Sears Point: Pontiac Racing Sunday notes and quotes

SONOMA, Calif. (August 6, 2000) - Final Eliminations were completed today for the 13th annual FRAM Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California. PRO STOCK Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "We...

SONOMA, Calif. (August 6, 2000) - Final Eliminations were completed today for the 13th annual FRAM Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California.

PRO STOCK

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "We were trying to calm down the car without hurting the performance too much - that was our only chance of getting down this racetrack. We had the second slowest 60-foot time in the first round - 1.077 seconds. The tires made a full turn before the car even moved, and that just killed the reaction time. We can live with tire spin, but we need to get the car to move at the initial hit of the clutch. "

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "You can't win races if you can't get down the racetrack. We absolutely struggled all weekend at it and never made a good run. We got lucky and got the Summit Racing Firebird past first round, but you can't win races or go rounds that way. We're glad to be done with the Western swing. We've had a real tough road trip, qualifying at all three races, but probably performing the worst we have all year. We're ready to get a little closer to home and maybe we can rebound."

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "We changed bars and the Eagle One Firebird just went straight up in the air. We got screwed up this weekend. It's just so frustrating. We got a little lost. The car moved instantly or something. Instead of going out it went up. We had a bad day. We didn't have any clutch so that's why it went up in the air. I just don't know. We will get it together. We've got to move the bars around. We could've and should've ran faster. We will keep working on it you can count on that!"

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "The Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird was the best it had been all weekend. We fought for three days to get the car down the track and be smooth, and every run we had too much clutch in the car. Finally, first round today we changed the chassis around, even put a little more clutch in the car and still managed to burn the clutch up, so obviously we had something wrong in the chassis. The chassis was set up wrong and was causing it to shake. Then we got the chassis working right and it burned the clutch up. The car had a lot more potential to go faster then a 6.97, and either the track was better or the chassis was better. I can't tell because we only ran one round. I think we just had the chassis set up wrong all weekend and got it right today. But now we go on to Brainerd and that's a whole different thing. We're just going to try and keep the right attitude and go from there."

FUNNY CAR

Al Hofmann (Mooneyes/Red Oil Pontiac Firebird) - "The good thing is that we did get qualified, and we didn't blow anything up, but man we need to start winning some races. It isn't the lack of trying, the whole team is trying. We just need a little bit of luck. It seems like as soon as we get a handle on it we get to a track that no one can get down. NHRA needs to make some big changes. These people pay good money to see good racing, they don't want to see tires smoking."

Bruce Sarver (e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird) - "We had a wild ride that first round. It was interesting but we got the win light. We didn't change anything on the e-moola.com Firebird for the second round but calm it down a little bit. The right lane is just junk! We just need to regroup and kick some butt in Brainerd."

Tommy Johnson (Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "The run wasn't bad. It wasn't quite as good as we expected. We had higher hopes for the Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird after last weekend, but the racetrack threw us a curve. The car got down there and we got it in the show, and that's the main goal. We did everything we could since we were facing (John) Force. Most of the time if you're going to beat him he has to have a problem and he had an almost perfect run. The right lane kind of bit us too. I think almost every Funny Car in the right lane smoked the tires. The combination of the track conditions, and the fact that we didn't qualify well enough to get lane choice is disappointing but overall it was an ok weekend. We got in the show but you always expect more."

Cruz Pedregon (Teller Quick Pontiac Firebird) - "Overall the weekend was good for the Teller Quick Pontiac Firebird. We always want to win, that's why we are here. But the fact is that I am running on a tight budget, although the equipment on the car doesn't know that. We just don't have all the depth. I think we had a pretty good performance. I think what threw us off today was that this is only my second race that I've qualified for and we just don't have that rhythm yet of changing to the track conditions. It got cooler today by quite a bit. The better team won today. Our philosophy is that we're out there to try and win and not waiting for the other guy to bobble. I think the car smoked the tires because it was weak. But overall it was a good weekend for us."

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "I am stunned. I'm totally and utterly stunned. I absolutely can't believe he got there first, it's just unbelievable. We had a perfect plan, and I was flying past him at the finish line. Our clutch had just a little problem at halftrack, enough to slow me down just a little bit out there, but then it locked up and the car was flying. And he beats us by 2-thousnadths of a second. We ran better then five of the other seven first round winners and this is what we get for it. Last weekend we lost in the second round by 12-thousandths, this made that look like a run-away."

Dale Creasy Jr. (MAD Magazine Pontiac Firebird) - "I had (Whit) Bazemore covered, but got real close to the wall and I had to lift or I was going to hit. I got back after it, but it got away from me. I quit running and it covered my windshield with oil. I couldn't see anything. It got my attention because when you are going 280mph and you can't see anything - that makes it kind of scary. So I just pulled the chutes and hit on the brakes and did everything I could to make it stop. We could've beat him. I don't know what happened. It doesn't look like anything major but I can't tell right now. The racetrack just wasn't there. It hasn't been all weekend. I never say anything bad about racetracks and the people that run them, but they need to do something to this place. It's been bad for several years and this year it was worse. When every pair of Funny Cars go down the track and smoke the tires, that means it's the track not the car. We could've beat him and he knows that. We left dead even. That was my first race all year and my emotions were so high. But everything worked out great. We had the best looking car out there all weekend. I'm not disappointed about what happened, I'm disappointed about why it happened. We'll fix it and we'll be back."

Gary Densham (NEC Pontiac Firebird) -"We get our new 2000 Firebird next week. Life will be great, we'll go fast and win some races. Sounds like a plan to me. Overall it was a decent weekend. The track obviously wasn't that great. But the neat thing about it, was that it was bad for everyone and it made it more equal for everyone. We are just ready to get our new Pontiac Firebird! We're going home Monday, and we're going to get it ready for Brainerd. So I'm boosting my team up and trying to get them to stay pumped up for the rest of the season. I think that our new body will help us a lot."

TOP FUEL

Cory McClenathan (MBNA/Pontiac Dragster) - "We just didn't get it done. That right lane just wasn't any good. I hate it for MBNA and Pontiac. My team works so hard at getting this car down the racetrack and then for us not to get it done is just frustrating. Hopefully we can get this turned around. The West Coast swing is tough and I'm glad that it's over."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Ron Krisher , Tommy Johnson , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan