Pro Stock Newcomer Justin Humphreys Excited About Semifinal Finish; Looking for More As a new kid on NHRA's Pro Stock block this season, Justin Humphreys has been taking his lumps, as expected. And, in the process, he's been...
Pro Stock Newcomer Justin Humphreys Excited About Semifinal Finish; Looking for More
As a new kid on NHRA's Pro Stock block this season, Justin Humphreys has been taking his lumps, as expected. And, in the process, he's been taking names.
It may not be too long before Humphreys begins reciprocating.
Coming off an unexpected semifinal finish at St. Louis (May 6) that included his first POWERade Series round win, Humphreys and his RaceRedi Motorsports team polished their skills in preparation for the busiest portion of the season -- a series of eight races in nine weeks that includes six stops in succession.
"We're ready to get back to racing," said the driver of the Knoll-Gas Motorsports Pontiac GTO. "We tested at Chicago (Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.) and made 12 runs in two days and now we are looking forward to racing at Heartland Park Topeka," site of the O'Reilly Summer Nationals, Friday through Sunday.
"I like the direction we're going. Everything is coming together," added Humphreys, who turned 30 last Saturday. "Richard (Maskin, team engine builder) found more horsepower and his guys and Eric (Luzinki, team crew chief) and my guys have been working together on new combinations.
"This is a tough category. You have to be precise on every run. In Sport Compact (where he competed prior to this year), you could make up for a little mistake, but not here. If you're not perfect and don't hit your shift points, then you aren't going to win."
That's one reason the Monrovia, Md., resident is taking advantage of test runs. Seat time is as vital as computer readings. Humphreys, in fact, was in Denver early this week making laps in that city's oxygen-challenged atmosphere to get a baseline for the Mile-High Nationals, July 13-15.
"I've raced at Denver before, but it was easier to compensate for the lack of oxygen then because we had other ways of adjusting the tune-up," he said.
Humphreys qualified 15th at St. Louis and made his initial round win a memorable one by upsetting Jason Line, the No. 2 qualifier and defending series champion. Humphreys' .045-second reaction time gave him a lead he didn't relinquish and his 6.711-second effort defeated Line's 6.663. The difference was Line's .107 reaction.
The newcomer could've barged into the title round had his car not suffered tire shake. He had a near-perfect .003 reaction to Dave Connolly's .031. "He said I would've whipped him if I hadn't had tire shake," Humphreys said of Connolly, who later won the event.
Humphreys has 16 more attempts in 2007 to get to winner's circle, plenty of time to win a race.