PRO STOCK ROOKIE CARLSON MISSES THE FIELD IN ST. LOUIS MADISON, Ill. (June 24, 2006) - Pro Stock rookie Shaun Carlson was hoping to be racing against his peers this Sunday in the O'Reilly Midwest NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway,...
PRO STOCK ROOKIE CARLSON MISSES THE FIELD IN ST. LOUIS
MADISON, Ill. (June 24, 2006) - Pro Stock rookie Shaun Carlson was hoping to be racing against his peers this Sunday in the O'Reilly Midwest NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, but a broken spark plug may have cost him that chance in the final qualifying session. None of his three earlier passes were quick enough to place him in the field, so the rare parts breakage at that time was unfortunate.
Carlson, who drives the Team Mopar/SRT Dodge Stratus for Don Schumacher Racing, thought his 6.779-second pass at 202.06 mph in that final session was going to be stronger, but noticed a loss of power at the top end of the quarter-mile. "It felt nice, the front end didn't carry too much and it went straight off the launch. I was actually getting excited in the car thinking, This is it, this is it. But, I put it in high gear and it seemed like the car labored a little bit," said the Southern California native. "I was pulling off the track and the officials were motioning towards me to turn the engine over, so at that point I thought I might be on fire with the headers. Sure enough, the left-side headers were on fire pretty good.
"That obviously threw up a red flag with something with the engine. When we got back to the pit we found the No. 3 spark plug was missing all of the porcelain. That explains our low speed, and it probably cost us a chance of getting in," he said.
Carlson's best pass of the weekend came Friday night, when he ran a 6.777-second elapsed-time at 203.52 mph. His two other passes resulted in a 6.812/203.82 on Friday, and a 6.816/203.37 in Saturday's first session.
Crew chief and engine builder David Nickens is eager to get the engine back to his shop in Conroe, Texas, for a closer look. "No. 3 is one of the cylinders that is real bad about leaking water," he said. "If it's getting water in there, then it will cause that to happen. It's just something that we'll have to look at. We have an engine in Texas that just got done that is supposed to be a little better, so we'll get it to Denver for the test and go from there."
The entire Don Schumacher Racing Pro Stock team is heading straight to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., for testing next week. "It's going to be awesome to get a lot of runs in at the track. Obviously the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals are a big deal for us, so going there early to test will give us a grasp for what we need to do for the race," Carlson offered.
Following a two-weekend break, Carlson will next compete at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway (Denver), July 14-16.