Seattle: Pontiac Racing saturday final notes and quotes

SEATTLE (July 28, 2000) - Qualifying for the Prolong Superlubricants Northwest Nationals was completed today at Seattle International Raceway. In Pro Stock, Ron Krisher holds on to the No. 1 qualifying position with his Eagle One Pontiac Firebird...

SEATTLE (July 28, 2000) - Qualifying for the Prolong Superlubricants Northwest Nationals was completed today at Seattle International Raceway. In Pro Stock, Ron Krisher holds on to the No. 1 qualifying position with his Eagle One Pontiac Firebird with an elapsed time of 6.907 seconds at 199.32 mph. Kurt Johnson is qualified second, Jeg Coughlin is third, Warren Johnson and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird moved up to fourth, and Richie Stevens is fifth in the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird. Jim Yates is qualified sixth, Bruce Allen is 12th, Mark Pawuk is 13th and Tom Martino is 14th.

In Funny Car, Whit Bazemore in a Camaro holds the No. 1 qualifying spot with a track record elapsed time of 4.875 seconds at 306.81mph. John Force is second, Jerry Toliver and the WWF Pontiac Firebird is third, Bruce Sarver is fourth in the emoola.com Pontiac Firebird, and Del Worsham driving the Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird is fifth. Frank Pedregon is ninth, Al Hofmann is 10th, Cruz Pedregon is 15th, and Tommy Johnson Jr. is 16th.

In Top Fuel, the No. 1 qualifier is Gary Scelzi with an elapsed time of 4.652 seconds at 312.64 mph. Doug Kalitta is qualified second, Cory McClenathan is third in the MBNA Pontiac dragster, Larry Dixon is fourth, and Bob Vandergriff is fifth.

PRO STOCK

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "The track is virtually the same as it was last year. When you walk the track, the bumps don't look too bad. Apparently the tires were slipping and gripping which makes the cars bounce. I believe we wounded an engine on Friday night because the car was quick at the start of the run and then the times fell off as the car went down the track. We changed motors on Saturday morning just for insurance. Our performance improved relative to the competition today, so I'd say we're at least going in the right direction. Now we just have to remember what we did!" No. 4 qualifier - 6.921ET/199.32MPH

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing/Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird) - "I don't feel real comfortable with where we are in the field. We've been fighting this thing since Denver and we just can't make good runs. We can't get it off the starting line. When you are 22nd at 60-foot and 7th on the back half, you can tell that the power isn't the problem. We've got something going on right now and we are lost right. We can't seem to get the car under control at the starting line. We're just blowing the tires off and shaking real bad. It's just bugging me, we make a good run and we know we can run faster. We're going to make some changes to get this Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird off the starting line and try and get a good run in." No. 13 qualifier - 6.947ET/197.80MPH

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "Mike (Edwards) pretty much was counting on the left lane and we were counting on the right to be the lane to be in all weekend. It looks like that the left lane is a couple hundredths off from the right lane. I am looking at tomorrow as one round at a time. But I know Mike really wants to win this race. I'm not sure why, but I know he really wants this race. We like race day conditions. We didn't have a good run that last session but that doesn't bother me. I know going into tomorrow's first round we'll be fast. I am absolutely positive of it. If you watch race day, if there's anything I am confident about, it's my team putting this Eagle One Pontiac Firebird down the racetrack. We will be all right tomorrow. If you watch us on race day - we are usually pretty awesome." No. 1 qualifier - 6.907ET/199.32MPH

Jim Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - "I felt pretty good today. In the first session this morning, we were in the top four cars down the track and I don't think we were in the good lane. I think when we get over in that other lane tomorrow and make a good run we'll have the advantage over the slower cars. It's just a matter of me driving good and trying to get a win. This track will change a lot between now and tomorrow. If the sun comes out early tomorrow morning, the track will go away real quick. You just have adapt to it. The first round is a gambling round. You may have to make a complete different change in the car to run tomorrow than you did today. This evening was a good indication of what we can expect. We made two pretty good runs we just have to figure out which one to go with in the first round." No. 6 qualifier - 6.929ET/198.93 mph.

