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NHRA: Pennzoil's Outlaw Machine on Top Early

2 October 1998

TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 2) - Some extremely nasty weather greeted the top drivers of the National Hot Rod Association during Friday's opening round of qualifying for the 10th annual Parts America Nationals. But the undesirable conditions didn't seem to bother Team Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Bruce Allen. With temperatures in the 50s and a soggy track to contend with, Allen impressed everyone with the day's only sub-seven-second Pro Stock pass. The run put Allen's Pennzoil-sponsored Outlaw Fuel Additives machine firmly on top of the NHRA's most-competitive bracket through one round of qualifying.

Here's all of the Round 1 news from the Pennzoil pits.

Bruce Allen, the Pro Stock driver of the Outlaw Fuel Additives Pontiac Firebird, recorded the day's only sub-seven-second pass when he blasted down the quarter-mile in 6.993 seconds at 195.48 mph. The impressive mark earned Allen the No. 1 qualifying position with three rounds remaining.

"Well, its only one run," Allen said. "But we're very pleased with the results. I can't remember the last time we were the No. 1 qualifier. Basically, we were tired of what we were doing. We've missed the last two elimination rounds because of traction problems so we totally changed the rear end. It looks as though the changes we made were effective. It's nice because now we can just try to duplicate that run with just some minor adjustments. We don't have to go searching for a big problem because there isn't one."

Eddie Hill, the Top Fuel pilot of the Pennzoil Dragster, initially lost traction on the mist-covered track at the launch of his Round 1 pass, but he hit the accelerator again and managed to complete a 5.013-second pass at 307.58 mph.

"I like to get as much data as possible each run," Hill said. "At least now we know what the track is like at the other end. It gives us something to work on. The car, like most of the other cars out there, had a real bad shake at the line so I let off for a moment. Then I stepped on it again to see what would happen and she pretty much held all the way through. That doesn't always happen."

Mike Thomas, the Pro Stock driver of the Pennzoil Pontiac Firebird, drifted out of the groove near the concrete-to-asphalt transition area and immediately swerved towards the centerline. Thomas avoided any potential problems by shutting off his motor and coasting through the remainder of his opening pass. His official time of 10.498 seconds at 85.67 mph was well off the Round 1 pace and temporarily left Thomas in 28th place.

"There's something wrong with the car," Thomas said. "We need to tear this thing down and find the problem. I'll replace everything on the car if I have to. On the bright side, a lot of the big name teams had a tough time that round so at least we're not alone. We'll be fine. The weather is going to be a big factor this whole weekend so I think we'll all have plenty of chances to make the field."