Outlaw machine steals first-round win SEATTLE â€“ The chase for the title of the Prolong Super Lubricants Nationals began in earnest Sunday morning with Round 1 of elimination racing taking place under picture-perfect conditions at ...
Outlaw machine steals first-round win
SEATTLE – The chase for the title of the Prolong Super Lubricants Nationals began in earnest Sunday morning with Round 1 of elimination racing taking place under picture-perfect conditions at Seattle International Raceway. Team Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Bruce Allen returned to the form that earned him the overall No. 4 position a year ago when he won his first elimination round race in five events. Meanwhile, Top Fuel pilot Eddie Hill and Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas both had traction problems in the opening session and we’re eliminated.
Here’s a recap of Round 1 action from S.I.R.
Bruce Allen, the driver of the Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac, snatched a first-round win away from the current No. 2 driver in the class when he beat Jeg Coughlin, 7.011 seconds to 9.605 seconds. After qualifying ahead of Allen, Coughlin had selected the left-hand lane for Sunday’s opener. But he quickly slipped out of the groove and headed for the retaining wall forcing him to decelerate. The win by Allen leveled the season series between the two drivers to one win each.
“We got down the track but we need to do a lot better if we want to keep racing,” Allen said. “That run was pretty sloppy. We shook the tires and bounced all over the place at the other end, which hurt our time. I feel like we can run a lot better then we just ran. I’ll tell you, it sure feels great to win a round. It’s been a long time coming.”
Allen will face Kurt Johnson in the quarterfinals. Johnson advanced with a 6.942-second win over Larry Morgan. Johnson’s time was the quickest time of the first round. Allen and Johnson have not raced each other in 1998. “I don’t even look at who I’m running,” Allen said. “It doesn’t matter to me. Everyone out here is very tough.”
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, ran an identical elapsed time - 6.973 seconds - as his competitor, Mike Edwards, but lost on a slower reaction time, 0.491 seconds to 0.458 seconds. It was a disappointing end to a race weekend that saw Thomas card the second quickest time of the Pro Stock class.
“The hole-shot (reaction time advantage) doesn’t matter,” Thomas said. “I should have and could have run a 6.92 at least. But I just overestimated the track and ended up spinning the tires like crazy at the starting line. I didn’t think I’d ever get through first gear. The track is just way too hot and it wouldn’t hold. We were okay down track, but the starting line was loose. I’m ready to go home and forget about this. This absolutely stinks. We sure wanted to do a lot more during this West Coast swing. Now, we’ve cut our margin-of-error room down a bunch for the rest of the year.”
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, missed a golden opportunity to beat the current Winston points leader in Round 1 when Hill smoked his tires at the starting line. His opponent, Cory McClenthan, started strong but eventually blew his motor just past the halfway point of the quarter-mile strip. He limped across the finish line in a beatable 4.988 seconds at 218.23 mph. Unfortunately, Hill was unable to recover from his loss of traction on the launching pad and he was forced to shut his motor down at the 330-foot mark. Hill officially ran a 9.958-second lap at 72.45 mph.
“That certainly wasn’t what we were looking for,” Hill said. “He was vulnerable and we had a great shot at beating him. We should have been better on our tune-up. We used the same set-up as yesterday when we ran well but smoked the tires at the long end. All we did was address the down-track smoke problem. We thought we’d be okay. But I puffed the tires right at the line and then they completely let go shortly after that. The track didn’t hold the same amount of power as it did yesterday. That’s strange because the track is usually in the best shape of the weekend during Sunday’s first round. We’ll just have to put this behind us and move on. It’s discouraging but I’m sure we’ll be okay by the time we get to Brainerd.”