Richie Stevens (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - "This track is very tricky and when it's hot like it was today then lane choice can be the difference between winning and losing. I wouldn't be surprised at all if lane choice plays a huge role tomorrow. I'm glad we're in the field solidly. I'm feeling really good about our chances. This old Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird has been so consistent, which is exactly what we wanted. It's run a 6.93, 6.92, and two 6.95s, in that order. That kind of consistency is what wins races. That's definitely how we've won races before in the past. We weren't always the quickest or the fastest car at the meet but we're always consistent. I'll be happy if we can maintain it tomorrow. We've had a good year and I'm happy we're in the top 10 (currently eighth). Now it's time to go some rounds at every race and get a win or two. That will help us move up in the standings and finish the year strong. Before you know it we'll be out of races so it's time to step it up right now. Tomorrow will be a good test." No. 5 qualifier -6.927ET /197.22MPH

Brad Jeter (Dynagear Pontiac Firebird) - "We're going to make a few changes, but right now we're really scratching our heads trying to figure out what's going on. We made an awesome run in the lane as far as how the clutch set up is supposed to work. We need to make some carburetor adjustments and timing. We definitely need to improve and get into the show. I think the track conditions are about the same as they were yesterday. We changed transmissions last night and what we thought we had in the car was not exactly what we had in the car. The bottom of the transmission was marked wrong as far as what gear ratios were inside the case. That costs us qualifying in the top half of the field right there or even qualifying last night at all. We changed engines for today and it's as good if not better than the other. We have enough power to get into the field we just need to fine tune the engine and see where that gets us." No. 20 qualifier - 6.973ET/197.74MPH

Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) - "This is a race where we were able to make the field on horsepower, because our Century 21 Firebird was out of control during qualifying. It was spinning the tires, slipping the clutch, bouncing and moving around every time out. I know this track has a reputation as a difficult surface, and I'd love to blame it on that, but there were other competitors who were able to negotiate it. But we're far from giving up. We have a tough competitor in the first round tomorrow in Jeggie (Coughlin), so we are going to work late tonight completely changing the tune-up. We're changing everything but the paint job and the driver, looking to find a set-up that will do a better job of getting us down the track. The first round tomorrow will tell us just how good a job we did." - No. 14 qualifier - 6.954ET/198.20MPH

Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) - "Yesterday afternoon we made a better run. We improved our position in the field and ran decent. This morning we were the first pair out there, we were in the right lane and got a little more aggressive because we thought we needed to step up a little bit. The atmospheric conditions weren't better, but to run better we needed to be more aggressive. But as it turned out we were too aggressive. We went out there and spun out in low gear and started shaking. This afternoon we should run well. We run after the Fuel cars and we're going to make some adjustments and see if we can improve. Last night we made a decent run but we certainly could've run a 6.92. Today that was what we were going for was to try to get it all and we were too aggressive. There wasn't that much out there. Some cars did better but for the most part they didn't. It's one of those deals where when you are qualified in the middle its not going to do any good to go out there and run slow, people are still going to go faster. We were letting the track come to us so to speak, and it just wasn't as good as we thought it would be so we over powered it. We're going to make some rational decisions on where to go with things and see if we can't improve. I think we can." No. 12 qualifier - 6.946ET/198.47MPH

FUNNY CAR

Jerry Toliver (WWF "The Rock" Pontiac Firebird) - "If we can run consistent 4.90's tomorrow, we'll win this race. We know things are getting tight right now. At the moment, we're right in the middle of the Western Swing (Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco) and the rounds are becoming more precious every race. I can only speak for our team, but if we can put a significant point distance on the rest of the field tomorrow and keep building on it; it will be tough for them to catch us in the battle for Funny Car dominance."

