READING, Pa. (Oct. 5) -- Pro Stock driver Bob Benza posted career-best numbers this weekend during the 17th annual running of the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at historic Maple Grove Raceway. Unfortunately, the 41-year-old from Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.,...
READING, Pa. (Oct. 5) -- Pro Stock driver Bob Benza posted career-best numbers this weekend during the 17th annual running of the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at historic Maple Grove Raceway. Unfortunately, the 41-year-old from Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., still couldn't crack the quickest Pro Stock field ever assembled, coming up .037 seconds short of his goal. The team did take some solace, however, in the fact that NHRA officials named Benza's 2001 Pontiac Grand Am as the Best Appearing Car of the race.
Benza best qualifying numbers showed an impressive 6.868-second pass at 200.80 mph, marking the first time he was able to crack the 200-mph barrier in his driving career. But the record bump spot for the field of 16 cars that advanced to Sunday's elimination action was set at a lightning-quick 6.831 seconds.
Despite the personal highs achieved on the race track and the accolades bestowed on him when the action had concluded, the competitive side of Benza wouldn't allow him to celebrate the moment.
"Running personal best times and speeds means nothing to me," Benza said. "If we had run a 6.83 at 201.40 mph like we were capable of running, then I would be very happy right now. But we didn't make the exact calls we needed to make when the opportunity presented itself and so we're going home early. Not qualifying for this event takes away any joy I might have felt for running my best time and speed.
"I think we've reached a point where we need to hire a fulltime crew chief that can dedicate 100-percent of his time to making us as competitive as we can be. I don't think we can get a whole lot better than we are now without some help. I just can't continue to come to events and not race on Sunday. That's not what we're out here for. It's no fun for us to be torturing ourselves like this. We'll get better. It'll just take a little more time."