St. Louis Pontiac-GMC Racing Friday Notes & Quotes

MADISON, Ill. (June 23, 2000) - Qualifying for the 4th Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals was completed today at Gateway International Raceway. In Pro Stock, Ron Krisher took the No. 1 qualifying position in the Eagle One Pontiac Firebird with an...

MADISON, Ill. (June 23, 2000) - Qualifying for the 4th Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals was completed today at Gateway International Raceway. In Pro Stock, Ron Krisher took the No. 1 qualifying position in the Eagle One Pontiac Firebird with an elapsed time of 6.940 seconds at 197.91 mph. Kurt Johnson is qualified second, Jeg Coughlin is third, Rickie Smith is fourth and Mark Pawuk's Summit Racing Firebird is qualified fifth. Richie Stevens is qualified sixth in the Valspar Refinish Firebird, Warren Johnson moves up to seventh, Bruce Allen is ninth, Brad Jeter is 10th, Tom Martino is 14th and Mark Osborne is 15th. Jim Yates was 17th, George Marnell was 19th and Jamie Yates was 28th.

In Funny Car, Jerry Toliver in the WWF Firebird held onto the No. 1 qualifying position with an elapsed time of 4.883 seconds at 303.84 mph. Tony Pedregon is qualified second, Jim Epler is third, John Force is fourth and Bruce Sarver moved up to the No. 5 position in the Pontiac Firebird with a run of 4.956 seconds at 295.27 mph. Frank Pedregon in the CSK Firebird improved to the No. 7 position with an elapsed time of 4.964 seconds at 306.81 mph. Teammate Del Worsham is qualified eighth, Al Hofmann is 11th, John Lawson is 14th, Tim Wilkerson was 17th, Dale Creasy Jr. was 18th, Gary Densham was 19th and Tommy Johnson Jr. was 20th.

In Top Fuel, Cory McClenathan and the MBNA/Pontiac dragster remained in the No. 2 starting position with yesterday's run of 4.608 seconds at 310.84 mph. Joe Amato is the No. q qualifier going into Saturday's eliminations with a lap of 4.602 seconds at 313.51mph. Kenny Bernstein is qualified third, Gary Scelzi is fourth and Bob Vandergriff is fifth.

The Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway is the 12th race on the 23-event NHRA Winston championship tour. Qualifying highlights can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, June 24, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. Television coverage of final eliminations can be seen on Sunday, June25, beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern.


Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird) - "When you look at the big picture, by being able to qualify as well as we did in that session just means we can get down the track in these kind of conditions. At the same time, tomorrow will be a whole different deal. The track was there tonight but the air wasn't. Tomorrow the track probably won't be there and the air will be worse. I expect these cars to slow down pretty good. The big trick here is just getting down the racetrack, and all we've been able to do this weekend is skirt around the combination trying to get that done. Same engine, same transmission, everything else has been the same, it's just been trying to find a clutch and suspension combination to work that will get us down the track. This racetrack has always been sort of a problem child. It goes from nothing, to relatively decent, to where it varies the farther down you go. Trying to get the car off the starting line without getting too much wheel speed, and then being able to maintain enough wheel speed to keep the tires turning down track is the hard part. It's an unusual situation and whoever can master it four times in a row is probably going to be in the driver's seat. Different racetracks, different conditions, it'll either turn your hair white or turn it loose." No. 7 qualifier - 6.980ET/ 197.80MPH

Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing/Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird) -"We made a pretty good run with the Summit Racing/Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird considering the weather conditions. We are trying to get consistency back. For being in the right lane last night we ran pretty good, and we're in the left lane tonight, which seems to be the better lane, so hopefully we'll be able to go a lot faster. We hope to step up tonight, or at least stay where we are in the field going into the race tomorrow. The car felt pretty good. I think we were the fastest car in the right lane, but there are a couple of guys out there that are pretty fast. I don't know if we can catch up with them but if we keep our consistency we know from Columbus that anything can happen on raceday." No. 5 qualifier - 6.973ET/197.48MPH

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird) - "We've had a pretty good weekend so far. Every run was a good run. The air was getting really heavy and with the humidity you can't burn it even if you have a little bit of barometer and I thought we had some. The air's just been terrible all day long. That humidity will kill you more than anything else. The first run started out different, and I don't know how fast the Eagle One Firebird could have gone but there was no point in beating things up when it shook as bad as it did. I wouldn't want to be in the right lane tomorrow but somebody has to be. That right lane is at least two hundredths slower than the left - at least two hundredths. If you don't stay in that groove you don't go as fast as you'd like to go either. We've got good power, good people and a lot of confidence going into tomorrow. Anything can happen through but at least we have a decent shot at it tomorrow and we're catching up on the pack. We have a long ways to go to catch Jeggie (Coughlin) but we're neck and neck with Warren (Johnson)." No. 1 qualifier - 6.940ET/197.91MPH

