Richmond Team Pennzoil Friday Update

Team Pennzoil sputters through Day 1 RICHMOND, Va. (April 30) -- Perhaps trying too hard to impress their sponsor, the Pennzoil stable of professional drivers started the first day of qualifying for the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented...

Team Pennzoil sputters through Day 1

RICHMOND, Va. (April 30) -- Perhaps trying too hard to impress their sponsor, the Pennzoil stable of professional drivers started the first day of qualifying for the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto with a pair of sub-par sessions. All three Pennzoil-sponsored drivers in attendance failed to take advantage of the cool temperatures that produced record-breaking elapsed times and speeds in almost every professional class.

Here's the latest news from Pennzoil's pit row at Virginia Motorsports Park.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, followed up a first-round pass of 4.765 seconds at 301.60 mph with a tire-smoking, shut-off lap in Round 2. Hill's opening time was good enough for seventh place in the 17-car field, but left him wishing for more.

"The track cooled so much in the time we were waiting in line that we just over-powered her when we got up there," Hill said. "Being the first pair in that second session didn't allow us to see what anyone else was doing and it was basically a run off of instinct alone. We tried to use these conditions to really a make a big run but we just missed the mark a little."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, was slowed by mechanical gremlins in Round 2 after fighting off traction problems in Round 1. His best pass of the day was a 9.023-second lap at 101.39 mph in the second session.

"What a waste of a day," Thomas said. "We had the bad lane in Round 1 and then we come up here in Round 2 and my line-lock (front wheel) brake gets stuck on during the burnout. I was beating on the shifter to try and dislodge the brake but it was jammed. I tried to make the run any ways hoping that when I launched it would come free, but it didn't. So far we just look stupid out there and this is the last race where we want to look bad."

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, lost traction almost immediately during both of his opening day runs. He finished just behind Thomas in the standings with a lap of 9.230 seconds at 101.48 mph.

"I've been frustrated before but this is a new low," Allen said. "I'm sick of making excuses and I won't make any now. We just can't even get more than 30 or 40 feet without something going wrong. I'm really, really disgusted with this car and myself. Usually, you see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I just don't this time. I don't even know if we can work any harder than we are right now."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen