Memphis: Scott Geoffrion preview

More horsepower excites Geoffrion, Nitro Fish Team going into Mid-South Nationals MEMPHIS, Sept. 16, 2003 - Challenging for NHRA Pro Stock victories, to say nothing of simply qualifying for each POWERade Series event, is a daunting task. For...

More horsepower excites Geoffrion, Nitro Fish Team going into Mid-South Nationals

MEMPHIS, Sept. 16, 2003 - Challenging for NHRA Pro Stock victories, to say nothing of simply qualifying for each POWERade Series event, is a daunting task.

For verification, just check with Scott Geoffrion. He's driven Hurley Blakeney's Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 into the title round at two events this season, finishing second both times, while currently holding down eighth place in points (680).

With six events remaining this year - including the rain-delayed Lucas Oil Nationals at Reading, Pa. - Geoffrion sees time fleeing as he pursues two of the goals he wants to accomplish in 2003, winning a race and finishing among in the top five.

His next outing, the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Friday through Sunday at Memphis Motorsports Park, should give him a boost in the right direction. Geoffrion is 97 points behind Ron Krisher, who currently resides in fifth place. And the Nitro Fish team's confidence has been bolstered by the latest - and most powerful - Ford engine to come from builder Bob Panella's Stockton, Calif., shop.

"Bobby has done a great job finding more horsepower all year and I feel with this latest motor that we are back where we need to be," said Geoffrion. "That should put us back among the qualifying leaders."

Like every other professional racecar at last weekend's rained-out Pennsylvania race, Geoffrion only got one run in, but he came away very impressed by the new motor. "It was probably the most horrible run we've made on this car (and that goes back 15 races) and it still ran 202 mph," Geoffrion added. He was 13th with a time of 6.848 seconds.

The San Clemente, Calif., driver considers Memphis Motorsports Park one of his favorite tracks. It was the site of his first NHRA victory in 1993. He finished second there in 1992, 1994 and 2000. During that 2000 event, Geoffrion set the Pro Stock national elapsed time record at 6.809 seconds and added his career-best speed, 201.43 mph.

Those were his personal bests until he climbed into the ZX2 for the first time at Gainesville, Fla., in March and qualified at 6.798 seconds, 202.70 mph. His bests have improved to 6.728 seconds and 204.82 mph.

"We've struggled lately," admitted Geoffrion, driving the only Ford in the top 10, "but I've been around Pro Stock long enough to know that just about every team will struggle once in a while."

Geoffrion entered last year's Memphis race but didn't qualify the team's bigger, bulkier Ford Mustang. He drove the Mustang in the first two events this season, qualifying at the second race, before switching to the ZX2.

The Nitro Fish team will have four qualifying attempts - 3 and 6 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday - to get ready for Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Ron Krisher , Scott Geoffrion