Seattle Mike Ferderer Preview

Ferderer leads Team Pennzoil into his home track SEATTLE (July 23) -- Eddie Hill move over. At least for a few days. During the 12th Annual Prolong Northwest Nationals at Seattle International Speedway July 30-Aug. 1, the most famous name on...

Ferderer leads Team Pennzoil into his home track

SEATTLE (July 23) -- Eddie Hill move over. At least for a few days.

During the 12th Annual Prolong Northwest Nationals at Seattle International Speedway July 30-Aug. 1, the most famous name on Team Pennzoil's roster of drivers will be Buckley, Wash. native Mike Ferderer, the sportsman-class pilot of the Pennzoil Super Gas Pontiac Grand Prix and the Gumout Super Comp Dragster.

Ferderer is currently the top-ranked driver in the world in both the Super Gas and Super Comp divisions. His lofty perch comes courtesy of the six victories he's logged in 1999 -- including the rare double-win he recorded in late June at S.I.R.

"This racetrack has always been a very special part of my life," said Ferderer, the reigning Car Craft Super Gas Driver of the Year. "Hopefully, I can show the same driving ability and, more importantly, have the same luck I had a month ago when I doubled up here.

"Being successful at your home track is a goal all drivers have. Your friends and family always come to the track every day and you want to do well for them. Plus, you have the feeling like you want to defend your home turf. I'm proud to be from Washington and I'd like to keep the trophy of the Northwest Nationals right here. I hope I do well enough to give the fans up here something to cheer about.

"I've always considered it a privilege to be a part of the same team as Eddie Hill, Mike Thomas, Bruce Allen and Bill Kent. It would be great if we could all find a way to put Pennzoil back into Seattle's Winner's Circle."

Aside from his double win in Seattle, Ferderer took the title of a Super Comp race in Tucson, Ariz. and two more Super Comp events in Phoenix. He also carded a Super Gas win in Boise, Idaho.

Here's a quick look at Ferderer's impressive Pennzoil support staff.

Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, is no stranger to S.I.R.'s record book. He has held the track's top speed and quickest elapsed time marks on several occasions and was the No. 1 qualifier of the Northwest Nationals in 1993. His best finish at the track came in '92 when he took runner-up honors.

"We have always loved that track," Hill said. "The fans up there are extremely knowledgeable and the entire complex is just cool place to hang out. It's so beautiful there that going there is more like a vacation than a race.

"Last year we had a real tough time finding traction. Four out of the five laps we ran ended in tire-smokers. This year we have made some serious steps to correct that problem and they have all worked. We hardly ever smoke the tires now and that has me very anxious to get back on the good side of Seattle's track. We're ready to make a big run at the title."

Hill has qualified for 11 events this season and has logged seven elimination round wins. He is currently in 11th place in the Winston championship points standings.

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac, has qualified for four of the last six national events and considers his once-struggling program to be on the upswing as the NHRA circuit arrives in Washington. Allen finished in second place at this event a decade ago and hopes for another title shot during this year's stop.

"This track can be one of the fastest on the tour," Allen said. "Which is good news for us considering how we've been running lately. I feel like we're in the midst of a real rebound right now and this Outlaw Additives machine has proven over the last few events that it has what it takes to run with the best pro stock cars out there.

"The typical weather they get in Washington plays right into our hands. There have been plenty of races there where overcast skies and cool temperatures have helped us run very fast. If we can avoid the rain, this year's event should see some new track records for sure."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, was the second-quickest car in the field one year ago at this event and is hopeful that he can repeat that feat again during this stop in Seattle. At the same time, Thomas would like to improve his results during Sunday's elimination rounds, which saw a disappointing first-round dismissal last year.

"I'm going to Seattle early to make sure I've got this Pennzoil car in perfect shape," Thomas said. "This car has always loved S.I.R. and we always seem to go fast there. I'm also excited about the news coming out of my engine shop. The guy's are sending me two fresh engines they say are producing an enormous amount of horsepower. When we combine our raw horsepower with the abundant supply of oxygen you get in Seattle, we should be flying."

Currently ranked 13th in the Pro Stock class, Thomas enters the Northwest Nationals having qualified for 10 races and won five individual elimination round races in 1999.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen