Oswald grabs No. 2 with personal best effort in Joliet JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2008) - With only 24 hours notice that he would be driving in the Torco Race Fuels NHRA Route 66 Nationals, former Funny Car world champion Mark Oswald stepped back...
Oswald grabs No. 2 with personal best effort in Joliet
JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2008) - With only 24 hours notice that he would be driving in the Torco Race Fuels NHRA Route 66 Nationals, former Funny Car world champion Mark Oswald stepped back into the driver's seat and through the course of qualifying blasted his way in the A&R Transport Dodge Charger R/T to the No. 2 spot - just behind his teammate Melanie Troxel.
Until Thursday evening, Mark Oswald was planning to assume his usual duties as co-crew chief on Troxel's nitro Funny Car, but his plans were changed with one phone call from team co-owner Mike Ashley. Oswald has been out of competition since 1997, but his return netted a personal quickest and fastest run of 4.757-seconds at 328.46 m.p.h. in the final qualifying session of the day.
"I didn't have a lot of time to get prepared for this race - I got the call from Mike at like midnight Thursday night letting me know that I'd be driving, but this car is so good that it made the move back behind the wheel easy for me," Oswald said.
"This was a great day for the entire Gotham City Racing team. My teammate Melanie Troxel is number one qualifier and one of our sponsors, A&R Transport, is based right here in Joliet, so we've really been able to put on quite a show for them, too," he said.
As one of the many tuners on Team Gotham, Oswald is quick to give praise to his teammates for the successes of the day.
"Aaron Brooks and Rod Centorbi have done just a fantastic job for a car that hasn't even been at all the races. I know the last two events they've been one of the toughest cars to beat," Oswald said.
Crew chief Aaron Brooks cited Oswald's skill both on the track and tuning as one of the reasons for the team's success.
"Oswald is doing a killer job driving - especially given the fact he hasn't driven in a while. He's made some test runs here and there, but to get in this thing and run some big numbers was really impressive, and he did it like he'd never missed a beat," Brooks said.
"I think it's a real advantage having one of our tuners actually driving one of the cars, because he knows exactly what the car is doing at any given point and can relate that to me so we can work together to make the car respond.
"Hopefully tomorrow, it will all come together and we'll all meet up in the finals," he said.
Oswald added, "I feel really confident heading into race day tomorrow because one of the shining spots on this car is that it goes down the track in the heat of the day, just like Melanie's car ran today - the 4.81 she ran in the heat of the day - that was the most impressive run of the weekend if you ask me. Since both cars are virtually set up the same, we really have a great attack plan for tomorrow."
Oswald will face Jack Beckman in the first round of eliminations, scheduled to begin Sunday at 11:00 a.m. CDT.