Madison: Mark Whisnant preview

Whisnant takes aim at St. Louis. MADISON, Ill. -- Mark Whisnant, driver of the RW Performance Pro Stock Chevrolet Cavalier, arrives at this weekends 5th Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals in Madison, Ill., reminding himself that slow and ...

Whisnant takes aim at St. Louis.

MADISON, Ill. -- Mark Whisnant, driver of the RW Performance Pro Stock Chevrolet Cavalier, arrives at this weekends 5th Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals in Madison, Ill., reminding himself that slow and steady wins the race.

Although a contradiction in terms in drag racing, Whisnant and his RW Performance team, take their motto seriously.

The rookie Pro Stock driver started the 2002 POWERade Drag Racing season in Gainesville with a bang. Whisnant drove his Cavalier all the way to the semi-finals in his first Pro Stock appearance.

At the next three races, the RW Performance encountered mechanical problems, which caused them to not qualify. It also caused them to rethink and resign their racing program.

Since May, Whisnant has qualified at every race. Staring slowly in the bottom half of the field, methodically finding his way to the top half.

Just as methodically, he has worked his way through the eliminations ladder, advancing to the final round in Topeka and the semi-finals in Columbus.

"We have a rhythm going," said Whisnant. "We have developed a pace, which we try to stay at throughout qualifying and on race day. It is a slow, steady, and consistent pace. It is not flashy, but it gets the job done and that is what is important.

"We always keep in mind that in this class all you have to do is qualify to win. So, our first priority is qualifying. We always try to put up a good number in the first session, a number that could possibly make the race. Then we concentrate on improving that number in every session. Once we are solidly in the show, we work on race set-up.

"On race day our plan is to concentrate on one round at a time. Since I have never raced against most of these guys, we concentrate on racing the track, and wait to see what our opponent will do.

"This isn't brain surgery. Every Pro Stock team racing here in St. Louis this weekend has basically the same plan.

"I think the key to our recent success is that we try not to get too excited. We stay focused on what we have to deal with right now. You will always have unexpected problems, the key is to not let it rattle you. As a team will address the problem, fix it, and keep moving forward. What we have been doing is not flashy, but it works.

"Like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. And isn't that what it's all about in drag racing, winning the race? "

Qualifying at the 5th Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals will begin on Friday June 28th and continue on Saturday June 29th. Eliminations will take place on Sunday June 30th at 11:00 AM CST.

Whisnant Quick Facts

Currently 15th in NHRA Pro Stock Points (383 points)

5th in King Demon Points (475 points)

1 Final Round Appearance in 2002 (Topeka)

2 Semi-Final Round Appearances in 2002 (Gainesville, Columbus)

6th Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals

-mwr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Whisnant