DINWIDDIE, Va. -- Joe Amato, John Force, Barry Grant and Matt Hines were the leaders in their respective professional categories following opening qualifying Friday at the fourth annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. The $1.6...
DINWIDDIE, Va. -- Joe Amato, John Force, Barry Grant and Matt Hines were the leaders in their respective professional categories following opening qualifying Friday at the fourth annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. The $1.6 million race is the sixth of 22 events in the $30 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
Amato, from Exeter, Pa., covered the Virginia Motorsports Park quarter-mile in 4.647 seconds at 304.05 mph in his Tenneco Automotive dragster to take the No. 1 position in Top Fuel. Amato making his number one qualifying pass tonight, uncharacteristically making a run under the lights. He explained "that track temperature was 77 degrees, and Jimmy Prock (crew chief) is getting the combination figured out, so they can get down a colder track."
Seven-time NHRA Winston champion John Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., earned the top spot in Funny Car, running a track record elapsed time and speed of 4.887 at 310.66 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Force said "Cruz is the car to watch, and after Cruz ran the 4.93 that (Wes) Cerny walked by and told me we would run an .88, so I'm going to go by their camp and let him know." John explained he has been struggling lately, and "_that is not being humble, that is just the way it is."
Dalonega, Ga.'s Barry Grant led the 16-car Pro Stock field. Grant, driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass, ran 6.926 at 197.97. When Grant was asked about where they found the power he explained "we have had the power all year, but we had a problem with a valve spring tester. The springs were testing out okay according to the tester, but it was off by 45 pounds. We discovered the problem before Atlanta, and that made the difference. " Barry said Terry Adams is his crew chief and he has really him get things straightened out.
Matt Hines, from Trinidad, Colo., ran a track record 7.292 at 184.04 on his Eagle One Suzuki to lead the 16-bike Pro Stock Motorcycle field.
In other news today Jeanie Booz, of Blooming Glen, Pa., was not injured in an accident during the final Federal-Mogul Dragster qualifying session on Friday. An oil line broke approximately 800 feet down track, dropping oil under the rear tires, which sent the dragster out of control and into the retaining walls. She was checked at the track by Dr. Frank Reynolds, the staff physician for the event, and released. The dragster received extensive damage.
Jeanie Booz: "It broke an oil line. The car got squirrelly from the oil and then started to roll. The only things you can do when something like that happens is close your eyes, cross your fingers and just hang on. Fortunately I'm OK. It's just unbelievable. We shook the car down yesterday and it seemed to be in good shape. In fact, on that pass it left really good. It felt great and then all of a sudden, wham. I'm pretty upset. This is my life. We just built this car. I had a crash in December at the Snowbird Nationals in Bradenton, Fla., and had to buy a new car. We scraped up enough money to build this car. This was our first race back since the crash at the Snowbirds. Financially, this really hurt. I don't think we'll be back this year."
Redell Harris, of Baton Rouge, La., received injuries to his arm earlier today when he was trying to move his Peterbilt Suzuki GSXR in the trailer. The bike fell over on his arm, causing the injury. Harris was taken to a local hospital where he was x-rayed and checked. Preliminary test indicate no breaks and Harris has returned to the track but is not expected to compete this weekend.
Frank Manzo, of Morganville, N.J., will have a chance to establish a NHRA national elapsed time record for Federal-Mogul Funny Car during eliminations. Manzo had a 5.612-second run during his final qualifying attempt which is quicker than the current record of 5.638 seconds by Bob Newberry earlier this year in Baytown, Texas. To make the 5.612 a record, Manzo needs to make another run within one percent of the record as required by NHRA rules for establishing national records.