CAnnon Eyes first career victory at NHRA Summitracing.com Nationals LAS VEGAS - Scotty Cannon is not going to predict if and when he will grab his first Funny Car victory. He is, however, certain about one thing. "I'm ready to win," Cannon...
CAnnon Eyes first career victory at NHRA Summitracing.com Nationals
LAS VEGAS - Scotty Cannon is not going to predict if and when he will grab his first Funny Car victory. He is, however, certain about one thing.
"I'm ready to win," Cannon said. "And the one good thing about this whole situation is that if I do get my first win, people won't be able to say that I didn't pay my dues. They can never say I was handed the win."
Cannon will be gunning for that first victory in his Oakley Pontiac Firebird during the third annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las Vegas, April 4-7. Kenny Bernstein, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jeg Coughlin are the defending winners in their respective professional categories for the $1.9 million race, the fourth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
In his fourth season in the Funny Car ranks, Cannon may be in the best position to win a race yet. During the offseason he joined Whit Bazemore as the driver of a second Funny Car team for Don Schumacher Racing. Cannon had previously held both the team ownership and driving duties.
So far, the transition is going smoothly for Cannon.
"I don't have any complaints," Cannon said. "We started off behind the eight ball a little bit going into Pomona. We had some problems testing, especially with the new tire. (Crew chief Mike Neff) Zippy made some changes to the chassis and tire setup and from Pomona to Phoenix, the car made some excellent changes. We had some great passes and I am really pleased."
Cannon readily admits he now has more time to concentrate on driving the car.
"By far, it is a lot easier, physically," Cannon said. "I don't have to worry about the car tuneup as much. I leave that to Zippy. Last year I started to do things that way. I managed the team from just a business standpoint. But I don't worry about those things anymore and it is easier for me to be even more focused on the car this year."
During the 2001 season, Cannon never advanced past the second round. In just the second event of 2002, the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals in Phoenix, Cannon advanced to the semifinal round. It may still be early in the season, but Cannon said he gains confidence with each pass down the quarter-mile strip.
"I think the season is going well and the more laps I make, the more confident I get," Cannon said. "I think it is going to take cars of our team's caliber to win the championship. I think Whit and I have great cars, we just can't get behind at all and if it is going to be your year, you are going to need a little luck too."
While the car and the new team have progressed well, Cannon said he doesn't worry about stumbling here or there.
"I can proudly say that my sponsors are happy," Cannon said. "Don Schumacher has been a racer and understands the ups and downs of racing. Oakley has seen their ups and downs too. So if we have a little problem, I am not going to panic. I feel confident that we have all put a good team together, we have a good owner, a good sponsor in Oakley and Matco Tools. I think Whit and I have a real good shot at beating anyone out there."