Vandergriff just misses quickest Top Fuel field at Indy CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 4, 2006) - Bob Vandergriff Jr. was hoping that the 52nd annual Mac Tools US Nationals would be the turning point in his return to competing on the NHRA POWERade drag...
Vandergriff just misses quickest Top Fuel field at Indy
CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 4, 2006) - Bob Vandergriff Jr. was hoping that the 52nd annual Mac Tools US Nationals would be the turning point in his return to competing on the NHRA POWERade drag racing circuit. Unfortunately, that wasn't the way things turned out for the Alpharetta, Ga. based driver of the UPS Top Fueler. Vandergriff is still tuning his car and crew in this startup season in the cockpit representing UPS.
Vandergriff started the weekend by uncharacteristically kicking a rod out on his first attempt at the O'Reilly Raceway Park asphalt, resulting in a 4.759/253.56 posting.
Saturday began with a tire-smoking 9.483 second run. The Jim Dupuy-led crew got the car back and found the issues they were searching for. They sent the UPS digger back for the evening session and laid down a good clean 4.684 second blast at 310.77. They were still sitting on the outside looking in, but had a good vision of the direction they needed to head in. Sunday provided a little more challenge to Vandergriff's cause as the temperature and humidity were on the rise. As Vandergriff powered his way down the racecourse, he dropped a cylinder resulting in a 4.800 second, 292.90 mph run that still didn't put him into the show. The Dupuy brothers put their heads together for the fifth and final session, only to fall just short of the quickest Top Fuel field in NHRA history, posting a 4.599 second lap, relegating them to the 18th position.
"We are obviously disappointed in not qualifying for Indy," shared Vandergriff. "It hurts, but we chose to head in a new direction a couple of races ago. We have seen some improvement and it's taking a little while to see the big change. The one thing that we have accomplished is that the car is more responsive and more consistent early in the run. We simply need to make more runs to develop more of the direction that we are headed. It hurts but we will rebound. We are definitely underachieving for the talent level that we have here. I hope that we get it sooner than later, but when we do, it will be worth the wait."
Vandergriff will head to the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove, Pa. for the next race on September 14-17.