Mother Nature hampers Hammonds' efforts in Reading. Entering the final day of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Tom Hammonds has his work cut out for him. Sitting just outside the top sixteen required to participate in Sunday's final...
Mother Nature hampers Hammonds' efforts in Reading.
Entering the final day of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Tom Hammonds has his work cut out for him. Sitting just outside the top sixteen required to participate in Sunday's final eliminations, Hammonds knew his Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier would have to run quicker than the 6.854-second elapsed time recorded by the No. 16 qualifier. Armed with the data collected on his first two runs, the Hammonds crew adjusted their race car to meet the challenge.
However, Hammonds' chances for success were hindered by the one factor over which they had no control - the weather. The first session on Saturday morning was delayed by nearly an hour, by which time the combination of higher track temperatures and increased humidity prevented any changes in the starting line-up.
The fourth and final qualifying session was delayed even further by rain showers, which meant the Pro Stock category would once again be running at night. Unfortunately, the benefits provided by the cooler evening conditions were offset by the extremely humid air that choked the naturally aspirated "factory hot rods", which effectively set the field based on Friday's performance, as only one pass of the seventy-four made by the Pro Stock field on Saturday would have been quick enough to gain a position on the final eliminations ladder.
Therefore, despite making two runs on Saturday that were among the best for each particular session, Hammonds' hopes for a Reading victory were cut short. Despite the let down, Hammonds still found reason to be optimistic heading into next weekend's event in Memphis.
"On our last run, I knew something was off right away because the engine actually tried to run away from me in the water box. However, I attributed that to possibly having my foot down too far on the gas pedal. But, as soon as I let the clutch out on the actual run, I knew I had a different animal. Despite that, it still made an acceptable pass, running the back half of the track just like it was supposed to.
"I'm looking forward to testing on Wednesday in St. Louis before moving onto Memphis, so we can keep fine-tuning our Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier. This is a tough sport, and we're a young team, learning at every stop on the circuit. But we're not about to make excuses. We have a good crew, and the guys at the KRJ engine shop keep giving us great horsepower.
"We have to work on our consistency. In a class as competitive as Pro Stock, you can't afford to give up anything, especially a qualifying run in the best session. Even though we didn't qualify, our performance makes me fairly confident heading into the next race. We'll work through these tough times, and in the end, we'll have something we can all be proud of."