qualifying for the 4th annual Matco Tools SuperNationals got underway today at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. In Pro Stock, Ron Krisher drove his Eagle One Pontiac to the No. 1 qualifying spot with an elapsed time of 6.905 seconds at 198.17 mph. Richie Stevens and the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird came in a close second with an elapsed time of 6.909 seconds at 197.71 mph. Kurt Johnson is third in a Camaro, Mark Pawuk and the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird qualified fourth and Warren Johnson is fifth. Tom Martino is qualified sixth and Jim Yates is seventh. Bruce Allen is 21st, Jamie Yates is 31st and Brad Jeter is 33rd.

In Funny Car, Jim Epler took the No. 1 spot with an elapsed time of 4.917 seconds at 264.86 mph. Bruce Sarver and the e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird qualified second, Tony Pedregon is third, Ron Capps is fourth, and John Force is fifth. Al Hofmann and the Mooneyes/Red Line Oil Pontiac Firebird is seventh, Tim Wilkerson is 12th, Dale Creasy Jr., is 13th, Del Worsham is 14th, and Frank Pedregon is 16th. Jerry Toliver and the WWF Pontiac Firebird is 17th, Tommy Johnson Jr. is 20th, and Gary Densham is 23rd.

In Top Fuel, Mike Dunn made his first run of the season in the New York Yankees Pontiac Dragster and he came out like he owned the place. He not only took the No. 1 qualifying spot, but set career-best numbers and ran the quickest elapsed time of the season l field with lap of 4.530 seconds at 322.34 mph. Cory McClenathan ran his career-best elapsed time of 4.540 seconds at 321.35 mph to put him in the No. 2 spot with the MBNA/Pontiac Dragster. Don Lampus is third, Gary Scelzi is fourth and David Grubnic is fifth.

The 4th annual Matco Tools SuperNationals is the 22nd on the 23-event NHRA Winston championship tour. Television coverage of final elimination's can be seen on Sunday October 29, starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.

PRO STOCK

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) -"The car hasn't been going straight down the race track for the past few races. We didn't know really what the problem was. We were having some tire problems and Memphis was a just a hard racetrack to get down. We're really happy with this run. We really needed it. I knew that we were going to do it, but I'm not sure if I will stay in this spot. I think tomorrow morning will be really good. I think we'll see some fast numbers in the morning, so I'm not ready to cash that check yet. But I am happy with this Eagle One Pontiac Firebird and I'm looking forward to tomorrow." No. 1 qualifier - 6.905ET/198.17mph

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - We're really happy with the car. It's running really good. I think we even left some on the table for tomorrow. We probably should've run a 6.93 but we are happy with the 6.95. Having back the two-car team just means more work, but we are trying not to let it get to us. We have to stay on top of our game and it won't get us down. But it helps having the information from that car too. I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend. It's good to be racing again after the rainout last weekend." No. 7 qualifier - 6.953ET/198.15mph

Jamie Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "Well it's good to be back racing that's for sure. I didn't realize how much I had missed it until I got back in the car. I've been learning a lot working on my dad's car and watching that program get better. Hopefully we can get my program running again and be ready for a great schedule next year. The last run was okay. The car shook a little bit down the track but we've got two more tries at it tomorrow. I'm going to go out tomorrow focused and have some fun."

Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) - "We made a great run in the Century 21 Firebird tonight. The only thing holding us back from doing even better is that we're a tick off on our engine tune-up, resuliting in our being slightly off on our down-track power. We'll make a few changes to the manifold and the carburetor and see what it does. I hope a .95 will keep us in, but I'm not going to bet on it - we're going to do what we can to improve our standing tomorrow." No. 6 qualifier - 6.950ET/197.16mph

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "We made a really nice run. Obviously third is a great place to be after the first session. That's one of the best first sessions we've had in a long time. We're encouraged and maybe we can get this Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird to run a little faster. This is a great start for this team this weekend." No. 4 qualifier - 6.928ET/ 197.94mph

Richie Stevens Jr. (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - "Awesome!! The car felt great all the way down the track. During the first run it shook a lot down the track but that second run was near perfect. We borrowed this motor from Tom Hammonds and it's worked out great for us. My crew has been working hard on this Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird and it just feels great. It feels good to be in the top half of the field. This is a home track for me and I have a lot of friends and family here so it feels good to do well for them. I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend." No. 2 qualifier - 6.909ET/197.71mph

FUNNY CAR

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "We guessed wrong and it was weak. It more shook the tires off than blew them off. You've got a race track at sea level, which we all factor in, but you've also got about 85% humidity, so those two things are working against each other. Add in the variable of the track, which is never quite the same race to race, and it's a tough call on the first lap here. If you get it right, you'll usually put up a good number. We missed slightly and it didn't work. We'll work on it for tonight. This ought to be a pretty stout session coming up."

