David Baca takes No.1, his first CLERMONT, Ind. (September 6, 2003) -- Running career-best and track record elapsed times (E.T.) twice during qualifying, David Baca, from Brentwood, Calif., captures the first No. 1 qualifying position of ...
David Baca takes No.1, his first
CLERMONT, Ind. (September 6, 2003) -- Running career-best and track record elapsed times (E.T.) twice during qualifying, David Baca, from Brentwood, Calif., captures the first No. 1 qualifying position of his short professional career at the 49th annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the most prestigious event on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
With only two of five qualifying sessions completed, the event, originally schedule for last weekend (August 29-September 1), was postponed due to inclement weather and rescheduled for Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7. The rookie driver made the best of the second of those two qualifying sessions last weekend, when he ran a career-best, Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) track record E.T. of 4.504 seconds.
When qualifying resumed yesterday (Sept. 5), Baca continued his torrid pace when he, again, established another career-best E.T. and lowered the IRP track record to 4.499 seconds to continue his hold on the top spot with two qualifying chances left on Saturday.
Although slightly slowed in Saturday's first qualifying session by the tire-smoking ballet of most of the 6000-plus horsepower Top Fuel machines attempting to make the show for this year's "Big Go," and continuing to test the track in the final qualifying session, Baca was able to withstand each and every cannon fired at his Hunter's Hope/American Racing/Waterloo nitro dragster and ended qualifying on the top perch with his first career No. 1.
"Boy, this is special," said Baca, shortly after qualifying ended. "Rookie at Indy, first time on the pole as a driver, Hunter's Hope on the car, we'll cherish this one for a long time, but that will come at a later time. Now we must turn our attention to tomorrow's eliminations.
"I'm okay with our results from today. We used the two sessions today to see how far we could push the envelope. The first session we were able to only get out about 330-feet, but almost doubled that in the final try. Now (crew chief) Johnny (West) knows what the track will hold tomorrow. I personally think it will give Johnny more confidence as a tuner based on what we found out today.
"We're not going to take anyone too lightly. Tomorrow is a war -- 16 cars, a 4.68 second bump -- what can I say -- it's a war. Take no one lightly or you're going to have your head handed to you and the only thing for you will be to head to the next race. We're ready to go into battle."
First battle will be Mitch King, from Galveston, Texas. King qualified No. 16 with a pass of 4.683 seconds at 312.64 mph. The pair have never met prior to tomorrow's match up.
The Hunter's Hope Foundation Henkelman and Baca Motorsports unveiled a special-edition dragster for this event featuring the Hunter's Hope Foundation last weekend. Hunter's Hope Foundation was founded by former Buffalo Bills quarterback and NFL Hall of Fame inductee 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. For additional information please contact the Hunter's Hope Foundation (http://www.huntershope.org/).
"It has been a blessing to be associated with the Hunter's Hope Foundation this weekend. I feel they have been a special part of a special weekend. I want to thank Jim Kelly for taking time out of an already too busy schedule and time away from his family to be with us last weekend. Our work with the Foundation only began this weekend but, you know what, it will never end," said Baca.
"I wish I had the time to personally thank each and everyone of you who gave a donation either last weekend or this weekend, I appreciate each and everyone of you. If you didn't have an opportunity to donate, please contact the Hunter's Hope website. With your help, we may one day find a cure for Krabbe Disease."