Pomona: Pontiac Racing Friday notes

POMONA, Calif. (November 10, 2000)- Qualifying for the 36th annual AAA Southern California NHRA Finals continued today at Pomona Raceway. In Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin took the No. 1 qualifying position in an Oldsmobile with an elapsed time of ...

POMONA, Calif. (November 10, 2000)- Qualifying for the 36th annual AAA Southern California NHRA Finals continued today at Pomona Raceway. In Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin took the No. 1 qualifying position in an Oldsmobile with an elapsed time of 6.904 seconds at 197.71 mph. Richie Stevens moved to the No. 2 position in the Valspar Refinish Firebird with a run of 6.918 seconds at 196.70 mph. Ron Krisher is third in the Eagle One Firebird and Warren Johnson is fourth in the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac. Brad Jeter moved to seventh in the Dynagear Firebird, Jim Yates holds down the eighth spot, Bruce Allen is 12th, Jamie Yates is 13th and Mark Pawuk is 14th. Tom Martino is currently 24th.

In Funny Car, Frank Pedregon's Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird was involved in a harrowing accident with Scotty Cannon during today's afternoon session. Pedregon's Pontiac crossed the centerline after recording an elapsed time of 5.034 seconds at 275.22 mph, and collided with the Oakley Camaro. Both drivers escaped the accident unharmed, but Pedregon's run was good enough for the No. 5 qualifying spot while Cannon moved up to fourth. John Force is the No. 1 qualifier in a Mustang with a run of 4.908 seconds at 291.63 mph. Dean Skuza is qualified second, and Bruce Sarver is third in the e-moola.com/Hot Wheels Pontiac Firebird with an elapsed time of 5.008 seconds at 294.88 mph. Al Hofmann is seventh in the Mooneyes Firebird, Jerry Toliver is eighth, Dale Creasy Jr. is 12th, John Lawson is 13th, Cruz Pedregon is 16th, Del Worsham is 21st, Tim Wilkerson is 22nd, Gary Densham is 24th and Johnny Grey is 25th.

In Top Fuel, Mike Dunn took the No. 1 qualifying spot in the Yankee/Gwynn/Pontiac dragster with the quickest run under the 90-percent nitro rules. Dunn moved to the head of the class with a lap of 4.522 seconds at 325.69 mph. Tony Schumacher is second, Doug Kalitta is third, Melanie Troxel is fourth and Gary Scelzi is fifth. Cory McClenathan is 15th in the MBNA/Pontiac dragster with a run of 4.884 seconds at 308.50 mph.

The 36th annual Southern California Auto Club NHRA Finals on November 9 - 12 at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif., is the 23rd race on the 23-event NHRA Winston Championship schedule. NHRA Heat can be seen on ESPN2 on Thursday, November 9, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. Qualifying highlights of the NHRA Finals, including coverage of the Big Bud Shootout for Top Fuel dragsters, can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, November 12, starting at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Same-day coverage of final eliminations begins on ESPN2 on Sunday, November 12, at 6 p.m. Eastern and again at 10 p.m. Eastern.


Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "At the top of second gear it just ran out from under me. The clutch was good that time and the Eagle One Firebird just took off. By the time I was in fourth gear I was probably four or five degrees with the racetrack and it had me a little excited - no, I was very excited. I knew when Kurt went a 6.97 in front of me something wasn't right. We'll be alright tomorrow. I was shocked when they said it was a 6.92, but a good run would've put us in the 6.80s. We were a lot faster today to the 330 than we were last night, but then we slowed down on the backhalf." No. 3 qualifier - 6.924ET/197.80MPH

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "Right now the track is real loose in the middle. Some of the other cars seem to be negotiating it a little better than us, but obviously we have something off on our setup and we're spinning the tires through third and fourth gear. We're lucky to have run a 6.94 out there this afternoon. I got loose and got over towards the guard rail. After my experience last week at Dallas it was tough for me to stay in it, but I did. It looks like we'll have to make a chassis adjustment to try and get the tire to hook a little harder in the middle of the racetrack. As soon as we do that we shouldn't have any trouble running low 6.90s or high 6.80s. This Splitfire Pontiac Firebird has never done this under these conditions so we're a little baffled. We hate to keep adjusting on it if there's something else wrong. We're happy with the way the two cars have run considering the laps we've made. Tomorrow morning will be the fast session and we'll just try to lay a big number down." No. 8 qualifier - 6.941ET/198.17MPH

Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) - We ran good last night and we changed engines on this run on purpose. We have two engines here that we want to evaluate and we figured if we made a good run, we'd make another run with the second engine, see where we were and then run the best one for tomorrow morning. That session is typically the best one of the weekend. Right now we're going according to plan. I wish we would've run a little better that time - it was decent we just didn't run quick enough. Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and move to the top of the sheet." No. 12 qualifier - 6.961ET/197.51MPH

