Pomona: GM Racing Saturday notes and quotes

PRO STOCK TRUCK Bob Panella (Panella Trucking Chevy S-10) - "I'm happy with today. Our Panella Trucking S-10 was the fastest truck in both sessions. Unfortunately we missed it on Thursday, but all in all we've got a good race day tune up. ...

PRO STOCK TRUCK

Bob Panella (Panella Trucking Chevy S-10) - "I'm happy with today. Our Panella Trucking S-10 was the fastest truck in both sessions. Unfortunately we missed it on Thursday, but all in all we've got a good race day tune up. Today was a good indication on the conditions we'll have tomorrow so we'll just try to improve on every lap down the track. The first lap really gave us some confidence (7.465 ET). When we got here this morning, we thought a 7.44 was possible. Then it got hot in a hurry and looked like a 7.47 or 7.48 was going to be good. Randy (Daniels) went 7.47 right beside me and those were two amazing runs. We know what we have to do for tomorrow." No. 2 qualifier - 7.465ET/181.42MPH (national record)

Randy Daniels (Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10) - "We're doing a lot better than last year when we didn't even qualify here. We're pretty excited about what we've done so far. We're just looking forward to going racing. Basically we just tried to find a setup for this hot racetrack and they're saying it's going to be hotter tomorrow -- it's going to be tricky. We've got a feel for both lanes now and we're ready to get started. We were really excited about that 7.47 in the right lane. Everyone says that lane is not as good as the left, but we were pretty happy about the way we got ahold of the racetrack over there. I wish we were racing tonight." No. 1 qualifier - 7.461ET/180.16MPH

Jeff Gracia (Panella Trucking GMC Sonoma) - "Tomorrow we'll try to repeat the runs that we made today and hopefully go into eliminations with what I feel is a pretty good baseline. Me and Bobby (Panella) are on opposite sides of the ladder and maybe we can race each other in the finals. Right now we're pretty happy with the way this Sonoma is running. It seems like the little adjustments we're making to get us closer to Bobby's truck is moving us in the right direction." No. 5 qualifier - 7.504ET/179.14MPH

PRO STOCK

Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Grand Am) - "Whenever we can run well and run with the front of the pack on all four runs, that's really encouraging. I think most of the credit should go to these new cars. These new Grand Ams are awesome racecars. We're kind of on the same page now with the smaller cars - they're the same size as an Avenger or a Cutlass and it's a great car. I just love it. I think as the track gets more runs on it the left lane gets more consistent for us and the right, even though it's still good, is a little loose in second and third gear. Our cars just like to be hooked up tight all the way and we can be more aggressive in the left lane. Every year you have an ongoing development program when you're doing your own engines and you're always looking for three or four horsepower at a time. Pretty soon, those three or four horsepower add up to 12, and we were just fortunate enough over the winter that some of the things we were working on are starting to pay off. The engine shop works very hard and managed to build a couple of new engines that ran real good or panned out with some of the ideas we had from last year. It's just constant work and targeting the right areas and I think that's what has helped us so far." No. 1 qualifier - 6.828ET/201.16MPH

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Grand Am) - "It's time to get serious. We've been testing in 60-degree weather, so we really didn't have any data on a hot track. With the warm weather today, we're able to get that out of the way much earlier in the season than usual. The car went right down the track on both runs today, although the e.t.s weren't as quick as I wanted. We've got a combination we can work with." No. 2 qualifier - 6.836ET/201.91MPH

Kurt Johnson (ACDelco Chevrolet Cavalier) - "I'm going to do the same thing I did the last time I was here - just take care of business. The warm weather is actually a blessing because we haven't had this new car on a hot race track, so we're getting some unexpected testing done. The Cavalier was consistent with 6.88s in both lanes, but I think the right lane is a couple of hundredths slower - we didn't make a good run on that side. We're still experimenting. I tried a different suspension combination this morning that put a little more bite in the chassis, and we tried different tires in the final session. It's just a matter of finding out what the car likes." No. 5 qualifier - 6.866ET/201.88MPH

FUNNY CAR

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Skoal Racing Chevrolet Camaro Z28) - "Getting Ron (Capps) in there and getting both Camaros in the show was our main objective. Coming in with No. 1 was just a bonus. It's a real testament to the amount of work these guys have put in. It's been a wholehearted effort so it's a nice reward for them. This program pretty much speaks for itself - this is a class act with Don Prudhomme and Skoal behind both of these teams. To qualify No. 1 at our first event together - yeah, this is the best team I've ever been with. We have high hopes for this season and we'll find out tomorrow exactly where we are. But I think we have something. We've been very consistent, and got our problems out of the way today so we know what to do tomorrow." No. 1 qualifier - 4.838ET/310.98MPH

Frank Pedregon (Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "What a spectacular run that was, in the heat of the day. A lot of cars were out there spinning like mad because the track is hot and getting a little slick. We were pretty aggressive with the tune-up, and (crew chief) Dave Fletcher told me to be ready to protect the car if it started to spin down there. But the thing just held on tight and never was even in danger down there. I'm pretty excited to lower my career best again, but I'm more excited that we did it during a session where most of the other cars were slowing down. That's awesome! And to make a run like that here in Pomona in front of my family and friends and the folks from CSK and Havoline who are here, that makes it even more special. We'll give it our best shot and try and meet Del (Worsham) in the finals." No. 2 qualifier - 4.875ET(career best)/308.28MPH

Ron Capps (Skoal Racing Chevrolet Camaro Z28) - "It was nail-biting time. But the cool part was we knew it was going to pay off having two cars, and watching Tommy's (Johnson) Camaro go down there earlier made me that much more sure. Ace told me I was going to be fine and the car was going to go right down there. It was trucking right down through there, I lifted off the throttle, it blew up and it spit a piece of the windshield into my face shield and knocked my face shield up. At the same time I didn't know where I was because of the concussion (from the explosion) and I had to look around and say 'where am I?' I put my shield down and got the car stopped. I'm glad it ran good. When they said it ran 4.88 I said it didn't matter what happened because we have another new Camaro body ready to go. I was a nervous wreck waiting for that last session but this is why Don Prudhomme decided to make a two-car team. They used the data from Tommy's last two runs (in the left lane) and they set it up soft just to go down there. No. 4 qualifier - 4.881ET/310.77MPH

Whit Bazemore (Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird) - "All in all we're pretty happy even though we ended up 10th. Lee (Beard) has only been here four or five weeks at this point. It's a brand new team and brand new everything. We've got some bugs to work out but I think we're doing outstanding. The car wants to run really well. Lee is very meticulous and creeping up on the tune up. We were on a good run tonight but we had a problem with the engine. Something went away in the fuel system, which was unexpected, but the performance on this Matco Pontiac Firebird is there. I feel really pleased with the effort that's being made, the results and the potential that we have." No. 10 qualifier - 4.967ET/302.01MPH

Tony Bartone (WWF Pontiac Firebird) - "The good news is that we're in. We'd like to be a little deeper in the show, but that's the cards we've been dealt, we'll battle it from there and hopefully we'll go some rounds tomorrow. That was the first full pass that we'd made here. We'd made a couple of other full passes in testing, but when the cars going straight and it's pulling hard, it's a fun ride. When they get out of the groove they're a little tough to handle and get back in the groove. We're striving to keep it in the center of the lane and tomorrow maybe we can go a couple of rounds if not all the way." No. 16 qualifier - 5.013ET/308.35MPH

- Jeff Romack

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Bob Panella , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Bartone , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Don Prudhomme , Bruce Allen , Tommy Johnson Jr.