the beginning of the 2000 NHRA season, Pro Stock Car driver Bruce Allen
is out of the starting blocks and running strong in the Reher-Morrison
Pontiac Firebird with his sights set on the Winston championship. The
49 year-old Arlington, Tex., resident is coming off a pair of back-to-back
No. 5 qualifying efforts at Pomona and Phoenix, and a No. 6 qualifier
at the recent Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. But the
real story in the Reher-Morrison camp this year may be their confidence,
their overall enthusiasm for competition, and their success in carrying
forward last season's second-half momentum into the early stages of
the 2000 schedule.
Allen is no stranger to Winston Pro Stock competition. Since joining
the Reher-Morrison team in 1985, he has won 12 national events in 31
final-round appearances. One of those victories came at the 1988 Gatornationals.
He has finished in the top 10 of the Winston standings 10 times, with
his best season coming in 1989 when he won four races and ended the
points battle in second place. Allen has finished third in the Winston
standings three times (1985-87) and is seventh on the NHRA's all-time
list for wins by a Pro Stock racer. Although still looking for a major
sponsor that will help finance their racing efforts this year, the Reher-Morrison
Pontiac Firebird team is currently 10th in the Winston Pro Stock standings.
Recently, we talked with Bruce about the prospects for the season,
the team's strengths and weaknesses, and, of course, the competition.
RS: Three races into the season and you've
qualified strong. How are things going this early in the year, especially
compared with your start in 1999?
[BAllenHead.jpg] BA: The progress from last year is unbelievable-we've
made great strides with the Reher-Morrison Firebird. But like anything,
once you start doing better, you want to do more. With hindsight being
20/20, just a few thousandth's and we could've been in a couple of
final rounds. When running against Warren (Johnson) in the first round
at Pomona, I lost by a few thousandth's of a second and Warren ended
up going on to the final round. That doesn't mean that we would have
made it that far if things had been different in that first round,
but Warren and I certainly had the best race at Pomona. We just need
to work harder and go faster so we can get some of those breaks. We're
so close in being able to break through to the final round to win
a race, but we're still not quite there and right now. That is very
RS: Do you see any similarities to your start
thus far and your performance in 1997 when you finished fourth?
BA: I think the biggest thing is, when you know that you have
all the pieces and you have your whole arsenal available, you know
that you have everything that it takes to do it right. Now it's just
a matter of going and getting it done. When you don't have the equipment
to run well, you know that it's going to be a long uphill battle.
Once you get up to that peak where you know that you can excel, that's
when you feel it's time to make that extra push. We're there now,
and we just need to go out and take advantage of the situation. In
1997, we did just that. We won a lot of rounds, and even though we
didn't win a race, we advanced to the finals a couple of times. This
year, performance-wise, we're in even better shape. Now those final
rounds can be wins and those close races can be wins as well. It's
to the point now that every week we're excited again about going to
RS: Over the past six months, the performance
of the Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird has increased dramatically. What
would you contribute that to and do you feel that in the off-season,
you were able to pick up a little bit more?
BA: Certainly in the last half of the '99 season, we got our
engines and car working better with a combination of things. We're
in a position here, with Reher-Morrison Racing Engines and Pontiac,
that we can spend more time working on our program and dedicate a
better effort toward it. I also think that over the winter we were
able to concentrate on some specific things and increase the performance
of our engines. The spec-fuel issue also has made a difference, since
now everyone is playing from the same deck. We're fast enough to put
ourselves in a position to win, but to do that we need to take that
next step which is to make our car a little better and look at it
from a performance standpoint on race day. I believe that you work
on what you're struggling with most. The worst thing we're doing now
is not making good runs on race day and not taking advantage of the
power we have. We need to do that.
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