Richie Stevens Jr. (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - "Believe it or not we've got a lot more in this Valspar Pontiac. Somehow we miscalculated some things and ended up being 15 pounds over weight. That cost us at least one hundredth of a second on the track. If you take that weight out right now we'd probably be on the pole. I guess that'll have to wait until tomorrow. Aside from the extra weight the run didn't even look that great on the computer. The car was bouncing around in the top end and looked a little rough from third gear on. (Crew chief) Tommy (Utt) says we definitely have a 6.8-second run with this set-up. I just need to go out there and get it done. We run early tomorrow morning and I'm sure it will be nice and cool like it has been the last few days. That session will be killer. Even then, if the weather stays the way it has been then the afternoon pass will be just as good as today's was. This looks like it will be one of those rare races where all four qualifying sessions are good. Confidence is high in the Valspar pit. I'm pretty sure the lap we had today will be good enough to at least keep us in the top half of the field so we'll go into Sunday's eliminations knowing we have lane choice and one of the quickest cars at the race. I'd love to finish this year with a win." No. 2 qualifier - 6.918ET/196.70MPH


!Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "I couldn't believe we were underpowered. I thought we had the right idea on the tune up but it shook like a bandit. Then we got back here and discovered we had the right idea but set it up wrong. Our mistake, those things happen, we had few things messed up in the system. It won't happen tomorrow. I'm glad Frankie (Pedregon) is okay. That was a bad deal." No. 21 qualifier

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "Man it was just flying and then it put at least one cylinder out on the right side and made a hard move to the center line. I clicked it off because it was moving that way so hard. I had the wheel all the way to the left to straighten it out but it kept going. It was like slow motion. I had my hands all the way around on the wheel trying to bring it back and it just kept going. I saw Scotty (Cannon) out there and couldn't do anything about it - I just ran into him. Then the body flew off, we crashed into the wall and I kept thinking this thing would never stop. It was indeed a scary deal. And I feel badly for Scotty - he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and I couldn't stay out of it. We're okay. We've got another chassis and a new Firebird body sitting there ready to go. It was just real unfortunate." No. 5 qualifier - 5.034ET/275.22MPH

Bruce Sarver (e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird) - "Last night we went up there and had an awfully good track down low. It was bad down track so we backed it down so we could get downtrack, but we shook because it didn't have enough power to pull its weight. We tuned her up for the first part of the track and then backed it way off because everyone in front of us was smoking the tires. It worked. We were a tenth and a half quicker than everybody in that session so that's got us pretty stoked. I thought everyone behind me would step it up but they didn't. The air conditions are good and the first 400 hundred feet of the racetrack is good, the rest of it hasn't come in yet." No. 3 qualifier - 5.008ET/294.88MPH

Jim Dunn (Mooneyes/Red Line Oil Pontiac Firebird) - "We thought the Mooneyes Firebird would run a 5.12 but it started smoking the tires at 500 feet. I told Hofmann that it might rain tomorrow so take it as far as he could. We ran a 5.16 which was very good for that round. If the track doesn't get any better we'll set the clutch. If it gets better we'll leave it alone and let it run better. We can improve either way. The air is very good, the temperature is cold, the track is very cold. We need a little more sun on it. We don't run well when it's too hot or too cold. This track has always been marginal in the middle. The guys that are right will fly right down it, but there's a very thin line here." No. 7 qualifier-5.166ET/270.59MPH

Jerry Toliver (WWF Pontiac Firebird) - "We accomplished what we wanted to learn on that run. And that was to simply get from A to B. We now have some good data to pull from and can make the necessary adjustments and get ready for tomorrow. We still have two more runs and we'll get it after it then."

Dale Creasy Jr. (Mad Magazine Pontiac Firebird) - "That was a positive step there. We were pretty pleased with that run. The only thing that bothers me about that run was that the computer didn't work. We got this Mad Magazine Firebird down the track when a lot of people didn't even do that. It was weak early, and I could tell, but we had to make it weak. It shaking and smoking and then it took off and ran real well. If we can hook the front half with the way our back half performed, we should be able to run in the five-ohs. We had to make it weak to get over that shake we've been having at the start of the run. We probably didn't plan on making it that weak but it ended up working out for us. Just to be able to get down the racetrack is a positive for us." No. 12 qualifier - 5.313ET/281.30MPH


Mike Dunn (Gwynn/Steinbrenner Yankee Dragster) - "Our crew chief, Ken Veney took a look at the track and felt like this was going to be the time to go for it. He felt the track was going to be in good shape. He went out, looked at it, and was a little concerned about the starting line. So he made one little adjustment there, and then he said 'we're going to go after it once it leaves the line and if it sticks it'll run a 4.52. That's why he gets the big bucks, right. Up until last year I never had much luck here. But last year at Pomona was very good to me, winning both races, and it would be nice to win again here this weekend. That's what we're working on. We know we have a good racecar, we know we're making a lot of horsepower, but obviously to win races we have to be consistent and we're working on that. It's definitely getting better. Yesterday we were on a good run and we just got loose on the asphalt. We were the first car down. There wasn't much rubber so we know we have to make adjustments when the track gets hot, and we probably won't be as good as some of these other guys like Tony (Schumacher) and Scelzi that ran all year. If it stays cool you could probably say goodnight if the driver doesn't mess up, which could happen - it happened at the last race." No. 1 qualifier - 4.522ET/325.69MPH

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Mike Dunn , Richie Stevens Jr. , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Jamie Yates , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Tim Wilkerson , Jerry Toliver