Houston Team Pennzoil's Race Day Report

Team Pennzoil's race day ends early HOUSTON (Nov. 1) -- A promising day of elimination drag racing at the Matco Tools SuperNationals ended prematurely for Team Pennzoil after a pair of first-round dismissals early Sunday at Houston Raceway Park.

Team Pennzoil's race day ends early

HOUSTON (Nov. 1) -- A promising day of elimination drag racing at the Matco Tools SuperNationals ended prematurely for Team Pennzoil after a pair of first-round dismissals early Sunday at Houston Raceway Park. Top Fuel pilot Eddie Hill and Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas both were beaten in the opening session, immediately ending any thoughts of a victory dance in their sponsor's backyard.

Here's the latest news and notes from Pennzoil's pit row.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, squandered a career-best qualifying session when he lost in the first round to Bob Vandergriff. Hill's Friday night pass of 4.574 seconds at 313.91 mph reset both his personal-best elapsed time and top speed marks and had the 62-year-old driver dreaming of a win. But Sunday morning saw Vandergriff send the affable Texan home early after he recorded a 4.652-second pass at 317.68 mph to Hill's 4.698-second lap at 307.58 mph.

"We dropped a cylinder just past the 60-foot mark and had to finish the run on seven," Hill said. "That's about all she'll do on seven. She was sure looking good until then. The 60-foot time was right on target for about a 4.59 or 4.6 lap. We haven't dropped a cylinder during a run in a long time. It sure isn't the way I wanted to finish this weekend. I wanted to win. Being at the home of Pennzoil and at Matco's premier event and factoring in how well the car was working in qualifying makes this a tremendously disappointing day."

Hill has carded nine elimination round wins this year and is currently 11th in the Winston points standings.

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, ran a 7.011-second lap at 197.62 mph and still lost in the opening round to Tom Martino, who ran a 6.999-second pass at 197.80 mph.

"We were the fastest car in the right lane and we still got drilled," Thomas said. "No one won in that lane which tells me that we didn't have a chance no matter how well we ran. The car was strong. I just should have done a better job in qualifying and then I would have had lane choice. We're doing all we can to win. We've just hit some bad luck.'

Thomas has one national event win and 13 individual elimination-round wins in 1998.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Tom Martino