Sonoma: David Baca preview

No place like home for Baca SONOMA, Calif. - THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME! So says David Baca, who brings his Henkelman & Baca Motorsports American Racing/Waterloo Tool Storage/Skill Clean Top Fuel dragster to his home track at Infineon Raceway...

No place like home for Baca

SONOMA, Calif. - THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME! So says David Baca, who brings his Henkelman & Baca Motorsports American Racing/Waterloo Tool Storage/Skill Clean Top Fuel dragster to his home track at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. for this weekend's NHRA Fram Autolite Nationals.

Both Baca and his partner Rick Henkelman are native Californians - Baca, born in Concord, currently resides in Brentwood, while Henkelman was born in Hemet in Southern California but is a life-long resident of the Bay Area, currently residing in San Jose.

Baca says there are good and bad when you run at your home track. "It's always a challenge when you come home," reflected Baca. "The best part is that you get to be with your family and friends and sleep in your own bed. It is much different than being on the road. But it's always a challenge.

"My company is based here and we've invited a lot of clients out this weekend for hospitality. Our primary sponsor, American Racing, was founded in South San Francisco and is bringing all that group up. Plus, we invited a lot of local area companies out to show them racing NHRA style, and hopefully get them excited enough to become part of our program. It becomes a fine line between the hospitality and racing, but come race day, I'll have my game face on."

Baca, 43, the oldest driver among this year's "rookie of the year" candidates and a strong contender for the AAA Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, is eighth in the Top Fuel POWERade point standings with 638 points, 12 behind seventh, 16 behind sixth and only 83 out the top five.

In seven of the 14 races contested thus far in 2003, Baca has qualified in the top half of the 16-car Top Fuel eliminator ladder seven times and has advanced to the semifinal round three times.

"We haven't had a drag racing team in Northern California in a number of years and we want to do our best to represent the people of this area in a way that they'll be proud of," added Baca. "It would be a fantasy weekend if we could take the Top Fuel crown in front of the hometown fans. Then we can definitely say, 'There's no place like home.' "

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Series NHRA
Drivers David Baca