After second session: I know, nobody wants to hear 'shoulda, coulda, woulda' but it was haulin. It was on a 4.89 or a 4.90 pass, no sweat. It didn't hurt a part, and the blower belt was still on it. But we're putting so much stress on these blowers now, that's the second time we've sheared the rear studs that hold the blower on. There is a bigger stud out there, and you can rest assured both of our cars will have the biggest, strongest studs available from now on. It was just cruising along, straight and easy, when the thing just quit. When the stud shears you lose all the boost and its over. That's the sort of stuff that drives you nuts." No. 14 qualifier - 5.335ET/189.58mph

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "We were weak too, just like Del. The air was just not what we were looking for and we never got the motor going quite enough, and never got the tires really up and going. It just wasn't happy with the combination from the hit and it smoked them. We weren't overly aggressive, it wasn't a case of blowing them off with too much power. We need to actually tune it up a bit for tonight, plus if it cools off out here the track and the conditions will tune the car up some for us."

After second session: "At night when our car does that I have a really hard time seeing anything. It will rattle hard leaving and when it clears up I know we're on a big pass, but until it clears up I can't see much. It smoothed out a little, and when I could really see again I was right on the center line the first time, so I kept my foot in it and steered it back over but, it made another hard move over to the line and I just felt I had to lift. I didn't want to, but I didn't' want to cross the line and it was moving over there hard. If we make that same run tomorrow I'll be able to leg it all the way because it the day I've got a much better view. We'll run it the 4's tomorrow, period. No. 16 qualifier - 5.651ET/175.84mph

Bruce Sarver (e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird) - "Well we were hoping to get that top spot but we're happy with how the car is running this weekend. Second is good on a Friday night. Now tomorrow we can play and test some things out. Hopefully we can get on top in the morning session tomorrow. This e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird is running up to it's ability and we're hoping for a good weekend." No. 2 qualifier - 4.945ET/308.85mph

Al Hofmann (Mooneyes/Red Line Oil Pontiac Firebird) - "That was a good run for us. We're real happy with that starting out. We haven't run very well in awhile and really needed that. Jim (Dunn) has made a lot of changes in the car and it looks like right now that they were the right ones. The car didn't hurt it self and went down the track clean and dry. This is a great way to start the weekend." No. 7 qualifier - 5.059ET/295.98mph

TOP FUEL

Cory McClenathan (MBNA Pontiac Dragster) - "That was a great run for us. The car felt really good all the way down the track. This team has been working really hard and I am very pleased with how things are going. Hopefully we can maybe even get this MBNA Pontiac Dragster to go a little faster and get on top. But, that was a good first session for us."

After second session:  Now that was great.  That was my career best and it 
felt great.  WOW!!  I am so happy for this team, MBNA and Pontiac.  I owe it 
all to them.  The car just felt great all day.  But how about that Yankees 
team.  They looked great!" No. 3 qualifier - 4.540ET/321.35mph

Mike Dunn (New York Yankees/Pontiac Dragster) - "We've tested a lot and we've run some really good numbers. We knew it had potential to run a low 4.50. We knew we had the power. This is still our spring training. It's easier to go out and run a 4.53 than go out there and run 4.50s consistency like Gary Scelzi and Tony Schumacher. We're still going to have to work on that. I am really happy with my team. They are doing great. You know some of these guys have 150 runs and we came out after about 30 and it felt great. I feel very comfortable in the car. I'm a little slow on the light and probably need to work on that but I've been concentrating on my driving right now. I'm a little rusty but if it keeps running 4.53's like that then I will take it." No. 1 qualifier - 4.530ET/322.34mph

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Mike Dunn , Richie Stevens Jr. , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Jamie Yates , Kurt Johnson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Ron Krisher , Dale Creasy Jr. , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Tom Hammonds , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Don Lampus , Jerry Toliver , Tommy Johnson Jr.