Brad Jeter (Dynagear Pontiac Firebird) - "We were trying to get the Dynagear Pontiac Firebird ready for tomorrow during that first round because we will be running at about the same time. We're pretty happy with the run we made. We felt like we could have gone a couple hundredths faster, which would've put us right in the thick of things for tomorrow. We ran a 6.99 last night, and the car laid over in low gear, so we felt it could've gone a 6.97, but we're happy with the way things are running. We're going to go out tonight and run good so we can possibly get lane choice for the first round tomorrow. The car is fine. Everyone is working well together. The crew is doing a great job and we are just going to work towards going some rounds tomorrow." No. 10 qualifier - 6.991ET/196.70MPH

Bruce Allen (Reher Morrison Pontiac Firebird) -"It wasn't what we wanted but we were experimenting and moved some links around. We're also trying to work on a tire shaking problem we are having. It might have been better, we really aren't sure because we also broke a valve spring. It wasn't a real good time from 60 to 330 feet, so we don't know if the valve spring broke during that increment and if that affected it or not. I don't know if the session tonight will be better than the session last night because it is a lot warmer today but it will be better than this afternoon. So we're going to go out with the Reher Morrison Pontiac Firebird, give it our best shot and see what we can do." No. 9 qualifier - 6.990ET/197.57MPH

Tom Martino (Century 21 Pontiac Firebird) - "We finally got the car to where it wasn't shutting off after every gear change. We were trying some different carburetors here that we tested with the other day that looked like they were faster. Every time I changed a gear the thing would shut off and then take off. We thought that maybe the engine wasn't any good so we swapped motors. We went out there and it did the same thing. So we went back to our original motor and our 'Old Faithful' carburetors for tonight's run. If we make the same run last night that the Century 21 Pontiac Firebird made tonight we go a 6.97. We went to Indy to test, were the fastest car there and had those carburetors on so we figured they were good. The unfortunate thing is that this is a one lane racetrack. That right side starting line is three hundredths slower than the left side. Hopefully by five o' clock tomorrow it will rain a little bit, the cloud cover will come in and then it'll be a little more even." No. 14 qualifier - 6.999ET/196.44MPH


Jerry Toliver (WWF Pontiac Firebird) - "It feels great anytime you can be number one. We had a good racecar last night running the 4.88. I was extremely happy with the group because we were first pair going out last night and probably had the worst condition of the track. For a car to go out there and run a 4.88 shows the girth of the team and what it's made of. Tonight I wasn't real nervous. I didn't think that we would run better than the 4.88 tonight, but when Tony (Pedregon) ran a 4.91, I thought, 'well he's getting close' and Jim (Epler) ran a 4.92. And then there was good ole Bob Fry and he motivated me when he said 'if he's going to be number one he is going to have to beat (John) Force, good luck.' I wanted to climb out of the car and go get him. Once I revved up the gas and didn't see (John) Force I knew the WWF Firebird was going right down to the finish line because the car was hauling and he was going to have to come real hard to catch us. But the 4.91 tonight is good for us and it feels good. We have a good hot rod and I feel confident about going into final eliminations tomorrow."

John Lawson (Lucas Oil Pontiac Firebird) - "The Lucas Oil Pontiac Firebird is coming around real well. We're working to get it to where it's supposed to be. We are looking forward to the night session to see what happens. The car feels real good. The driver wasn't doing his job during that first run, but next time hopefully we will be awake and the outcome will be a positive one."

Dale Creasy, Jr. (Mad Magazine Pontiac Firebird) - "We tuned the car up a little bit for that run and it did what we told it to do, it just wasn't enough. So we are going to see if we can make a change and not step on our own feet. I don't want to smoke the tires. I'd rather make a run but have it not be good enough than smoke the tires. That way it shows we're at least improving. We didn't hurt it that time and hopefully we can get the Mad Magazine Firebird in the show on the last run. It felt a lot better today than yesterday. It's hard to tell exactly when we haven't gone that fast lately."

