Indianapolis Pennziol Saturday Report

Pennzoil's fast cars don't agree with hot track INDIANAPOLIS -- The beautiful cloudless skies made Saturday's early qualifying session for the National Hot Rod Association's U.S. Nationals an exercise in futility as most of the 100-plus ...

Pennzoil's fast cars don't agree with hot track

INDIANAPOLIS -- The beautiful cloudless skies made Saturday's early qualifying session for the National Hot Rod Association's U.S. Nationals an exercise in futility as most of the 100-plus professional drivers in attendance failed to improve on their previously posted times. Team Pennzoil followed the session's pattern of less-than-sensational racing as each driver struggled on the hot quarter-mile track.

Here's a brief synopsis of Saturday's second round action.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, lost traction on the launching pad and was forced to release the throttle to avoid damaging his car. Although his run was well below par, Hill still posted a 9.607 pass at 80.34 mph to hold onto the final qualifying spot with three rounds of racing left to run.

"The track is way different than it was yesterday," Hill said. "Our tires were holding fine at over 5 G's (gravitational pull) last night and they completely let loose at just under 4 G's today. We measured the track and it was about 40 degrees hotter today so we made a major adjustment in the clutch and the engine to accommodate the conditions and it still wasn't enough."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, couldn't overcome the increasingly hot conditions on the track and slowed to a 7.071-second, 195.86 mph pass in Saturday's early session. His previous lap of 7.018 seconds at 195.90-mph kept him in the 16-car field of qualifiers in the No. 9 position.

"We had a ton of clutch in the car," Thomas said, emphasizing the word ton. "I could have pulled my 18-wheeler down the track. We have to work on some things and try to improve. The afternoon session today will be too hot for anything to happen time-wise so we'll make some chassis and engine adjustments and get ready for tomorrow morning. Our goal is to get back into the top half (best eight drivers) of the field."

Bruce Allen, the driver of the Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac, ran a drastically improved time of 7.064 seconds at 195.65 mph in Round 2. Despite Allen's big jump in the standings from 41st place to the No. 20 slot, he has yet to qualify for the event.

"The car ran much, much better today," Allen said. "We could have been really quick but the tires spun a little too much in low gear. Now, we're gearing up for tomorrow morning. Realistically speaking, that's our next qualifying session. The conditions today will continue to deteriorate so the 3 p.m. round is basically a test run. I'm pleased that we were able to run fairly quick. We now have proof that the car is there."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen