Hill holds on to top spot through two rounds POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 6) -- The second round of professional qualifying for the 39th Annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway took place on the first completely dry day of the event. All of...
Hill holds on to top spot through two rounds
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 6) -- The second round of professional qualifying for the 39th Annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway took place on the first completely dry day of the event. All of the professional drivers in attendance, including the Pennzoil pros, tried to take advantage of the improved weather and better their position in tomorrow's elimination action.
Here's a recap of Saturday's first round of qualifying.
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, proved that the 4.535-second, 313.80-mph pass he recorded Friday night was no fluke by posting a 4.649-second, 298.47-mph lap in Round 2 despite running the majority of the track on just seven cylinders. Hill's opening round elapsed time kept him comfortably in the No. 1 qualifying spot.
"We bent a push rod around the 330-foot mark and still had a pretty good run," Hill said. "That time is almost as good as the times we were running last year on all eight cylinders. We did get some valuable launching pad information that will come in handy tomorrow where we're expecting similar conditions to today. The track is really fast, which was proven by the other 4.5-second passes that round. The fans should be in for a real treat tomorrow."
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, recorded a steady 6.997-second lap at 197.36 mph during his second round pass. The time temporarily moves Thomas into the field of 16 cars qualified for Sunday's action in the No. 15 position.
"That was a lousy run," Thomas said. "We've got to go faster than that to stay in the show. There is a problem with the car right now and we can't put a finger on what it is. To make things worse, the on-board computer malfunctioned so we have no way to look at that pass. We've got some serious work to do before this afternoon's session."
Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, managed a slightly improved pass during Round 2 when he tripped the timers in 7.021 seconds at 196.24 mph. The time, however, was not quick enough to keep pace with the rest of the Pro Stock field and Allen slipped from 11th to 19th place on the qualifying ladder with one round remaining.
"The car continues to be really loose in the middle of the track in that third, fourth gear area," Allen said. "Everyone else is going straight down the track so it's obviously a problem we have, not a problem with the track. We're switching engines but I just don't know how much that will help. We really need our new car. Hopefully it will be ready by Phoenix."