Houston Pontiac Racing Saturday Notes

BAYTOWN, Tex. (October 30, 1999) - The field is set for tomorrow's running of the Third annual Matco Tools SuperNationals at Houston Raceway Park. In Pro Stock, Bruce Allen took the No. 1 qualifying position in the Outlaw Fuel Additives Pontiac...

BAYTOWN, Tex. (October 30, 1999) - The field is set for tomorrow's running of the Third annual Matco Tools SuperNationals at Houston Raceway Park. In Pro Stock, Bruce Allen took the No. 1 qualifying position in the Outlaw Fuel Additives Pontiac Firebird with an elapsed time of 6.839 seconds at 199.64 mph. Don Beverley was second in a Firebird, Warren Johnson is qualified third in the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Firebird, Mike Edwards is fourth in a Camaro, Kurt Johnson is fifth in a Camaro, Tom Martino is sixth in the Century 21 Firebird, and Mark Pawuk is seventh in the Summit Racing Firebird. Jim Yates is qualified ninth, Richie Stevens is 10th, Mike Thomas is 16th, Steve Schmidt was 17th and George Marnell was 27th.

In Funny Car, Tommy Johnson Jr., is the highest qualified Firebird in the No. 3 position. The Interstate Batteries Pontiac had an elapsed time of 4.935 seconds at 314.46 mph. John Force was the No. 1 qualifier in a Mustang with an elapsed time of 4.811 seconds at 321.12 mph. Whit Bazemore is qualified second in a Camaro, Scotty Cannon is fourth in a Camaro and Jerry Toliver is fifth in a Corvetter. Frank Pedregon and the Red Line Oil Firebird is qualified seventh, Gary Densham is ninth, Al Hofmann is 11th, Dale Creasy Jr., is 13th and Del Worsham is 14th.

In Top Fuel, MBNA/Pontiac driver Cory McClenathan is qualified seventh with an elapsed time of 4.604 seconds at 323.27 mph. The No. 1 qualifier is Mike Dunn with an elapsed time of 4.561 seconds at 319.60 mph. Bob Vandergriff is qualified second, Larry Dixon is third, Gary Scelzi is fourth and Eddie Hill is fifth.

ESPN2 will televise two hours of first-round coverage beginning at 12:00 p.m., on Sunday, October 31. One hour of final-round coverage will be televised beginning at 8 p.m.


Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) "We went back to kind of a normal setup for this afternoon. We wanted to get qualified well, but we didn't expect it to get as cold as it did tonight. We basically got too aggressive and shook the tires on tonight's pass. But we're qualified, and Kurt's on the opposite side of the field, so everything's working out just fine. Tomorrow it's going to be in the high 60s here, kind of reminiscent of our third qualifying pass when we were the strongest car out there. As long as the driver does his job and everyone on the team does their part, we'll be just fine." No. 3 qualifier - 6.886ET/200.95MPH

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) "We were really looking forward to getting that run in tonight. The track was excellent and we've been sneaking up on the combination with this Splitfire Pontiac Firebird. We thought that with one more shot we'd be able to move up to maybe No. 3 or 4 qualifier. There are a lot of fast cars out there, but there's no reason why we shouldn't have been able to run a 6.86 or at least a 6.87. Because we didn't get to run tonight we lost lane choice, and that can be critical out here. The lanes are somewhat different especially with the fuel cars running before us tomorrow, that we're not sure what it's going to throw us. We're kind of throwing ourselves at the mercy of the Top Fuel and Funny Car guys because if they mess up the lanes then it's going to be difficult. The field is so tight right now that you hate to give up any advantage you may lose when you do lose lane choice. Yesterday we struggled because we couldn't get the car to go straight. The only difference between last night's run and today's run; we were exactly the same to 330 feet, but last night the car was so out of shape that it wouldn't go to the finish line. It was bouncing around spinning the tire, and today it shook the tire and still went a 6.90. At the time I thought that was a pretty good run. Hopefully, we now have the car settled down. We have to get this car to go straight down the middle. This track is so touchy at around half-track that there's not much traction from the 330 to 1000 feet. If you're not in the center of the groove you're going to have your hands full. It's guard rail to guard rail." No. 9 qualifier - 6.909ET/198.76

Bruce Allen (Outlaw Fuel Additives Pontiac Firebird) "Our first pass was a real good run, especially after yesterday evening when we spun and shook like we did. We were a little edgy today because we didn't know for certain what the weather was going to give us and how the track was going to be. But we made some pretty good calls , everybody sat down to try and figure out what we needed to do, and we came pretty close to hitting it head on. While we were sitting up there in the rain, I was concerned that we might not have another shot at it. A rain delay can work for and against you, but it can also get to where you don't even get another run. That's not a good position to be in but now that's past us. It seems like when you're running good and things are getting better, everything seems to go well. When you're running badly, if something can go wrong it usually does. We've been on both sides of that fence of course and in this case we appear to be headed in the right direction. It's been a team effort - everyone has been working together trying to get this Outlaw Fuel Additives Firebird back on track and the effort is starting to show. Last night we couldn't figure out what happened. We had expected to make a pretty good pass and that wasn't the case. I knew today it was a good run but I didn't know how good. Alan Rhinehart and the guys are down there and when they come around with a microphone it's usually pretty good or really bad. This time it was all good."

