Indianapolis: Pontiac-GMC Racing Friday notes

CLERMONT, Ind. (September 1, 2000) - Qualifying for the 46th annual U.S. Nationals got underway today at Indianapolis Raceway Park. In Pro Stock, Kurt Johnson in a Camaro is the No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 6.986 seconds at...

CLERMONT, Ind. (September 1, 2000) - Qualifying for the 46th annual U.S. Nationals got underway today at Indianapolis Raceway Park. In Pro Stock, Kurt Johnson in a Camaro is the No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 6.986 seconds at 197.39mph. Mark Pawuk and the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird is qualified second, Ron Krisher is third in the Eagle One Pontiac Firebird, Warren Johnson and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird is fourth, and Darrell Alderman is fifth in an Avenger.. Tom Martino is qualified ninth, Bruce Allen is 13th, Richie Stevens is 15th, and Jim Yates is 32nd.

In Funny Car, Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird qualified No. 1 with an elapsed time of 4.963 seconds at 301.27 mph. John Force is qualified second in a Mustang, Frank Pedregon's Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird is third, Cory Lee is fourth, and Tony Pedregon is fifth. Bruce Sarver is qualified seventh, Tim Wilkerson is eighth, Gary Densham is ninth, Cruz Pedregon is 12th, Al Hofmann is 13th, Del Worsham is 17th and Jerry Toliver is 18th.

In Top Fuel, Cory McClenathan's MBNA/Pontiac dragster is qualified No. 1 with an elapsed time of 4.655 seconds at 317.57 mph. Bob Vandergriff is qualified second, Tony Schumacher is third, Larry Dixon is fourth and Joe Amato is fifth.

Television coverage of the Big Bud Shootout for Funny Cars can be seen on TNN on Sunday, September 3, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern. First-round coverage of final eliminations can be seen on Monday, September 4, beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern. Final-round coverage can be seen beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern.

PRO STOCK

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "The car felt like it was on a pretty good grove. We've been having problems with the car going left since Brainerd and we came here last week and tested and it went left every run. We made some major changes to it and the car was going straight but obviously tonight with the track the way it was the car just went off to the right and I didn't get a handle on it quick enough. I let it get out of the grove and was out there in third gear shaking the tires, got sideways and had to shut if off. It looked like it was on a pretty good run, I think we were pretty close on the clutch up to that point. We're just going to hope the weather holds up and come back in the morning and get a good run in with the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird."

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "Well that's a good way to start off the weekend with the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird! It didn't really feel like it was going that fast. It felt really soft to me, and I almost shut it off because it felt like it was slipping the clutch but obviously it wasn't. We made a pretty nice run, there may be a little room for improvement but it's a great way to start this weekend off because you never know what will happen at this place or what the weather might do. I'm pleased with tonight. This is the same place we were last year. It takes a lot of pressure off getting in that good of a run in tonight's session. I think the track conditions were pretty similar to last week when we were here testing. The air is about a thousand feet worse so we have to tune to that. Hats off to the engine shop guys and the crew. We think we might've found a little bit of power and we made a nice round and when you put all that together you come out with a good ET!" No. 2 qualifier - 6.986ET/195.96mph

Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) - "We had too much clutch for the conditions. We probably didn't have enough gear either. But it was a run and it's a start. Hopefully that's not the best session of the weekend. I am sure we can run better than that and pick up a few spots with the Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird. I am disappointed that we didn't run better but I'm optimistic that we can run better. So all in all it was ok. We're looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of the weekend." No. 13 qualifier - 7.055ET/194.16mph

Richie Stevens (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) -"In drag racing you have to go straight down the track. I let the clutch out that time and the car went so far left I thought I was going to hit the Christmas Tree. Somehow, it stayed hooked to the track even though I was way out of the groove and I was able to bring it back to the center without and problems. We still ran a pretty decent lap but when you don't take the shortest route to the finish it cuts into your time.

"The launching pad here is really good and the car bit into it a little more than usual. I carried the front wheels up pretty high and that's probably why I went left. What's nice is we still ran the second best 60-foot time of the day and we're still in the field even though we didn't have a perfect run. That tells me we have a lot of power to work with. If I can get this car pointed straight we'll definitely pick up tomorrow or Sunday." No. 15 qualifier - 7.060ET/194.13mph

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "Oh my goodness! We had a header fire at the end of the track. As soon as I pushed the clutch in it caught on fire. There is something wrong. It was a fresh motor too and that doesn't help us any. I am not sure if it hurt the motor but we sure do have a mess to deal with. I don't know what that was about. The header started doing some weird stuff at the end of the track. We finished third fastest but we have a mess now and I am not sure what that fire is all about. I'm very disappointed but I know we will get it figured out and be ready for tomorrow." No. 3 qualifier - 7.001ET/195.85 mph

FUNNY CAR

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "Everything is starting to gel. Your patience always wants it to start sooner but you could see it starting to happen at Brainerd when the car started to run a little better. I told Andy (Neering) not to touch it, just to leave it alone. We came here, made a few changes for the weather and went out and ran the car again. Actually the run could have been even better. I was having trouble at the starting line holding the car because the brakes weren't doing the job. We lost at least a hundredth on the starting line so we were looking at possibly a 4.94 or 4.95. We're pretty excited and a little surprised at the same time. I was hoping for a five-oh to just get in the show solid. We weren't worried about setting low e.t., just get the thing qualified and get this Pontiac Firebird in the show. I like this night time qualifying at Indy. Last year we went out and were No. 1 and this year we came back and did it again. Night time at Indy has been pretty good to me. No. 1 qualifier - 4.963ET/301.27 mph

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "It was haulin', those were some pretty stout incremental numbers for us out to 330, and we smoked the tires just short of there. But it was tricky right from that point to midtrack. A couple of teams guessed right, we didn't. Our blue car was set up on the other end of the spectrum, it went out there pretty soft and ran a super clean 5.01. We went out aggressive, a little softer than the 4.93's we were running in Brainerd, but trying to run more like a 4.95. It wasn't the right set-up for this track. And a look at the numbers shows you that some pretty fast cars had the same problem. Us, Toliver, Skuza, Capps, Epler, Hofmann, its a pretty long list of fast cars that struggled."

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "Before the run, I was wondering if we had the right set-up in it. It was a beautiful pass, right down the middle and clean as could be, but when I heard 5.01 I thought maybe we hadn't gotten after it enough. Then we watched all these fast cars smoke the tires out there, and I figured out we're smarter than I gave us credit for. Great tuning call by Dave Fletcher!"

TOP FUEL

Cory McClenathan (MBNA/Pontiac) - "This is an important race to win and we try to do as good a we can. This means a lot actually to be able to come out in what we feel is going to be the coolest session and be able to run a good number. There are some teams that could better that tomorrow in the heat and we'll try and do the same, but it might be a little tough to try and match 4.65. I'd rather come out and run some consistent numbers tomorrow and think about a good raceday setup which will be in the heat of the day. Tomorrow won't be anything like it was tonight. The conditions and the track temperature were really good. We tried to take advantage of it and I think testing last week really helped us out there."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Ron Krisher , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Cory Lee , Jerry Toliver , Bob Vandergriff , Tommy Johnson Jr.