Sonoma: Scott Geoffrion preview

SONOMA, Calif., July 29, 2003 - It's always something . . . slippery racetracks, bumpy racetracks, heat and humidity, altitude. Ever-changing race conditions are as much a part of NHRA drag racing as the racecars themselves. That's the...

SONOMA, Calif., July 29, 2003 - It's always something . . . slippery racetracks, bumpy racetracks, heat and humidity, altitude.

Ever-changing race conditions are as much a part of NHRA drag racing as the racecars themselves. That's the challenge; to make the cars go down racing surfaces as smooth as glass, as slippery as a skating rink, or, sometimes, as bumpy as a washboard.

Scott Geoffrion and Hurley Blakeney's Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 Pro Stock team are happy to be looking at a smooth track at Infineon Raceway (formerly Sears Point International Raceway), sight of this weekend's Fram/Autolite Nationals. Behind them is the washboard-like track of Pacific Raceways, near Seattle.

While there were good lessons learned at last weekend's event - like how to get the car down a slick, bumpy track without shaking the tires - the prospect of a good track looks good to Geoffrion.

"We know the track will be good at Sonoma," he said. "We should have some different options to try when we get there because we plan to test at Woodburn (Ore.) Tuesday and Wednesday. Bob Panella, our engine builder, has a new motor we'll be trying. This motor showed it has good horsepower."

Geoffrion, who lost Sunday to a driver with a better starting-line reaction time, also planned to work on his reaction times while at Woodburn. "Eric (Luzinksi, crew chief) and I will be trying things to help me at the starting line," he commented.

Allen Johnson used a superb .004 reaction and a 6.872-second, 200.80-mph run to beat Geoffrion's .070 and a 6.857 at 202.85.

"One of these days the driver and the crew will get everything together," Geoffrion said.

"Eric and (car builder) Don Ness put their heads together Friday night and made some huge chassis changes and the car responded well Saturday," Geoffrion added. "The car went down the racetrack twice and both runs were smooth as glass and we qualified 11th with a 6.819, our best run of the weekend."

The car suffered severe tire shake during Friday's two qualifying sessions, necessitating the chassis alterations.

The San Clemente, Calif.-based driver remained eighth in POWERade Series points with 584. He is nine points behind No. 7 Mike Edwards and 55 (less than three rounds) behind No. 5 Ron Krisher's 639.

Geoffrion and the rest of the Pro Stock field take to the track twice Friday for qualifying runs at 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday's two runs are scheduled at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. while Sunday's eliminations begin at noon, an hour later than usual.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Ron Krisher , Hurley Blakeney , Scott Geoffrion , Allen Johnson , Mike Edwards