David Baca No. 1... Again CLERMONT, Ind. (September 5, 2003) -- After three of five qualifying sessions were postponed for nearly one week, qualifying resumed this evening for the 49th annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. David Baca, driver...
David Baca No. 1... Again
CLERMONT, Ind. (September 5, 2003) -- After three of five qualifying sessions were postponed for nearly one week, qualifying resumed this evening for the 49th annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. David Baca, driver of the Hunter's Hope/American Racing/Waterloo Top Fuel dragster, recaptured the No. 1 position on the qualifying ladder with two qualifying sessions remaining tomorrow.
As qualifying resumed tonight, Baca held the top spot as the result of a track-record 4.504 second pass he made in the second of two qualifying sessions that were run last weekend. Baca, from Brentwood, Calif., briefly lost the top spot to Scott Kalitta early in tonight's Top Fuel qualifying, but his career-best elapsed time of 4.499 seconds not only regained the No. 1 position, it once again set the Indianapolis Raceway Park track E.T. record.
"It's just unbelievable," said Baca. "I made a driver's error, a mental mistake, at the starting line, but the Hunter's Hope angels were right there with me and it didn't cost us. I kind of revved it up and then let it off. Fortunately, I kept my cool. At the light, I hit it and away it went, straight as an arrow. I kicked myself all the way down the track, but a 49 (4.499 seconds) was the saving grace."
Henkelman and Baca Motorsports unveiled a special edition dragster for this event featuring the Hunter's Hope Foundation last weekend. Former Buffalo Bills quarterback and NFL Hall of Fame inductee Jim Kelly was on hand last Saturday to watch Baca's first record run,
Hunter's Hope Foundation was founded by Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill. The foundation was established to raise awareness and dollars to fight and find a cure for Krabbe Disease. Krabbe is a disease which afflicts the Kelly's six-year-old son, Hunter, and other young children of parents throughout our world
The angels of which Baca spoke relates back to last weekend when Baca was talking with some of the Hunter's Hope Foundation families who had lost children to Krabbe Disease and they relayed to him that it would be a special weekend for him and the team because he had angels riding with him. Those angels are still there.
Reflecting on his performance thus far this weekend, Baca, whose father won this event in 1977, added, "Wow! A 4.499 second pass and a number one at the U.S. Nationals and to do this in our first year is unbelievable. To wait all day and then have it end this way makes it all okay. I just wish Jim Kelly could have come back this week.
"I have to say thanks to Johnny West (crew chief) and Rick Henkelman (partner) for their tune up and to all the team for making this a special time for this driver. Bottom line is that corporate America needs to come and get us, funding is all that we're missing."