Baca advances to first Top Fuel final SONOMA, Calif. (August 3, 2003) -- David Baca, from nearby Brentwood, Calif., advanced to the final round of the NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals today at Infineon Raceway, in the wine country of Sonoma ...
Baca advances to first Top Fuel final
SONOMA, Calif. (August 3, 2003) -- David Baca, from nearby Brentwood, Calif., advanced to the final round of the NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals today at Infineon Raceway, in the wine country of Sonoma Calif.
Baca, driver of the Henkelman & Baca/American Racing Top Fuel dragster, began his quest for the Top Fuel crown when he squared off against Doug Herbert in the opening round. He had split with Herbert in their four meetings this season.
The pair was even at the green light, the 60-foot and 330-foot mark and half-track. Then Herbert dropped a cylinder and the engine came apart. Meanwhile, Baca raced to the finish line and took the win light.
Next up it was Baca and Doug Kalitta, the number one qualifier at this event. Kalitta got out first at the starting light, but had to drive through some tire shake. That was enough to allow Baca to take the win light in 4.746 seconds.
That moved Baca to the semifinals with Kenny Bernstein as his opponent. Not much difference at the start, with Bernstein taking a slight advantage, but Baca set the pace all the way down the track and crossed the finish line .0112 seconds ahead of Bernstein.
The win propelled Baca to his first Top Fuel final round since turning professional last year against the hottest driver on the POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit, Larry Dixon.
Against Dixon, Baca held his own but in the end it was Dixon. Crew chief on Baca's car, Johnny West was at a lost to say why the American Racing/Waterloo Tool Storage/Skill Clean dragster slowed in that final round. Baca recorded a 4.805 second pass, his slowest since the first round.
"I'm living a dream. What a great way for that first final to happen -- at my home track, before my employees, friends and clients and especially before the hometown fans," said Baca.
"We had some tough players today - Doug Herbert, Doug Kalitta, Kenny Bernstein and then Larry Dixon. It's a great day for Henkelman and Baca Motorsports team based in Northern California. The entire crew got me to the final and I thank them."
"In the finals we thought we were going to run better. I know we're all a little disappointed with the number. We thought we hopped it up."
"The best part of the day is that we leaped frog two drivers. Our goal at the end of this western swing was to be back in the top five in POWERade points. Sixth is close."
With his showing today, Baca, from Brentwood, Calif., jumped two positions and moved into sixth in the point standings with 731 points. He is 42 points behind Tony Schumacher in fifth and 47 behind Cory McClenathan in fourth.
With eight races remain on this year's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule, Baca and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team take a weekend off before traveling to Brainerd, Minn., August 14-17, for the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.