NHRA Quotes from Chicago

Compiled by Ian Tocher

Forget the House of Blues, the NHRA’s best made their second stop this year at Chicago’s House of Speed Oct. 1-3, otherwise known as Route 66 Raceway. Records fell, but upsets ruled the day in deciding champions at the 4th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals. Here, in their own words, are the racers’ stories as told through NHRA and team press releases.


“The rules are so up in the air, that what we’ve got this week, might not be in the rules package next race. So, we’ll go one race at a time and try to do well at that given event and then go on to the next race.” —Larry Dixon on the uncertainty of this season compared to previous years

"I'd rather have it this way than having to go out and beg people to watch us. But, if you let it, all of that attention can be distracting as well. We have to keep reminding ourselves that there's still plenty of work to do."  -- Tony Schumacher, a Chicago native, on the pressures of popularity as he continues to lead the points chase

“I love that word ‘cool.’ Whatever the reason, this hot rod always seems to run better when it’s cool. Hot sticky tracks have not been kind to us this season.”—David Baca on his preferred weather system in Chicago

"We need a spark . . . something to get us going. We need to go out and run good. We'd like to finish the season on a good note.”—Doug Herbert before the race, on his desire to return to victory lane

“We spent some RaceGirl money on a few new parts just for Chicago. Our combination should be pretty stout.”  -- Scott Weis on his high hopes before qualifying began

“We have a fast hot rod and our bad is as good as everyone else, all we have to do now is hit the ball. The car is real steady and it will put up good numbers in just about any conditions; it can run down a dirt road if we ask it to. What I am doing now as a Top Fuel driver and crew member is better than being that canary in the coal mine, working in our body shop, repairing cars and breathing paint fumes. I would much rather be breathing nitro fumes on a steady basis than paint fumes any day." —T.J. Zizzo mixing his metaphors while describing his love for the sport

"Now, that's pretty amazing."  -- Schumacher on not being in the show after the first day of qualifying, along with the rest of the top five in points: Doug Kalitta, Brandon Bernstein, David Grubnic and Scott Kalitta

“When that happens, you just let common sense take over and lift. I really don’t know how far the car got off the ground, but you can tell how far you can keep on the throttle.”—Dixon on the wheelstand he experienced in round one of qualifying

"It was great, I was driving the car down the track like I was hitting a golf shot into the wind. Just past the grandstands I kind of expected a gust of wind from my right. So I steered the car into the wind and sure enough the wind brought the car back to my left just as we were headed toward the finish line. In golf terms I think they call that a right to left draw?"  -- Zizzo on his first qualifying pass

"I was overly excited down there at the finish; I didn't even know what to say."—Cory McClenathan after qualifying number one for the 29th time in his career

“That was a close one.”—Baca after losing by 28-thousandths to Bob Vandergriff in round one on raceday

"The car was in trouble from the get-go. As soon as I hit the gas it was in trouble.”—Cory Mac on his tire-smoking loss to Morgan Lucas in round one

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