Thomas posts career-bests, Hill moves up RICHMOND, Va. (May 1) - The cool temperatures that produced a multitude of records on Day 1 of the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto at Virginia Motorsports Park continued Saturday ...
Thomas posts career-bests, Hill moves up
RICHMOND, Va. (May 1) - The cool temperatures that produced a multitude of records on Day 1 of the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto at Virginia Motorsports Park continued Saturday morning for the third round of professional qualifying. The only difference on this day was the clear skies overhead that helped warm the track enough to hold the power of a wider group of drivers.
The enhanced traction certainly helped the Pennzoil stable, which saw improved numbers from all three of its professional drivers. Here's a recap of Team Pennzoil's Round 3 action.
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, had a broad smile on his face after posting his best run of the weekend in Round 3 of 4.642 seconds at 307.79 mph. The run helped the Wichita Falls, Texas, resident move up to the No. 6 spot on the qualifying ladder.
"That's the best run we've had since Gainesville," Hill said. "We finally got the baseline we've been looking for. The ignition fired perfectly and we haven't been able to say that for awhile. We could have been much faster but we set her up for a soft launch to make absolutely certain she wouldn't smoke the tires. Tonight might be a real barn-burner."
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, fought to keep is his car in the groove all the way down the track and was rewarded for his heroic effort with a 6.887-second, 199.70-mph pass. Thomas' posted elapsed time and speed are career best marks for the eight-year pro from Knoxville, Tenn. He is currently in the No. 9 position in the field.
"I probably should have shut her down two or three times," Thomas said. "But as hard as my crew has been working I owed it to them to do everything I could to make a full pass. The guys worked half the night to get this car working right and they did a great job. I don't know how fast we'll go if it will stay straight, but it will certainly be in world record territory."
Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, posted a much-improved lap of 6.935 seconds at 198.20 mph but still found himself outside the field of drivers who have qualified for Sunday's elimination rounds in the No. 21 spot. The current bump spot is 6.925 seconds, making this the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history.
"We're going to have to be awesome to get in," Allen said. "The engine is just a little bit off and we're back behind the lead group of drivers once again. The times are all relative. A 6.935 would win most races easily, but here everyone is running the best times of their lives. We'll be working our tails off to get a little faster. We've still got one more chance to get in."