Phoenix: Larry Nance final qualifying notes

Nance very bullish on Gainesville Chandler, Ariz. - - Larry Nance, from Akron, Ohio, driver of the Marine Corps Pro Stock Cutlass qualified 31st at the 18th annual NHRA Checker, Schuck's, Kragen Nationals, the second of 23 national events on...

Nance very bullish on Gainesville

Chandler, Ariz. - - Larry Nance, from Akron, Ohio, driver of the Marine Corps Pro Stock Cutlass qualified 31st at the 18th annual NHRA Checker, Schuck's, Kragen Nationals, the second of 23 national events on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

In Friday's first session, Nance fought clutch slippage on his Marine Corps Olds but was able to record an elapsed time of 7.015 seconds at 197.08 mph. Friday's second session, run on a hot sun-drenched Firebird track, the former NBA all-star battled tire shake, wisely shutting the 2350 lbs. car off before something more serious happened. After two sessions he resided in the 30th spot on the qualifying grid.

Both runs on Saturday showed improvement over Friday. In Saturday's first session, the Marine Corps Cutlass recorded a 7-flat pass. But Nance saved the best for last. Although the run was not enough for the former Phoenix Sun to make the field, his pass of 6.984 seconds at 198.85 mph gave Nance hope for the next event.

"It was good to see all my friends," said Nance, "but I didn't run like I wanted to. We learned a lot about the car this weekend. It seems we are learning more and more each race. The team worked well together again.

"Richard Maskin, my engine builder is going to take the engine back and rework it. That should help us at Gainesville in the power department. I think with what Taylor (Lastor -- crew chief) has learned the past two races you should see a quicker and faster race car at Gainesville. I'm hoping that all the Marines that let us go racing will see the Marine Corps Olds among the qualifiers at the Mac Tools Gatornationals."

This event is Nance's second race sporting the U.S. Marine Corps name and logo. As part of the marketing partnership with the U. S. Marine Corps, Nance will once again combine his basketball talent with the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series as a recruiting aid for the Marines. On Thursday, he visited Mesquite High School in nearby Gilbert, Ariz., where he conducted a basketball clinic for about 350 high school students. During the clinic, he talked about leadership, his association with the Marine Corps and reminded the students to stay away from drugs.

Nance and his entire Team Marine team will now move to Gainesville, Fla., for the Mac Tools Gatornationals, the third stop of the season on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The event will unfold March 14-17 at Gainesville Raceway.

-lnr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Nance