Houston Team Pennzoil Saturday Morning Report

Conditions slow Saturday's opening round HOUSTON (Oct. 31) -- Another hot day in Texas slowed the times of Saturday's first round of professional qualifying for the Second Annual Matco Tools SuperNationals. As temperatures soared into the 90s,...

Conditions slow Saturday's opening round

HOUSTON (Oct. 31) -- Another hot day in Texas slowed the times of Saturday's first round of professional qualifying for the Second Annual Matco Tools SuperNationals. As temperatures soared into the 90s, times posted on the track in all categories were slightly slower than Friday night's cooler session which took place under the lights.

The Team Pennzoil drivers managed to stay in virtually the same position they were in when the day started. Here's a brief recap of each driver's opening round pass.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, ran his sixth consecutive 4.6-second pass in Round 3 when he carded a 4.680-second lap at 307.23-mph. Hill's best run of the weekend is still the career-best 4.574-second, 313.91-mph pass he recorded Friday night. He remains in fourth place on the qualifying ladder.

"We were a little too conservative on the set-up that time," Hill said. "Our No. 1 rule this weekend was to not smoke the tires and our No. 2 rule was to always refer to Rule No. 1. Being the first pair out threw us off a little because the Pro Stockers actually fed us some slightly erroneous information on what the track was doing.

"If our worst time of the weekend is a 4.68, then we'll continue to have fun. Actually, after last night's run (4.574 seconds,) that 4.68 kind of bored me. Ho-hum, another 4.68 lap."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, ran an impressive 6.980-second lap at 198.32 mph in Saturday's first session but couldn't improve on his previously posted time. Thomas' 6.977-second lap from Round 2 on Friday night kept the Pennzoil machine in 10th place.

"The track was fast and we were slow," Thomas said. "We're off just a little bit somewhere. Overall, that was a good run. We're just going to have to search for whatever's zapping our power. There is an outside shot that we'll be able to move up to the top half of the field this afternoon. A few guys managed to move up in this round and I don't think it will be too different in Round 4. They say every round is a battle so we'll keep on fighting."

Bruce Allen, the driver of the Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, recorded his best lap of the weekend, a 7.023-second pass at 195.77 mph, but remains outside the field of 16 qualified cars in the No. 23 spot.

"The car is just not fast enough," crew chief Dave Reher said. "Something is going away that we haven't been able to quantify. It looks as though we won't get any answers until we get back to the shop and hook it up to the dyno (dynostics machine.) I doubt if we'll be able to qualify which is very disappointing. This afternoon's session will probably be the slowest of the four because it's going to continue to get hotter as the day goes on."

Allen added his thoughts. "Considering the condition the car is in right now," Allen said. "I don't think we'll go any faster than we just ran. We'll keep working and chasing every problem we can find, but it doesn't look good for us."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen