Pomona: Scott Geoffrion preview

Ford Mustang now in Geoffrion's Winternationals plans; Escort ZX2 due in time for Phoenix race. SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., February 3, 2003 - The gift Scott Geoffrion wanted after Christmas hasn't arrived yet. And it won't before the 2003 NHRA...

Ford Mustang now in Geoffrion's Winternationals plans; Escort ZX2 due in time for Phoenix race.

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., February 3, 2003 - The gift Scott Geoffrion wanted after Christmas hasn't arrived yet. And it won't before the 2003 NHRA season gets underway.

Geoffrion had hoped to take delivery of his new Ford Escort ZX2 Pro Stock racecar before the K&N Filters Winternationals, Feb. 6-9, at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway, but builder Don Ness simply couldn't have it race-ready for another week.

"Ness just ran out of time," a somewhat dejected Geoffrion explained. "Building this one-of-a-kind car was a major task because we started from scratch. Body molds needed to be made and it just takes longer to complete the project.

"Is it disappointing? Yes, and no. We know our new car will be better and we knew it was going to come down to the wire, in terms of getting the car in time for Pomona," he continued. "It would've been great to debut the car at the Winternationals because it's in the Los Angeles area and we'd be getting maximum exposure for a potential sponsor."

Geoffrion, however, didn't have to look far to find a replacement ride - the Hurley Blakeney-owned Ford Mustang he drove in the final nine 2002 events was ready, just in case. The Mustang is wider and heavier than the ZX2, but Geoffrion nonetheless qualified it at the October race at Las Vegas and felt he had a good chance to do the same at the Auto Club Finals at Pomona. Rain washed out three of the four qualifying sessions and prevented the team from accomplishing that goal.

"Bob Panella is building our motors and he kept finding more power toward the end of the year," said Geoffrion. "The car ran well at Las Vegas and, based on the power we had then, we should be able to qualify for the Winternationals. It will be tough because the car is so big, compared to ZX2, which is more aerodynamic. We definitely will have the new car ready for the Phoenix race (Feb. 21-23)."

Geoffrion's best competitive time in the Mustang is 6.957 seconds. It was good enough to put him 12th at The Strip at Las Vegas. Geoffrion tested at thge same track Saturday and Sunday, registering the quickest times of the two days, 6.94 and 6.95 seconds.

"We wanted to get the car ready to race and give me an opportunity to get some seat time before we go to Pomona," he added. "We know it will go down the racetrack this weekend."

The Escort ZX2 should ready to race at the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Phoenix, Feb. 21-23.

Geoffrion has nine career Pro Stock victories - all coming in Dodges - in 26 final rounds. He is two-time Winternationals runner-up, placing second to former teammate Warren Johnson in 1993 and to then-teammate Darrell Alderman in 1995.

Geoffrion lowered the Pro Stock elapsed time record to 6.809 seconds, qualified No. 1 and was second at Memphis in 2000. That was his last NHRA final round.

Winternationals Pro Stock qualifying is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Darrell Alderman , Warren Johnson , Hurley Blakeney , Scott Geoffrion