Tommy Johnson (Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird) - "Finally! It was getting there and we're just now getting things figured out. We have the new 2000 Pontiac Firebird on know and that helps a lot, especially here -- the track conditions are the best here and the new body is helping us out. I shut it off a little early because I thought someone was yelling at me on the radio, but they weren't, it was just static. But we're in the show. It finally got down the track all the way and it has a different chassis, which is different than what we had and works a lot better. Now we can finally get going and do something. You have to have something to tune first. We can improve on the 5.21. If we would have pedaled it all the way through the finish line it would've ran a high teen. The weather isn't going to get any better. Actually it might help us because there are a couple of guys that could bump us out, and they are going to have problems. We will just have to wait and see." No. 16 qualifier - 5.219ET/233.60MPH

Cruz Pedregon (Teller Quick Pontiac Firebird) - "We're always confident when we go to the line with the Teller Quick Pontiac Firebird. I feel that if this car makes a solid run we will be competitive. We are having trouble with the car going left, so we need to fix that. We need to have a strong engine. We feel good; we stand as good as a chance as anybody to win the first round, but I can tell you this we are going to be aggressive. I just talked to my crew chief, and told him I wanted to be aggressive. I want to go up and beat the other driver. I want to make a race out of it. We're kind of an unknown team, but we've invested a lot into this race, so we'll see what happens tomorrow." No. 15 qualifier - 5.175ET/265.64MPH

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "That's pretty incredible considering what we did. With Rob Flynn here helping us now, after the 4.99 last night we decided we could use today to try some ideas of his. We made some major changes to the way we run the Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird, major difference in how we get the horsepower to the track and how we make the combination work. It was about as big of a change in our overall approach as we've ever made, and the thing went right out there and cruised right down the track. It was a beautiful run. I won't say I was expecting it to not make it or smoke the tires, I know Rob has had a lot of success with the way he tunes the motor and clutch, but I wasn't sue what it would do. We absolutely need to find a way to run the numbers we've been running without hurting so many parts, and that's what this approach was about. To do what we just did is very promising."

Second Session: "OK, I have a quiz for you. How can a blower explosion be attributed to driver error? Answer: When the driver is the person who tightened the blower injector down and left the ratchet and socket in the injector for the run! It was me, all me, and I'm not proud of it. I was tightening the injector before the run and got sidetracked and forgot I left a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket in there. The thing just rode along through the burnout and back up, and about a second into the run when it finally got into the blower and 'BANG' it knocked the blower off the block and threw the body into the air. We were driving back after we got towed off the track and I was thinking out loud wondering what could possibly have happened. Then it hit me... We stopped our tow vehicle, walked back to the racecar, reached in the injector, and pulled out a Mac Tools ratchet. I don't know what happened to the socket. Unbelievable..." No. 5 qualifier - 4.994ET/285.77MPH

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "It was flying to half-track, it was on about as good a run as anyone has made here, but then we were obviously just a bit too aggressive past half-track because it started to haze the tires down there. It gets to over-revving and bouncing around when that happens and that took care of any big number we might have posted. Way after the finish line, with my foot totally off the pedal, the motor coughed and banged the blower pretty hard. We actually got lucky, because we had enough stuff going wrong at that point that it probably should have detonated and all it did was lift the blower and dented the pistons. We must have been pretty aggressive to get this 2000 Firebird to haze the tires, because no car out here has as much down force as our Pontiac. You have to work at it pretty hard to spin the tires with these Pontiac bodies." No. 9 qualifier - 5.051ET/289.20MPH

Dale Creasy Jr. (MAD Magazine Pontiac Firebird) - "I think we are ok. We got the car running pretty good, it's just too lean, and we hurt a crankshaft. We're putting a different motor in it and hopefully everything is the same it so it will go again. We went 5.25; we are getting back to where we need to be we just have to keep plugging away at it. I think the conditions will be worse tonight but we are just going to have to adjust and see what happens. The car definitely has more power." No. 19 qualifier - 5.257ET/278.92MPH

Gary Densham (NEC Pontiac Firebird) - The car was running pretty good early, but its just not making it through. We've got some problems and we're definitely looking forward to getting the new body for Brainerd, which should help cure some of the problems. Some of it's probably our stupidity and some of it is because we need to get all the help we can get and yet the car wants to perform pretty good until it gets loose then it smokes the tires. It's just frustrating right now. We've got one more try at it and we won't ever give up. " No. 17 qualifier - 5.234ET/285.77MPH

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Tommy Johnson , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Jerry Toliver , Bob Vandergriff