Bruce Sarver ( Pontiac Firebird) - "It was a pretty good run. It spun the tires on the other end or the Firebird would have run quicker with more speed, but it's been going down the racetrack on every lap so we're stoked. The car feels excellent. It's straight as an arrow and smooth as glass - so smooth that it actually feels slow but we know that's not the case. We're going for the pole tonight. We had a good hot weather run in the heat of the day when no one else ran in the fours. That tells me that we have the potential to really step it up."

Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) -"Nice and easy in the heat of the day on a slick track. Nothing spectacular but the fact we had top speed of the session tells you these Pontiacs can get through the loose stuff with our downforce. We put maximum wing in it this time, and just went out there conservatively to see what a Round 1 tune-up would be like tomorrow. Like I said, nothing spectacular but we'll take it as a stepping stone."

Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) -"It put two holes out down there near the finish line, which cost us a couple of hundredths. But after smoking th etires twice it was sweet just to go end to end and get solid lap under our belts. We think we've got a lot of room to improve with this tune-up, so we'll go out tonight when it's cooler and try to move up into the middle of the pack. There are some very tough cars down here around us at this end of the qualifying sheet, so it will be a shootout to see who makes this show and who ends up where. After having some vision problems yesterday with the angle of the sun at this trck, I changed to an amber visor for the first time. It was awesome, it really helped."

Second Session: "What a sweet run! Dave (Fletcher) told me before that lap that he'd leaned on it pretty hard, and if the track came around after sunset the CSK Firebird would haul. The sun went down, the track cooled, the air cooled and it just hauled all the way. That's a big run for this blue team and for Dave Fletcher. Both of these CSK Pontiacs ran with the big dogs here, we're ready for tomorrow and we're ready to go rounds on both sides of the pit."

4th Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals
Gateway International Raceway
June 23, 2000

Madison, Ill. (June 23, 2000) - Pro Stock Truck qualifying was completed today for the 4th annual Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. John Lingenfelter had the second quickest run of the final qualifying session moving his Summit Racing GMC Sonoma all the way up to the No. 3 starting position with a lap of 7.609 seconds at 176.58 mph. Rick Jones held onto the No. 10 qualifying position in the Country Motors Trailer Sales GMC Sonoma turning in a lap of 7.629 seconds at 176.17 mph. David Spitzer's Sunnen/Dynagear Sonoma is qualified in the No. 13 position with an elapsed time of 7.640 seconds at 176.6 mph. The No. 1 qualifier is Randy Daniels in an S-10 with a run of 7.553 seconds at 178.57 mph. Bob Panella is qualified second, Brian Self is fourth and Todd Patterson is fifth.

The Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., is the 12th race on the 23-event NHRA Winston championship tour. Qualifying highlights can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, June 24, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. Television coverage of final eliminations can be seen on Sunday, June 25, beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern.


John Lingenfelter (Summit Racing GMC Sonoma) - Wow!! What a run. We are very happy with the Summit Racing GMC Sonoma. We got a good lead, went straight, made all the shifts on time and everything just went our way. I was not expecting the truck to go that fast. But once it left I knew it was a good run. But the 7.60 was definitely better than I thought. I felt it spin a little and I thought that was going to be the end of it and hurt us but it didn't. I am glad to be on top and get lane choice for tomorrow, because lane choice is going to make a significant difference here. The crew is doing a great job. They are really working hard on this truck. We are all very excited for Summit and Pontiac and look forward to eliminations tomorrow."

Rick Jones (Country Motors Trailer Sales GMC Sonoma) - "For being in the heat of the day, that was a pretty good run for the Country Motors Trailer Sales GMC Sonoma. We usually don't run to well during bad sessions like that. We made some changes with the clutch and the truck actually went out and ran real good. We are going to try and tune it up for the session tonight and be ready to go. I can't complain though about this truck. It is doing pretty good and we look forward to running it again."

David Spitzer (Sunnen/Dynagear GMC Sonoma) - "We don't know what happened in that round. We've been having some carburetor problems. We've been fighting them all weekend. The motor went half-way through low gear and then just shut off. It showing on the computer that the carburetor is just going totally lean and I don't know why. We've changed regulators which is a normal fuel system drill, but I don't know what's going on. It did this even on the run we qualified and I think we could have ran 100 percent faster during that session if it wouldn't have started then. We've just got to get from A to B and see if we can get our problem fixed. Hopefully we won't get bumped out and get to race tomorrow.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Jamie Yates , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , John Force , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Ron Krisher , Todd Patterson , Randy Daniels , John Lingenfelter , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Rickie Smith , Brian Self , Jerry Toliver , Bob Vandergriff