Hammonds powers to Route 66 semifinals. Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier driver Tom Hammonds continued his run of strong Route 66 Raceway performances by advancing to the semi-finals of today's Craftsman 75th Anniversary NHRA Nationals in ...
Hammonds powers to Route 66 semifinals.
Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier driver Tom Hammonds continued his run of strong Route 66 Raceway performances by advancing to the semi-finals of today's Craftsman 75th Anniversary NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill. Today's performance came on the heels of Hammonds' runner-up finish at this facility back in June.
After qualifying fourteenth, Hammonds knew he faced a difficult task in the first round, as he would face No. 3 qualifier Greg Stanfield. Despite not having lane choice, Hammonds used the second quickest pass of the opening stanza at 6.865 seconds, with a top speed of 200.23 mph to score the upset and easily advance to the second round.
This scene virtually repeated itself when Hammonds faced Brad Jeter in the quarterfinals. Running once again in the right lane, Hammonds made the second quickest pass of the factory hot rods at 6.873 seconds, increasing his top speed to 200.62 mph to advance to the semi-finals for the third time in the 2002 NHRA POWERade season.
Standing between Hammonds and his second consecutive Route 66 Raceway final round was Ron Krisher, whose KRJ engine shop ironically supplies the powerplants to the Hammonds Racing team. Although Hammonds made another strong run, covering the quarter-mile in 6.893 seconds with a top speed of 200.29 mph, it was not enough to over come his opponent's quicker 6.886-second, 200.17 mph pass.
Despite the initial disappointment, Hammonds knew that this has been a productive weekend for his Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care crew, and that today's performance bodes well for this season's final three races.
"Overall, this was a great weekend. We came out, qualified and went some rounds today, much like we did in the earlier part of the season. For some reason, we seem to be able to adapt really well to the conditions here in Chicago. I think it all starts with having a good basic set-up, which obviously we have for Route 66 Raceway.
"I was pretty pleased with our performance today. Our Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier was strong in the first two rounds, which helped to offset any questions on the lanes.
"However, in our last run against Ron (Krisher), we tried to put a little more clutch in it, which it obviously didn't like. That gave us a little more tire spin than we'd like, and caused us to have a little handling problem, which slowed us down enough to let Ron get by. Although I am never happy to lose, if I have to, I'd rather it be Ron than anyone else.
"I'm most happy about today's performance for my sponsors and crew, who have stayed with me through this tough period. Hopefully, this is the start of a strong finish that we can all enjoy.
"Although I'm really looking forward to having next weekend off and spending some time with my family, I know the whole team can't wait to get to Dallas. We had some good luck there a year ago, advancing to the first final round of my career. We'll look back at what we did back then, plug that same set up back in, and hopefully we'll be fast again."