Hammonds just misses in a Vegas 2nd round squeaker. If Tom Hammonds ever had any doubts as to the length of an NHRA drag race, then the second round of eliminations at Sunday's ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals certainly erased them. After qualifying...
Hammonds just misses in a Vegas 2nd round squeaker.
If Tom Hammonds ever had any doubts as to the length of an NHRA drag race, then the second round of eliminations at Sunday's ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals certainly erased them. After qualifying his Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier tenth, Hammonds had gained an easy victory in the first round when V. Gaines left the starting line almost two hundredths of a second early, handing the former NBA power forward the automatic win. Even so, Hammonds' solid 6.967-second, 197.65 mph run would have been enough to defeat Gaines' 6.991-second effort.
However, Hammonds knew his assignment would not be so easy in the second round, as he would be facing 2001 Pro Stock champion and No. 2 qualifier Warren Johnson, who had recorded the quickest pass of the first round.
Undaunted, Hammonds staged in the right lane as he looked to pull the upset. When the lights turned green, Hammonds leapt from the line, leaving nearly three hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent, covering the quarter-mile in 6.968 seconds with a top speed of 197.57 mph. Just as it seemed that Hammonds would advance, his rival used another 6.938-second run to just edge him at the line in what turned out to be the narrowest margin of victory in all the professional categories on Sunday.
"When we arrived at the race track this morning, I felt really good about our chances. The sun was coming out, and the temperature was forecast to go into the seventies, much like it was on Friday. We seem to have a pretty good tune-up for those conditions, and we've made some subtle changes to our Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier to help it get off the starting line. I really felt it was going to be our day.
"I'm not sure what happened to V. (Gaines) in the first round, but we were pretty happy with our run. We went back, made some adjustments to try and make it even better for the second round. Even though Warren had lane choice, we were confident heading to the lanes.
"I knew I had gotten a pretty good jump on the starting line, because I really didn't see him for most of the run. In fact, I thought I had him covered and would get the win, when it what seems like the last two feet he snuck by me.
"It still was a good weekend for this Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care team. Our car is running well, and we're heading into Pomona on a positive note. We had one chance left to win a race this year, and we certainly want to take advantage of it."