Phoenix: Scotty Cannon preview

Cannon, on heels of good run in Pomona, ready for success in Phoenix. Scotty Cannon is gaining ground after struggling to get his Oakley Time Bomb Funny Car program off and running this season with a new team, new crew chief and renewed ...

Cannon, on heels of good run in Pomona, ready for success in Phoenix.

Scotty Cannon is gaining ground after struggling to get his Oakley Time Bomb Funny Car program off and running this season with a new team, new crew chief and renewed responsibilities. A 15th-place qualifying spot at the season-opening event at Pomona Raceway, a strong first-round run under his belt, and some good data acquired at the January tests at Firebird Raceway, put Cannon and crew chief Phil Shuler in good shape for this weekend's CSK Nationals in Phoenix.

"I think we've ironed out some of our problems," Cannon says. "I know we found some stuff at Pomona that was biting us pretty much as far as the car blowing up. It's not just been one thing biting us; it's been two or three different things. We've been fighting a lot of different battles. But we had a good run against Whit (Bazemore, teammate) in the first round, so we're going to take that run and just try to better it a little bit and see if we can't run up front with the rest of the guys."

Cannon admits, however, that there's still work to be done and challenges to face. "The good news is the car seems to be driving good. We actually had some good short times at Phoenix when we were testing, so we have a little bit of data that we can use going into that race. Hopefully, we can get out there and get qualified and not get behind the 8-ball so we can have a couple, three runs to dial the car in so we'd maybe have a chance of winning it on Sunday.

"We need a few more solid runs to the end of the track," he adds. "But we're not going to back the car down and go out there and try to run slow. We're going to keep the car stepped up and see if we can learn how to make it run fast and maybe win some races."

One avid fan in his camp is Oakley boss Jim Jannard, known as the Mad Scientist. "He's more hands on than he's ever been," Cannon remarks. "He's here all the time. He's in conference with the tuning on the car. He knows what moves we're making, what parts we're putting on the car, what we're taking off. He understands it totally. That's a good thing, having him around and supporting the team; it's a benefit to all of us."

In his four NHRA Funny Car visits to Firebird Raceway, Cannon's best result was in 2002. He qualified third and advanced to the semifinal, where he was eliminated by Del Worsham. "Any track can be good to you as long as you get a handle on it and you make the right decisions at the right time," he believes. "I like Phoenix. I like the weather and I like the people. The fans are great and it should be a good race for anybody who was there testing because you actually have some runs that you can go back and look at."

The popular racer, however, wants to apologize to his fans for perhaps not being as available to them recently as he continues to get his new team organized. "I'd like to thank all my fans for supporting me. I'm more hands on now than I've ever been with my crew and crew chief, helping Phil Shuler make decisions. Phil makes all the decisions; he's got the last call. But he chooses to have me more involved. That makes me happy and I like it. But I don't want the fans to think that, while we're working on getting up on our feet, I'm not spending any time with them. I apologize. The main thing right now is to focus on getting the car running up front and winning races. I appreciate their bearing with me."

Pro qualifying at Firebird Raceway begins on Friday, Feb. 21, with sessions at 1 and 4 p.m.; 1 and 4 p.m. again on Saturday, Feb. 22; with eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.

-dsr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Scotty Cannon