Second Session: "That's low e.t. of our career so far, but someone could go up there and still run a 6.75. But at the time it was a good run. The Outlaw Fuel Additives Firebird left real well, it went down the middle of the track and was awesome. You can only do the best you can do and that's what we were able to accomplish tonight. We ran a 6.89 this afternoon and it was actually a better run. If we could have done that tonight, it would have been quicker than the 6.83. We missed it a little bit tonight because the conditions are better than they thought they were going to be, and I'm sure that's what happened to some people in front of us. The air was good enough to run faster than that. The quickest we had run before that was a 6.86, we run a 6.83 and I couldn't be happier. " No. 1 qualifier - 6.839ET(track record)/199.64MPH

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) "I thought our time was going to be better tonight, but being the first car down the track, we just missed it. We've been struggling trying to get the right tune up in the Summit Racing Firebird. We were soft both last night, and this morning and we just got too aggressive tonight. Maybe the humidity in the air, and the track cooling off maybe just bit us, but I think most of it had to do with us being the first car on the track. We're racing tomorrow and anything can happen. It's pretty stout out there. There are some pretty fast cars with some guys who have made some tremendous gains. It's nice to see some other guys step up. You have to commend the Reher-Morrison team. They've worked really hard and Bruce (Allen) made an awesome run. That's nice to see. We've got a fast car for tomorrow. We just need to work on our tune up, make a fast run and we'll be fine. It's a new day, anything can happen, and if we get an opportunity to race we'll be competitive." No. 7 qualifier - 6.900ET/198.55MPH

Richie Stevens (Valspar Pontiac Firebird) "That was the cleanest run I've made in a long time. The Valspar Firebird never shook or never spun the tires the whole way down the track. It was straight as an arrow. I could have had the steering wheel in my lap it was that smooth. We needed that because the way the weather was we didn't know what to expect in Round 4. Mr. Beverly picked up a lot of valuable info that round and I think it's great for him and (daughter) Carrie to be having so much fun. The entire Valspar crew is really happy right now. Any time you get in the field it's a good thing. Getting both cars in is huge. When the field is as quick as this one is (with the last qualifier at 6.925 seconds) it's says a lot about how strong these Valspar Firebirds are running." No. 10 qualifier - 6.912ET/198.20MPH

Mike Thomas (Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird) "If we had run in Round 4 I'd have the national record (6.822 seconds). That's how confident I am in this Pennzoil Firebird. We fixed our problems in Round 3 and the conditions were perfect just now to run the best lap of all time. We're still very happy to be in the field and we'll do everything we can to go some rounds tomorrow. I need to make up some points in these last two races and move into the top 10. That would help make up for a year when a lot of things have gone wrong for us. Bruce has been running great lately. But I'm still going to do everything I can to knock him off. That was damn near a perfect run for the first half of the track Then it just started spinning the tires. I couldn't find any traction to speak of all the way through fourth and fifth gear. If you compare us with Jeg (Coughlin) who was in the next lane, we lost four or five hundredths on him from half-track to the other end. That's how much we were spinning on the back end. We also found the faulty wire that was causing the motor to miss. It turned out to be the shift light so we replaced it and everything seemed fine that run." No. 16 qualifier - 6.925ET/198.00MPH


Tommy Johnson Jr. (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) "The weather conditions are going to be completely different today than they will be tomorrow, and they aren't conducive to setting low e.t. this afternoon, so it would just be a waste of money and time. We know how to get this Interstate Batteries Firebird down the race track, and whatever comes tomorrow we'll know how to adjust to it. We'll give the guys a good rest tonight and they'll be ready tomorrow. They've been working hard since we've been going some rounds, and we're a little shy on parts with these back- to-back races. There are a lot of reasons why we shouldn't make the run and very few reasons why we should. It's a smart choice and we'll go full bore tomorrow. When we need to go down the race track we can. We'll see if we can't make it five in a row on Sunday." No. 3 qualifier - 4.935ET/314.46MPH

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) "First of all, the positive side is that compared to our DNQ last week, this is a great weekend. And, well… that's about it. For some reason we're dropping cylinders right now, and it's slowing us down and moving me around like crazy on the track. We dropped a hole on the first pass today, and that caused the car to shoot for the center line, and when it got out of the groove it smoked the tires fast. This time we dropped #7 out there, and it moved me over hard toward the wall. I pulled back from that, and the car almost overreacted to the center line. It was a handful. This deal is a real battle, I can tell you that. We're working on so many variations to the combination of the Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird right now, trying to find the key to running consistent 4's out here. It can make it frustrating going through this. We made four test laps in Dallas after the race last weekend, then four qualifying laps here, and I guess the best thing to say is that we've been able to get down the track enough here to make the field. That's a step in the right direction, and I'm not being sarcastic. We really needed to qualify, without that we would have been staring out the bottom of the Top 10. Capps was breathing down our necks, Tommy Johnson is coming fast, the whole Top 10 is a dogfight. We've got Tommy Johnson in Round 1, one of the quickest cars on the planet, so I guess we better get our heads around these eight cylinders tonight and find a way to keep all eight of them lit the whole way."

Dale Creasy Jr. (Mad Magazine Pontiac Firebird) "The Mad Magazine Firebird left good. We changed the motor like we had planned and we took some primary weight off. It went right down the track. It went through a shutter at about 150 feet but the car drove right through it. At half track on I could feel it start to spin, but I knew I had to get it to the lights. I looked down going across the finish line and saw fire. That wasn't good. It was already hurt when I drove it through the lights, and I'd like to say that I knew it, but I didn't know it until I was on fire. We have another motor to put in and we'll be ready for the next round."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Mike Thomas , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Del Worsham , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Tommy Johnson , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , George Marnell , Steve Schmidt , Jerry Toliver , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.