Phoenix Friday Pontiac Notes

PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 15th ANNUAL CHECKER SCHUCK'S KRAGEN NATIONALS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1999 PHOENIX, ARIZONA PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) "Tonight we just overpowered the track by trying something...



Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) "Tonight we just overpowered the track by trying something different and obviously it didn't work. We were on the edge on the first run and we pushed it just a little too far on the second run. The track became a little too warm for the way we had our car set up and we obviously paid the price. Given the conditions that we were given during the first session, that was about as good as this Firebird will run. I don't think there was much left in it. Maybe a hundredth of a second at best. We came out in the second session to push it and see what would happen. We'll come back with a different set up tomorrow and see what it will do. It's going to be a little warmer and the conditions are only going to get worse as the weekend goes along. Everybody will be searching for a race setup during the last two qualifying sessions. I don't think there's a driver or a team out there who is comfortable with what they have given the impending track conditions."

Are you satisfied that templates for the cars are now standardized?

"We have no idea whether or not that template is going to be used at the next race. That's something that can change with the wind so we'll just have to roll with the punches on that stuff and see what happens. I'm very fortunate that it fits my car. There are a lot of cars that it doesn't fit. They deem it perfectly acceptable to go ahead and let them run. I come to these events to race. If I have to rework a car at the race, that doesn't bother me at all. I don't care what it looks as long as it gets the job done. So I'm not concerned if they come up with a little different template here or there. I'll beat it in to shape if I have to." No. 1 qualifier - 6.935ET(track record)/199.11MPH(track record)

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) "This is our first weekend running the new DRCE headed engine and it has a lot different power curve than what our normal engine has. It has plenty of power and a lot of potential, we're just trying to find the right tune up for it. Quite honestly we've been struggling with it. During the first run we were too heavy on clutch. The second run we took a little clutch out of it but not nearly enough -- the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird still spun and shook real hard. We're just going to keep working on it because we're committed to this engine program and to what it can do for this race team. I think the long term dividends are going to be very rewarding. We just have to stay with it and see how far we can take it. Everybody is going to pick up tomorrow morning. It will be the fastest session because the track is going to come around a little bit. We'll need to improve on that 7-flat if we expect to stay in the field. I think we can do that. We'll take what we learned today, put a little in it and step up from there -- try and get the clutch right, maybe tune the timing and the bleeds in the motor. Our focus now is to find the right combination to run in this kind of air so that we can be successful this weekend." No. 7 qualifier - 7.007ET/196.87MPH

Bruce Allen (Outlaw Pontiac Firebird) "We need to duplicate the run we made in the second session tomorrow morning. We were still a little bit loose tonight and we'll just need to make the right adjustments. This is a different car and it takes a little more tweaking to get an idea of what we need to do to keep up with the race track. That's always the risk of running a different car because all of your background information doesn't necessarily do the things that you expect. But by the same token, you can't continue in the same direction if you're not running well and you need to make the change. In this case, we decided to run this car here and we're having to figure some things out. We've tested this Outlaw Firebird before, we've just never ran it at a national event. We tested last week and made some pretty good runs, this weekend we just haven't done that yet. I'm pretty confident though that we're getting to where we need to be. No. 18 qualifier - 7.045ET/195.22MPH

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) "We just have to get this Summit Racing Firebird out of low gear. We have way too much wheel speed in low gear and it's going into a violent tire shake in the gear change because it's just not working the clutch in first gear. It's real disappointing because at Pomona we were starting to run a lot of speed. We struggled earlier this week testing in Tucson. We wanted to improve things and now we have to find out what this car likes out here."

Mike Thomas (Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird) "We're still tuning this Pennzoil Firebird. But overall that was a pretty good run. We picked up a little in the second session, which was really good because most of the other cars were four or five hundredths slower due to the heat. Still we had a bit too much clutch and e also might have detected a small vacuum leak. By morning, the Pennzoil crew will have this car ready to rock." No. 9 qualifier - 7.012ET/197.25MPH

Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) "This car makes Christine look like a dream. If Christine went straight down the track, she would really fly. This car just isn't getting it. We put the motor in someone else's car to make sure it would make a good pass, and it did. We then put it back in our car and it can't make a good run. We've made some more adjustments to get this Century 21Firebird back on track. We were ninth in the second session and I don't know how. If we can be at least ninth in the morning, we might be able to sneak into the No. 12 spot. That's what we're shooting for." No. 21 qualifier -7.054ET/196.10MPH

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino