Baca advances to second round -- Satisfied with outing KENT, Wash. (July 25, 2004) -- When qualifying began on Friday for the 17th annual NHRA CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals, there where many unknown for both drivers and crew chiefs...
Baca advances to second round -- Satisfied with outing
KENT, Wash. (July 25, 2004) -- When qualifying began on Friday for the 17th annual NHRA CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals, there where many unknown for both drivers and crew chiefs alike.
First, the concrete and asphalt of the venerable Seattle track was resurfaced during the off-season. Add to that the fact that NHRA mandated a safety measure to slow the nitro cars by lowering the nitromethane fuel mixture percentage from 90-percent to 85-percent. Finally, add to the mixture heat and humidity.
By the end of qualifying the crew chiefs had found some answers and drivers were starting to throw accolades toward the Pacific Raceways quarter-mile. But the 85-percent rule was still suspect.
Today as we head into eliminations, weather conditions have changed and co-crew chief of the D. Baca & Family dragster Rick Henkelman hopes he has made the right moves for today's conditions.
"It was a double whammy between the heat and rule changes. We struggled all through qualifying with the 85-percent rule and the high temperatures didn't help. Now we have to readjust to lower temperatures. Hopefully, the changes we have made are the right ones," said Henkelman.
David Baca, behind the wheel of the D. Baca & Family Top Fuel dragster, took on Brandon Bernstein in the opening round.
Henkelman made the right call as David "the Spoiler" Baca turned back Bernstein on a hole shot. Baca left on Bernstein when he recorded a reaction time of .071 to .135 of a second for Bernstein. Baca's elapsed time was 4.857 seconds, while Bernstein recorded a 4.819 seconds. Margin of victory went to Baca by .036 of a second.
Next up in the second round, Baca took on Scott Kalitta.
Baca got away first against Kalitta. There was only one problem. He left before the Christmas tree (timing lights) was activated thus fouling away a chance at victory.
"Live by the sword, die by the sword...Live by the light, die by the light," said Baca. The Kalitta family is just as aggressive as the Baca family and they don't forget. I guess that was my payback for a previous win against the Kalitta family. Even though it didn't count, that was our best run of the weekend. We're getting the bugs worked out and I think we'll have a good hot rod for next weekend. I'm satisfied with this outing."
The D. Baca & Family team now move to their home track Infineon Raceway for the third event on three consecutive weekend's when the 17th annual FRAM Autolite Nationals which unfolds July30-August 1.
D. Baca & Family is pleased to be associated throughout the remainder of the 2004 season with marketing support from Champion Spark Plugs, Don Steves Chevrolet (La Habra, Calif.), Goodyear, Lucas Oil and Mac Tools.