David Baca's weekend cut short CLERMONT, Ind. (September 7, 2003) -- As final eliminations got underway today for the 49th annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, David Baca, driver of the Hunter's Hope/American Racing/Waterloo Top Fuel ...
David Baca's weekend cut short
CLERMONT, Ind. (September 7, 2003) -- As final eliminations got underway today for the 49th annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, David Baca, driver of the Hunter's Hope/American Racing/Waterloo Top Fuel dragster, led the quickest Top Fuel field to the starting line.
From the track record 4.499 second pass of Top Fuel's No. 1 qualifier Baca to the 4.683 of No. 16 Mitch King, Indianapolis Raceway Park has yielded record performance throughout qualifying.
Continuing to run a special-edition Hunter's Hope Foundation dragster, which calls awareness to the Foundation former Buffalo Bills quarterback and NFL Hall of Fame inductee Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill, established to seek a cure for Krabbe Disease and named for their son, Hunter, who is afflicted with the disease, Baca took on King in today's opening round of eliminations.
Baca was out first on King., whose problems didn't end there. King broke the big Goodyears loose before the 330-foot cone and went up in tire smoke. Baca headed straight down the track in 4.567 seconds and took the win light, advancing to round two with lane choice over Darrell Russell.
After the burnout, Russell had trouble backing up to the starting line, but, with the assistance of his crew, was able to get back as Baca patiently waited. At the green, Baca gained a hundredth of a second advantage but then ran into trouble near half-track when he hazed the tire. With Baca slowing, Russell headed to the win light and cut Baca's day two rounds short of his goal -- an Indy win.
"It was a great run for the Hunter's Hope/American Racing/Waterloo Tool Storage car this weekend and last," said Baca, "but we came up short. The loss today was disappointing, but I feel we had teams and fans taking notice of us here at Indy and as a result of our outing here we certainly did more for the Hunter's Hope Foundation than I imagined we could when we arrived last week. For that, I'm most proud and thankful.
"We're just a round out of fifth in points and as I've said all year long a top five finish in the POWERade Top Fuel point standings is our goal. We have a great leader in (crew chief) Johnny West and a great group of guys that prepare this dragster week in and week out, and, as always, we thank our sponsors for all they do for us. We'll pack it up and move on to the next track and we'll do it all again in a week.
"If the weather is good in Reading, I see things being equal to or better than they were here in Indy. I'm suggesting E.T.'s will be both quick and fast if the air is right.
"One last thought before leaving Indy. Please contact Hunter's Hope Foundation at their website (http://www.huntershope.org/) and continue to help us find a cure for Krabbe Disease. Thank you to each and everyone of you for your support."
Tony Schumacher took the 2003 Indy Top Fuel title, his third win at Indy. Baca now has 823 points good for 6th in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings. He is 9 points behind Cory McClenathan in fifth and 159 behind Tony Schumacher in fourth.
Now it on the Maple Grove Raceway Park, just outside Reading, Penn., for the 19th annual NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals, which will be contested next weekend, September 11-14.