Thomas leads Pennzoil's Round 3 effort PHOENIX (Feb. 27) -- Team Pennzoil's hunt for the championship of the 15th Annual Checker Schucks Kragen Nationals drastically improved during Saturday's third round of qualifying. Pro Stock drivers Mike ...
Thomas leads Pennzoil's Round 3 effort
PHOENIX (Feb. 27) -- Team Pennzoil's hunt for the championship of the 15th Annual Checker Schucks Kragen Nationals drastically improved during Saturday's third round of qualifying. Pro Stock drivers Mike Thomas and Bruce Allen both managed to jump up their bracket's qualifying ladder considerably in the session while Top Fueler Eddie Hill, already comfortably qualified in the Top Fuel field, continued his search for extra horsepower.
Here's a quick look at the third round laps of each Pennzoil driver.
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, made the biggest move of the session when he hurdled from ninth place to third place on the qualifying ladder with a convincing 6.956-second lap at 197.97 mph. With temperatures expected to climb throughout the day it appears Thomas has secured a place in Sunday's elimination rounds.
"We finally made a run that's somewhat indicative of what this car is capable of doing," Thomas said. "Still we could go a lot faster than that and hopefully we will before the weekend is over. The car is running really strong and the track was holding up well. It's nice to make a good run like that in the third round because the conditions should be exactly the same tomorrow when we start racing for real."
Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, posted his best lap of year -- a 7.003-second pass at 195.51 mph -- to jump from out of contention into the No. 13 spot in the field with one round of qualifying yet to be contested.
"This was certainly a big step in the right direction," Allen said. "And we can still improve. We had a little tire shake that round which probably cost us a couple of thousandths of a second. But we're really pleased to be in the field and I would guess that we'll stay there because it will be too hot this afternoon for anyone to bump us. Although you never know who will step it up and make a great run. There are still plenty of great drivers behind us."
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, lost traction at the 60-foot mark and elected to abort his third round pass. Hill's best run of the weekend remains to be the 4.639-second lap at 304.53 mph he recorded Friday morning. Currently, Hill occupies the No. 8 spot on the qualifying ladder.
"Our aspirations were a little higher than what the racetrack was willing to give us," Hill said. "We were actually breaking in some new parts and we ended up having too much clutch. It's all part of the process. We need to really focus and make a great run this afternoon to move back up to the top of the field. A 4.58-second run would suit me just fine."