St. Louis Team Pennzoil Friday Notes

Hill grabs spotlight with day's best lap ST. LOUIS (June 25) -- Legendary Top Fuel pilot Eddie "The Thrill" Hill lived up to his moniker during Friday's first session of professional qualifying for the Sears Craftsman Nationals, blasting down ...

Hill grabs spotlight with day's best lap

ST. LOUIS (June 25) -- Legendary Top Fuel pilot Eddie "The Thrill" Hill lived up to his moniker during Friday's first session of professional qualifying for the Sears Craftsman Nationals, blasting down the quarter-mile strip of Gateway International Raceway with the day's quickest and fastest pass.

"What a cool way to start the day," Hill said of his 4.704-second, 305.29-mph blast. "This is just like last year when we were the quickest and fastest car on Saturday. I'm starting to get a real good feeling about St. Louis. I love it here and if we can be the quickest car four times in a row tomorrow, I just might have to move here."

Hill, who pilots the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, remains in fourth place on the Top Fuel qualifying ladder, using Thursday night's 4.628-second lap at 313.95 mph as his benchmark run.

"The Pennzoil machine is getting to be so consistent," Hill said. "We're closing in on our 500th career sub-four-second lap (currently at 496) and I'd love for that to happen tomorrow. That would mean we're in the semifinals, which means we'd be one lap away from a win. This could turn into a magical weekend."

Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, could not improve on his Thursday night pass of 7.022 seconds at 196.76 mph in Round 3 and he remains in 13th place in the qualifying field. Allen posted a competitive, albeit heat-slowed lap of 7.078 seconds at 196.64 mph in the third session.

"You always try to do better every lap," Allen said. "But the way this race is set-up we knew this was little more than a test lap. We're tinkering with the carburetors, the hood scoop, the engine and the chassis looking for anything that can make us quicker tonight. I'd love to be able to move into the top half of the field."

Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, ran his fastest lap of the weekend in Round 3 when he reached 197.19-mph on the strip. But the fast pass wasn't accompanied by his best time so Thomas' official marks remain at 7.077 seconds and 196.39 mph, which leaves him in the 26th spot on the ladder.

"I feel like we let one get away from us there," Thomas said. "We spun 'em up hard at the starting line and that cut into our time way too much. The stats show us to be one of the best cars out there after the 60-foot mark. We just couldn't get off the line.

"It's getting to the critical point. We have one more lap to make the field and I'm going to have to get it done tonight. It's a do or die lap."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Bruce Allen