Indianapolis Pontiac Friday Report

PONTIAC RACING NOTES & QUOTES 44TH ANNUAL U.S. NATIONALS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1998 INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) I guess that qualifying first and second sends everyone a message that we're serious...


Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) I guess that qualifying first and second sends everyone a message that we're serious about making it seven straight wins here. The car rolled the lights at the starting line and that probably cost us two or three hundredths. I had plenty of brake pressure when I staged, but the car moved forward as soon as I brought up the rpm. It didn't move enough to red light, but it definitely produced a slower e.t. The starting line is surprisingly good. I made a pretty aggressive burnout, and the starting line was just fine. If they keep treating the starting line like they did tonight, the race track will be even better when we run at 11:00 o'clock tomorrow -- as long as the humidity doesn't get too high. No. 1 qualifier -- 6.977ET/197.62MPH

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) We're real happy with our first shot tonight. We came out with a conservative combination on the Splitfire Pontiac Firebird and the better the track got, the more conservative it looked up there. The track got really good and we were a little light on clutch, but I think we'll be able to tune it up tomorrow. I don't know if we're going to be able to run a better e.t. than that, but we're going to try and come up with a combination that runs good tomorrow and Sunday. That will be the conditions we're racing in on Monday. It's going to be a lot slicker than it was tonight. What this does is get us comfortably in the field. Now we can start working on a tune up that will run fast on Monday.

That will be the key to winning the race.  Being able to get down the
track when it gets slippery.  No. 3 qualifier -- 6.990Et/196.03MPH

Bruce Allen (Outlaw Pontiac Firebird) The tires really shook hard in first gear and continued shaking in second. It was pushing me all over the place. I had to turn it off. We really don't know why this happened. Everything appears to be in good shape. Thankfully, we still have four more runs chances to correct the problem and make the field. I think we'll be all right.

Mike Thomas (Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird) We should have run a lap of 6.98 seconds just now. We just didn't get a real good transfer of weight right off the starting line and the Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird didn't quite plant the tires on the track all the way. But we're pleased. That's a good run to build on. I think we can go faster in the morning sessions, which is exactly what happened to us last year. I'm really optimistic about improving our spot on the ladder. Last week during testing, all of the fast times were run in the morning. I tell you what, there's going to be some real good racing taking place this weekend. No. 8 qualifier -- 7.018ET/195.90MPH

George Marnell (Tenneco Pontiac Firebird) The way we've been running lately, we decided to pick the pace up a little bit. We did a little testing, got the chassis straightened out on the car and it's working a whole lot better. I'm very optimistic about doing a little bit better this weekend. I think if we start fine tuning on the run we made tonight, this Tenneco Pontiac Firebird will be right in the hunt on Monday. No. 9 qualifier -- 7.025ET/194.88MPH


Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) We thought the conditions were good tonight but when the car does that, there's really not too much to learn except that we had too much of something. You always want to be aggressive during the night sessions. You don't want to go up there weak because this is really your opportunity to try and shine. We're going to get this Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird right and be ready for the Big Bud Shootout on Sunday. The first session will be interesting tomorrow. I don't think the track will be as tough as it was tonight. There weren't a lot of good runs tonight and because of the extensive testing that went on last week, you may see some 4.90s in the morning. Anymore though, we just try and race the track. The strategy right now is to get it down the track because with the way this car runs, it can turn a five-flat without blinking. No. 20 qualifier

Randy Anderson (Parts America Pontiac Firebird) We're very happy with the way the Parts America Firebird ran but we don't think it's good enough to stay No.2. The car did exactly what Jim (Dunn) wanted it to do. It was a nice smooth run, it will hold us in the show and now we have four runs we can play with to get ready for Monday. That's a luxury we haven't had this year. A lot of times we've qualified on the last shot or the second to last attempt. This is a nice way to start and hopefully we can start picking it up a little bit at a time. No. 2 qualifier -- 5.061ET/295.95MPH

Al Hofmann (GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird) It seems like it was a little slick out there tonight. There were a lot of Pro Stock cars and Pro Stock trucks, and it created a couple of bald spots . Our Pontiac Firebird will smoke the tires, but it generally won't do it inside a half a second. To be honest with you, we were up there loaded for bear -- to see what we could do. This was our best shot at the track tonight and we may have been too greedy. We had the motor tuned way up there. It was pretty stout. It tried to grab the track but it just wouldn't do it. We have four runs left and two tomorrow. Our goal is to see if we can't get a good bearing on this car so we can take Force out in the Big Bud on Sunday.. No. 17 qualifier -- 15.155ET/64.13MPH

Tim Wilkerson (JCIT Pontiac Firebird) We had a fuel leak on the JCIT Pontiac Firebird and it only ran to four seconds. We probably shouldn't have run it, but what the heck, this is Indy. I think we made an OK decision and we're coming back tomorrow to give another shot. It went up there, laid over and I shut it off. A 5.12 is not going to get bumped out of the show. Now we can go out there, be aggressive and see if we can't get that No. 1 spot. The track really wasn't what we thought it was going to be. We really weakened it up a little bit, but it still had more steam than it needed. It ruined the clutch there, but we're OK. No. 5 qualifier -- 5.122ET/243.96MPH

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Tim Wilkerson , George Marnell