FINAL QUALIFYING PRO STOCK: KJ THIRD; HAMMONDS DNQs KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, and his dad Warren turned identical 6.986 second elapsed times in qualifying. Kurt took the No. 3 spot on the tiebreaker with a faster speed of 197.39 mph;...
PRO STOCK: KJ THIRD; HAMMONDS DNQs
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, and his dad Warren turned identical 6.986 second elapsed times in qualifying. Kurt took the No. 3 spot on the tiebreaker with a faster speed of 197.39 mph; Warren was clocked at 197.13 mph on his qualifying run and will start from the No. 4 spot. Ironically, both drivers recorded identical 197.57 mph top speeds on other runs during qualifying.
The Johnsons are on opposite sides of the elimination ladder, and would not meet until the final round if both advance that far. Kurt will face No. 14 qualifier Brad Jeter in the first round; the two have never raced before in national event competition.
KURT: "I think we could gain two hundredths if I could get through second gear without shaking the tires," Kurt commented. "Qualifying this late at night doesn't really give us good information for the conditions we'll race in tomorrow - and it makes for a long day. I was concerned about the engine, so we installed new valve springs and that seemed to cure the problem. I think we'll have to go back to the basic combination we ran in the middle of the year. We tried something new tonight - it looks good on the computer screen, but we've got to stay away from tire shake. We're able to run 7-flat consistently, but I don't want to be too close to the edge."
TOM HAMMONDS, WINNEBAGO/GM PERFORMANCE PARTS CAMARO Z28, did not qualify, although his last two runs showed potential. Tom ended up No. 23 with a 7.051/194.77 lap in the final qualifying session.
HAMMONDS: "I think the last two runs were pretty good, especially the last run tonight. Unfortunately, we were the second pair out (the temperature was still high). We made about as perfect a run as we could make. We changed a number of things before the last qualifying session to see if we could get that extra bit out of the Winnebago/GM Performance Parts Camaro, but it just didn't work. If you don't qualify at any races throughout the whole year and you qualify for this one you can say you had a successful year. We have a lot of work to do as a team. We will have a brand-new Jerry Bickel-built race car next year. Considering the way my other competitors are running with this type of chassis I really like our chances for next year. We only have two races remaining before (NBA) training camp begins, but overall I can just sum up this year as a learning process not only for myself, but for my new team."
Only one other Camaro qualified in the Pro Stock field: RICKIE SMITH, BUCKS COUNTY KAWASAKI CAMARO Z28, claimed the No. 11 position with a 7.010/195.79.
PRO STOCK TRUCK: MIKE COUGHLIN, IN A CHEVY S-10, GRABS HIS FIRST NO. 1 QUALIFYING SPOT
Defending U.S. Nationals champion MIKE COUGHLIN, JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10, claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position today, with a track record-setting 7.605-second lap at 176.49 mph. DON SMITH, also in an S-10, qualified No. 2, his best showing of the season (7.614/176.37). RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, is No. 3 (7.515 and a track record-setting 176.88 mph).
COUGHLIN: "My first No. 1; pretty neat. I have never been on the pole before. I've been second and third, but never first. It's especially great to do it here in Indy; hopefully we can defend our title." WHAT EDGE DO YOU HAVE AT THIS TRACK? "I think it's a combination of Richard Maskin's engine program for the Chevy S-10 and my dad's (Jeg Sr.) ability to keep them going straight and getting good 60-foot numbers. This is one of my favorite race tracks; maybe it's just a mental thing." HOW DID YOU QUALIFY LAST YEAR? "In 13th spot. When I won my first race in Englishtown I was in 13th spot; I don't know what that means. Hopefully I can start a new trend and win from my first pole and be the first repeat winner here in Pro Stock Truck. I race Lou Ficco and John (Mike's brother who qualified seventh) races Steven Farr in first round. It will be a good one."
BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, qualified in the bottom of the field for the first time this season. He's ninth, 7.637/176.19. Bob was named to CAR CRAFT Magazine's All-Star Drag Racing Team Saturday evening for the second straight year as Pro Stock Truck Driver of the Year. The Dynamic Duo of Panella and Daniels seems to have some strong competition at this event.
Note: JERRY HAAS, owner of STEVEN FARR'S JERRY HAAS RACE CARS CHEVY S-10, and famed chassis builder of the majority of the Pro Stock Trucks, was named to CAR CRAFT'S All-Star Drag Racing Team as Chassic Builder of the Year for the 13th time in 15 years, and for the second consecutive year.
PANELLA: "I think we're closer now than we were. I was pretty discouraged this morning. We thought we made a pretty decent run, but we were still in the middle of the pack. Tonight we were fourth fastest. We have something to work with now. Maybe we had some problems and now maybe they're gone. There's no doubt that some guys have caught Randy (Daniels) and me. We have to work a little harder to get our edge back." ON BEING NAMED TO CAR CRAFT'S ALL-STAR DRAG RACING TEAM: "I was very surprised. I was surprised because last year I got phone calls weeks in advance asking if I was going to be at the banquet; this year nothing. Someone came up to me yesterday and asked if I would be there. What probably saved me was that the votes were taken from July 1999 to June of 2000. If it were strictly 2000 I may be in the points lead but drivingwise I faltered a little bit here and there. It's an honor, especially to have all those fans voting for you. It feels good to win. I thought Randy Daniels would win. He's done a hell of a job this year."