PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 1998 FRAM ROUTE 66 NATIONALS FRIDAY, MAY 29, 1998 JOLIET, ILLINOIS PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) This track is probably not as green as everyone thinks it is. As these tracks are being built,...
PONTIAC NOTES & QUOTES 1998 FRAM ROUTE 66 NATIONALS FRIDAY, MAY 29, 1998 JOLIET, ILLINOIS
Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird) This track is probably not as green as everyone thinks it is. As these tracks are being built, there is tremendous input from previous facilities that have been resurfaced and track surfaces don’t need the curing that they have required in the past. This race track is a testament to the people who installed this facility. They really did their homework as far as getting the track race ready. I was here Wednesday for the press conference and after looking at the track my only concern was whether or not the rubber on the track would stay adhered to the concrete because of the fact this concrete was poured as late as October. There are a few bald spots, but nothing worse than any other track we race on. We have a safe setup on the GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird that will just about go down any race track. There’s a little bit left in it, but I expect that everyone probably took that same approach, and that’s where the rest of the field is right now. If we have any improvement in weather conditions, I think you’ll see the times pick up maybe two hundredths of a second.
Bruce Allen (Outlaw Pontiac Firebird) It’s a good feeling making a decent run right out of the box, the key now is to stay on top of it. We’ll be in a little bit of a disadvantage tonight because we’re the first pair out, and with 19 pairs of cars after us, the air and the track are going to get better. That’s just the luck of the draw and if we can keep track of what’s going on with the weather and the air condition, this Outlaw Pontiac Firebird will make a good run. It’s very touchy keeping on top of the clutch and the car setup, but at least we have a good baseline to work with. You feel like you can hit it closer without having to change a bunch of things. Now we just have to make incremental adjustments when the track warrants it. We’ve done some pretty extensive testing the last couple of weeks. We spent most of our time trying to get back to where we were. Before, we were trying to go faster, and we kind of went over the edge where we changed too many things. That happens sometimes. We now have the car setup to where we had it the last couple of years, where we can make better adjustments. Before, it didn’t matter what we did, we just couldn’t hit the setup right. We’d make our first run and come back and make changes that just compounded the problem. If we can keep on as we are now, we’re going to be all right. The track is good and I was surprised as to how smooth it was for our first time here. It has a nice transition from the concrete pad to the asphalt. Our weather station corrected the altitude at 3600 feet and that’s the quickest we’ve ever run at that number. For a brand new race track, that is really, really good.
Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) We feel like we hit a home run tonight with the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird. We came out in the first round with a brand new block and a brand new crankshaft because we broke our engine in the first round at Englishtown. The guys at the shop have worked all kinds of hours trying to get this thing back together. After the first session, we didn’t run very good and lost oil pressure in high gear. We just didn’t think the engine was right because of the difference in the time compared to everyone else. We checked everything out with the engine, we took the oil pump apart, couldn’t find anything wrong, rolled the dice and took her back up there. We just made a perfect run. It was real smooth and I guess it shows that the engine is all right too. All the guys at the shop and all the guys who take this project on the road, I can’t say enough good things about them. It takes a lot of pressure off tonight making a good run in a very tough class.
Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) That was a good run for the Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird. When we didn’t get it down the track the first run, I felt that Wes (Cerny) would back it down a little bit. It was a good run, best top speed and with this track being new like it is, it’s come in a lot quicker than any track I’ve ever raced on. This place reminds me a lot of Topeka. It’s exactly where it should be and everyone has done their homework getting this place ready. It’s a beautiful place and everyone on the crew can’t believe what a great facility this is. I think what happened to us this afternoon was that we overpowered the track, plain and simple. Wes felt that the early part of the course would be the best part of the race track, so he tried to take advantage of it and it didn’t work out. He went in there, clicked a few things and charged right back. That 4.88 could be a nice little cushion, but with two sessions remaining, anything is possible. Wes definitely has a combination that he knows will work and he doesn’t deviate too much from that. When this Firebird got to three- quarters track, it really accelerated and I could tell it was going to be a good run.
Del Worsham (Checker/Schuck’s/Kragens Pontiac Firebird) It went down the track, it drove real nice, all in all that’s a real plus. We brought this new Firebird out at the last race and never got it down the track, never got it more than 300 feet. So this first pass here was a biggie. We knew we’d get some questions about why we’d bring out a new car after we finally ran a 4.98 in the old car. But the questions were a little more pointed after we went to Englishtown and smoked the tires four times. Life would not have been good if we’d have smoked the tires again here. We studied this animal, made some changes, and hoped for the best. A 5.12 is fine for now, we can try to tune the car up now instead of down.
Second Session: We got ourselves some confidence back with the first pass and decided to step on it for tonight. Well we stepped on it pretty good, it was hauling and those were the best incrementals out to about half-track that we’ve ever run. But, then we were incredibly lucky and unlucky all at the same time. About half track it blew a fuel line clean out and shut itself off. We are one lucky team to have a race car right now. It’s beyond me how it just shut off without making a bomb of itself. Dale Creasy, Jr. (Creasy Racing Pontiac Firebird) We had a magneto go bad before the run, we’re not sure why yet because we’re still testing it. It might have been something as simple as a rotor. It’s really disappointing because we’re going out there in front of our home town crowd and we were all pumped. We just wanted this Pontiac Firebird to do well. We know that all of our friends and family are out here this weekend, so we want to put on a good performance. One of the mags worked because we started it during warm up. We start off with one mag, we warm the car up, and then we alternate when we start it up for the next run. When we went to start it, it wouldn’t fire so there was no sense in trying to hurt it. The systems that we have nowadays pump in so much fuel that if you take away even half the spark, it has no where to go and it just hydraulics it.