PONT Pontiac Notes 98-06-12

PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 1998 PONTIAC EXCITEMENT NATIONALS FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 1998 COLUMBUS, OHIO PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) We thought we did awful well given the fact that the right hand lane appears to be a...



Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) We thought we did awful well given the fact that the right hand lane appears to be a little bit slower. We're in developmental mode right now with some combinations that we have in here. We have about 60% of it developed from testing last week at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. We feel pretty optimistic that if we don't get rained out tomorrow morning we can take this GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird to the head of the class. No. 2 qualifier 7.051ET/196.33MPH

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) We're just trying to get ahead of the curve here. On the first pass, we knocked the clutch out real bad and we had a problem with the carburetor. So we came back on the second pass, put a little clutch in it trying to be conservative, just move up the field a little bit and try and get qualified. We got a good solid hit on it that time. It looks like it needs some more clutch, maybe a little more tweaking in the carburetor, but we'll come out tomorrow and see if we can get this Splitfire Pontiac Firebird in the top half of the field. No. 13 qualifier 7.096ET/194.00MPH

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) After the first run today I was a little worried. My crew is working real hard and we're really clicking right now. We made a pretty bad run this afternoon but we charged back tonight and made a great run. The left lane appears to be a little better and our Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird went down it real nice. We had a little bit left, we were a little soft. For Summit Racing and Pontiac Firebird, I'm going to sleep a lot better tonight being fifth than if I left here 17th. For all my friends, family, employees and sponsors, we're working out tails off to do the best we can to go to the finals of this race. No. 5 qualifier 7.080ET/194.17MPH

Bruce Allen (Outlaw Pontiac Firebird) This is the worst air we've run in this year as far as we know of. It was at 4500 feet for that first session. Right before we ran, when we were warming up the car, we broke a motor. We had to change motors as fast as we could, put a motor in, change the weight, make a setup and go up there and make a run. So we're pretty happy that we were able to make a decent pass. We feel like we can adjust on that and tonight, the conditions should be a lot better, so we plan on stepping it up. I don't know how fast the Outlaw Pontiac Firebird will be able to go, but we're going to have to run five or six hundredths faster tonight, maybe seven. That 7.12 will have to be a 7.05. We'll make some good adjustments, make a good clean run and go do it. No. 16 qualifier 7.107ET/193.50MPH

Tom Martino (Six Flags Pontiac Firebird) That run was definitely better than we anticipated. We slipped the clutch all the way down the track. We went up there and looked, it looked horrible, we set up for horrible, and it was just bad, it wasn't horrible. We ran 7.15, we're No. 15 and the Six Flags Pontiac Firebird should have been No. 7 or 8 with a good run. No. 22 qualifier 7.138ET/192.63MPH

George Marnell (Tenneco Pontiac Firebird) I was real happy with the first run. For trying to get a baseline for this place, the Tenneco Pontiac Firebird did what it was supposed to do. It shook pretty good in the middle of the track, which gives us some room there. We were pretty close on the clutch and the car just did a great job. My crew chief, Bob Cave got us down the track with a decent setup and we think we have a pretty good handle on the situation. We're just going to try and improve on things for tonight and see what happens. No. 14 qualifier 7.100ET/193.59MPH

Mike Thomas (Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird) That was a good run even though the car was heavy on the clutch. Otherwise, I would have been down around 7.06 seconds. I'll tell you what, when this track cools down and (crew chief) Rickie (Smith) gets the clutch right, we'’ll be real fast. No. 4 qualifier 7.070ET/195.22MPH


Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) That was an excellent run for us, we're really just ecstatic. To come out and adjust for the temperature and the new track, I just have to say that the car is doing what it's supposed to do. I was just commenting to Wes (Cerny) that this is probably the smoothest run early on a track that I've ever had. It was like a passenger Pontiac Firebird it was so smooth. That's a good sign because that means everything is working right, the grip is good, and the clutches are doing what they're supposed to do. It's business as usual in the Interstate Batteries /Hot Rod Pontiac camp. No. 5 qualifier 5.052ET/279.24MPH

Dale Creasy, Jr. (Creasy Racing Pontiac Firebird) Everything on this Creasy Racing Pontiac Firebird seems to be just fine. We just had a little problem in the clutch department, I had to pedal it, and we ran a 5.49, which got us in the top-16 for the first session. The run showed us what we needed to know, the track seems to be OK and we're just going to lean on this machine a little harder when the temperature and the track cool down. It's our feeling that the motor just wasn't making enough power and now that we know what's wrong, we can come back, fix it, and try to move up in the field. No. 13 qualifier 5.202ET/285.53MPH

Al Hofmann (GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird) We dropped a cylinder on the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird, but that was probably from not having a tight enough clutch on it. We were trying to be real safe and it still ran the third quickest mph of the session. It picked up a cylinder at half track and all we have to do now is to get it to run on all eight to get a shot at low ET. The testing last week here in Columbus really helped us. We've been needing to do that for three months but we just couldn't find the time to put it together. That really helped us out. We've made 12 runs since Chicago. The clutch discs that we have are the same date, same everything. But we had to make a huge counter weight change in the clutch. We had to take 30 grams more off of the clutch than we've ever had off of it before. We've always ran it around 130 grams and now we have about 100 grams on it now. It looks pretty safe. I'd venture to say that once we get a couple of more laps underour belts, the rest of the pack is going to be in trouble. No. 12 qualifier —5.138ET/299.70MPH

Tim Wilkerson (JCIT Pontiac Firebird) We were a little worried about the race track coming in here. Last year, a 5.30 won the race and we remember that. The JCIT Pontiac Firebird was the fastest car to half track on almost every run we made. We got to the middle, spinning the tires, sliding around the track, stupid stuff like that. This year we decided to concentrate on making it through the middle, thinking that would be the key to running well. We ended up still spinning the tires there. We're changing it for tonight thinking that we need to attack the bottom half a little bit more. We'll try one more time to really get after it, then you'll see us go to a hot weather tune-up and try and run consistent 5.00s. Tonight we're going for the gusto. If we don't run in the fours tonight, it won't be for lack of trying.

No. 1 qualifier That was exactly what we planned on doing. The first pass was even a little faster to tell you the truth. It was a hundredth quicker to the 330 on the first lap so we knew if the JCIT Pontiac Firebird stuck, it would be fast. We just hopped it up a little bit and it did what it was supposed to do. Both runs we made were nice and straight. Now we have to concentrate on winning the race, so tomorrow we’ll change our clutch program a little so that in the middle of the race track it will go through there without smoking the tires. When we threw the parachutes out at the end it only had one chute. It broke the wheelie bar and I felt the car jerk straight up in the air. I didn't know what the heck happened, but I knew I only had one chute because it wasn't even trying to slow down. I thought, this isn't a good thing, but I knew they had fixed the track because it now goes over the road. But once I got over the road there was sand, and I got it stopped with the nose barely touching the pit. The car's OK though. We didn't hurt a thing. The track drug the motor to its knees, it's that good. As good as that run looked it wasn't as good as it should have been. It should have run in the low 4.90s or high 4.80s. Our motor was not prepared for that at all. I hit the gas and it coughed. The car needs more motor, that's the bottom line To run 4.96 at Columbus is pretty darn good, so don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining. 4.965ET/306.74MPH

Del Worsham (Checker-Schucks-Kragen Pontiac Firebird) It tells you something about how tough this sport is that the two cars that matched up in the final round at the last race aren't yet qualified. You don't get any credit at the next race for what you did at the last one. It will amaze you sometimes how these cars seem to detune themselves in the trailer between two race tracks. It drives you nuts. We did make some progress from the first run, it only went out there about 150 to 200 feet the first time, and this time it went a lot further before the tires spun. But in a way that's as much of a problem, just a different one. That's an odd place for this Pontiac Firebird to smoke the tires. Usually if we get it off the line hooked up, it will go all the way. We need to make a little more power and be aggressive enough to go for it tomorrow. No. 17 qualifier 5.622ET/222.60MPH

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , George Marnell