NHRA quotes from Atlanta

Compiled by Ian Tocher

Ron Lewis Photo

Once more, straight from the racer's comments in NHRA and team press releases, here's the story of the 24th annual Summit Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac, held May 14-16 at Atlanta Dragway.


"I would like to see both the car and the driver get a little bit more consistent as we head into this stretch of races ahead. This is where we must make a jump in the point standings if we want to meet our goal of a top five finish this year." -- David Baca before the race, on the prospect of six national events in the next seven weeks

"From my standpoint being in the first pair isn't that big of a deal. My job is the same if we're the first pair or last pair of cars to go down the track." -- Larry Dixon after qualifying 8th, which paired him against 9th-place qualifier Clay Millican and made them the first to run on raceday. Millican won

"We didn't see him until about the 1,000-foot mark, then I saw the nose of his car creep in." -- Bernstein on losing to Cory McClenathan in round two

"I don't know that I would have bet on myself today. You do reach a point where you start to doubt yourself a little. You wonder if it will ever gonna' come again. To be honest I was glad when we got out of the first round with a win." -- McClenathan on winning his first race since the fall race at Pomona in 2002

"Today we just stopped making big changes. We knew it would be hot and we decided to get down the track every time no matter what. It worked and I couldn't be more happy and relieved." -- Cory Mac, on the tune up he and crew chief Todd Smith agreed upon for the Atlanta event


"I'd be lying if I said we just want to get some experience (this year). To be honest, we want to win every race. We want to win Atlanta and after Atlanta, Chicago and after Chicago, Topeka. But the first one, they say that's the toughest." -- Rookie Eric Medlen before the race, where he went to the second round, but lost to Tim Wilkerson

"We've been running the tire most of the season and I think we've made a lot of progress, but you don't know. It hasn't been real hot yet. That'll be the biggest test." -- Gary Densham before the race, on the new Goodyear 2096 rear tire all the fuel teams have to use

"The tires really don't seem to be the huge factor we thought they would be coming into this race." -- Wilkerson after the first day of qualifying

"I've got the best brain trust in the sport (crew chiefs Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, John Medlen, and Jimmy Prock). They don't tell me how to drive; I don't tell them how to tune the car -- and that includes the tires." -- John Force on the tire issue

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