Richmond Pontiac/GMC Notes & Quotes

DINWIDDIE, Va. (April 28, 2000) - Qualifying for the 6th annual NHRA Nationals got underway today at Virginia Motorsports Park. In Pro Stock, Mike Thomas has his Pontiac Firebird qualified in the No. 2 position with a run of 6.891 ...

DINWIDDIE, Va. (April 28, 2000) - Qualifying for the 6th annual NHRA Nationals got underway today at Virginia Motorsports Park. In Pro Stock, Mike Thomas has his Pontiac Firebird qualified in the No. 2 position with a run of 6.891 seconds at 198.15 mph. Warren Johnson's GM Goodwrench Service Plus Firebird is qualified third, Bruce Allen is fourth, Mark Pawuk is 11th, George Marnell is 13th, Ron Krisher is 15th and Brad Jeter is 16th.

In Funny Car, Jerry Toliver driving one of the new 2000 Pontiac Firebirds took his WWF Funny Car to the No. 1 qualifying position with an elapsed time of 4.920 seconds at 303.91 mph. Frank Pedregon is qualified fifth in the Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird with a run of 5.089 seconds at 267.85 mph. Al Hofmann is qualified ninth, Cristen Powell is 10th, Todd Paton is 12th, Bob Gilbertson is 14th, Del Worsham is 15th, Bruce Sarver is 16th and Gary Densham is 17th.

In Top Fuel, Cory McClenathan qualified the MBNA/Pontiac dragster in the No. 5 position with an elapsed time of 4.688 seconds at 281.13 mph. The No. 1 qualifier is Kenny Bernstein with a run of 4.593 seconds at 312.93 mph. Tony Schumacher is qualified second, Larry Dixon is third and Doug Kalitta is fourth.

The 6th annual NHRA Nationals presented by Chevrolet is the sixth race on the 23-event NHRA Winston Championship tour. Television coverage can be seen on TNN on Sunday, April 30, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.


Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "It's disappointing. Jamie's car dropped a valve in the engine in third gear and we didn't know why at the time. I went up there, did my burn out and started backing up, but the motor was making some strange noises. We were concerned as to what it was, so rather than taking a chance of running it down the track after what happened to Jamie's car, we just decided to shut it off, come back to the pits and take a look at it. The session didn't look like it was going to be that fast anyway, but we wish we could have made a clutch hit just so we could see what was going on. We came back, went through the motor and everything looks fine. We changed a bunch of ignition components on the Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird and everything electrical in the car. It sounds fine now but we missed an opportunity to get a run in tonight that's just killing us. We have a lot of things we need to catch up on and now we're behind the learning curve for two runs instead of one. We have a good combination based on what we ran in Houston. This track looks like it's awful good and I don't think too many cars got a hold of it in that first session. It will be really fast out there tomorrow, I just we have enough clutch to get down it."

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing/Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird) - "It wasn't pretty but it went down through there. We got a baseline and I'm more comfortable with that than if we hadn't made a complete pass. The air is so good, and we're making so much power that the track won't hold it. We shook pretty bad in first and second and the car went left out of the groove. For as bad as the run was I was actually happy with the number (6.923 e.t.). We're working on trying to make it better and hopefully this weather will hold out so we can make another run tonight. We've had a consistency in qualifying the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird and we sure would like to keep the streak going. Especially at a track like this where lane choice could be crucial on raceday. We're going to have to run better than a 6.92 because that's not going to be good enough to stay in. There are a lot of good cars out there. This year we've taken a conservative approach, and downtrack we were close but we had too much wheel spin on the starting line. This car, in the past when I shift into second gear would still run fast, come out of it and run well. Today it just went out of control in low, went left and never grabbed the track in second gear. I have to believe we lost two or three hundredths and that's there's some left in it." No. 11 qualifier - 6.923ET/198.17MPH

Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) - "That was a real good run for us, especially with the weather conditions and the fact that we may not get all four runs. It's nice to get this Reher-Morrison Firebird started off on the right track. Coming back and looking at the run it appears that there was room for improvement, but when we made it I felt it was about as good as we could run. You're never disappointed when you start off good, and you'd like to be low e.t. and top speed but we'll take that kind of lap every time. The nice thing about these conditions is that every session will be pretty close. If we get all of our sessions in then it will be another tight field. I'd be surprised if the bump wasn't another low 6.90. We try to be conservative enough on the first run to get down and get our information. We've been bitten in years past by trying to hit the home run, but we've decided that it's in our best interest to be a little more conservative, get that first run in and adjust from there. I think the air feels better than what it actually is. It was almost 1200 corrected feet on our gauge, and it is cool but it's real damp and it's real humid. Plus there's a low pressure system that is only giving us a 2960 barometer. But if you give everybody a few shots to get adjusted then the good cars are all going to be right there." No. 4 qualifier - 6.902ET/199.11MPH


Jerry Toliver (WWF Pontiac Firebird) - "That was the entire purpose of us running the 2000 Pontiac Firebird. We had fears of spinning the tire here with the bad track conditions, so we decided to go to the Pontiac at the last race using the time in between events to take it to the wind tunnel. It definitely has more downforce and on the slippery track we had today it worked fine. It was straight, true and stuck right to the surface. It wasn't all over the place like a lot of cars were today so we think it worked. We have a very stable and consistent program. I think we've shown that we have a car that's run on a string at about every race - we haven't fallen off at all. The only race that we may have fallen off was by chance at Las Vegas where we broke the blower belt. If that blower belt had not broken the WWF can would have been right there in the final round. Our car is running hard, it's running good, it's running consistent and Dale (Armstrong) knows how to tune it up on raceday. He's a good Sunday racer that knows how to get the job done. Our goal for tomorrow is to stay No. 1. We'll see what the weather brings us. We have a tune up lap now and if it doesn't get too warm, or if the track doesn't get too hot, we should be able to improve. At least we got a good one in today, but there's a lot left in our racecar. We were hoping tonight that the conditions would come around so that we could make another lap, but unfortunately Mother Nature said no." No. 1 qualifier - 4.920ET/303.91MPH

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "We had a clutch deal there. Our timers malfunctioned and brought the clutch in way too fast too early, like almost all at once. All the car could do was blow the tires off. We weren't on a phenomenal pass anyway. We were pretty much taking a blind stab at this track and the computer doesn't look like we were going to run any better than a mid 5.0 or so. So we'll fix the clutch timers, take a good hard look at Frankie's data and take another shot. Problem is, in this weather the track might be impossible tonight. We'll see how cold and wet it is." No. 15 qualifier

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "It was running a nice 4.98 or so, just nice and easy as could be, and then the belt broke around 1000 feet. We'll have to take a good hard look at everything to see if there was a reason for the belt to come off or if it just broke all by itself. I'm happy with the performance though. Dave Fletcher put a great racecar under me in conditions a lot of other teams couldn't handle." No. 5 qualifier - 5.089ET/267.85MPH


Cory McClenathan (MBNA/Pontiac) - "That was a pretty good start for the MBNA/Pontiac team. We were a little nervous watching the first two pairs out there - they weren't going very far. Only one car made it downtrack before we ran and we were the fifth pair, so we feel pretty good about that. Wes (Cerny) told me to make it down through there, and if it nosed over to shut it off. We had it pretty tuned up and the car did just that. Even clicking it off early, and pedaling it once we were still able to run a pretty good number (4.688 e.t.). We're okay with that. It's a good start and if we get a chance tonight we'll step on it a little bit to see what it will do. I'd have to say that we like this place. Even though we've only raced here for five years, I have more wins here than any other track. I kind of like to think of Richmond as where we get started and the beginning of our season. As things have gone so far this year we could use a win. We also do well in Atlanta so it would be nice to come out of these next two events with a pair of strong outings." No. 5 qualifier - 4.688ET/281.13MPH

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Mike Thomas , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Del Worsham , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Gary Densham , Todd Paton , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , George Marnell , Jerry Toliver , Cristen Powell