Phoenix Eddie Hill Starts Fast

Fast start for Hill and company PHOENIX (Feb. 26) -- The 15th Annual Checker Schucks Kragen Nationals presented by Pennzoil began with a solid effort from Pennzoil's stable of drivers as all three pros in attendance managed to successfully ...

Fast start for Hill and company

PHOENIX (Feb. 26) -- The 15th Annual Checker Schucks Kragen Nationals presented by Pennzoil began with a solid effort from Pennzoil's stable of drivers as all three pros in attendance managed to successfully qualify their cars. Top Fuel legend Eddie Hill led the charge by grabbing the No. 2 spot in his class while teammates Mike Thomas and Bruce Allen both found a position on the Pro Stock ladder.

Here's a quick recap of Team Pennzoil's opening session.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, was one of a small handful of drivers that managed to finish their first pass under power. Hill posted a 4.639-second lap at 304.53 mph to finish the session just behind world champion Gary Scelzi (4.632 seconds.)

"It actually surprises me how slow that run felt," Hill said. "I guess those 4.5 second passes we had in Pomona got me used to going quicker. I noticed that a lot of guys weren't able to get down the track so I really feel good about that run. It's such a comfort to run that quick on your first lap. It allows you to tinker a little and really fine tune the car and search for those extra thousandths of a second that could win you the race."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, found the middle of the pack during his first-round pass of 7.014 seconds at 196.59 mph. The time placed Thomas in the ninth position of the 33-car field.

"We made a lot of mistakes in the set-up," Thomas said. "We might be in the middle of the field but to me this was not a good run at all. I guarantee you we'll go faster before we're through. We've got several adjustments to make and we're going to get to work and fix everything that needs to be fixed. At least we have a run in the books which gives us some information to work with."

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, was the last of the 16 drivers who have temporarily qualified for the elimination rounds. Allen ran a 7.045-second lap at 195.22 mph in Round 1.

"Despite lot's of spinning and shaking, we were able to fight through it and complete the run, which has me very encouraged," crew chief Dave Reher said. "The old car wouldn't have made it through that much shake. I think we had too much clutch and we might adjust the gear ratio and rear end a little. We should get better by this afternoon."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Gary Scelzi , Bruce Allen