NHRA quotes from Chicago

Compiled by Ian Tocher

Jeff Burk Photo

Via team and NHRA press releases, racers told the story in their own words from the 7th annual NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Chicago.


“It ran very well until half-track, and then at about 800 feet a wind gust blew the car over toward the centerline. I had to crank the wheel all the way to the left to keep the car from heading over to the right. I know it cost us some e.t.” -- Scott Weis on the 4.58-secs pass that earned him a 3rd-place starting position

“Every week we work on our car and try to make it one of the top cars out here and we still obviously have some work to do.” -- Larry Dixon after suffering another first-round exit, this time at the hands of Doug Kalitta

“I was out on him until about half track and unfortunately that’s when the wheels started come up off the ground. At that point, I should have tugged on the brake handle slightly and that would have set front end back down. Instead I lifted.” -- T.J. Zizzo on his career-first elimination round, a first-round wheelie loss to Tony Schumacher

“My competitive nature aggravates me when it comes to a first-round loss. However, the realist in me always reminds me that I’m happy to just be out here as part of the show. This is something that only an elite few people get to do and I’m very fortunate to be part of that fraternity.” -- Bob Vandergriff after going out early against Brandon Bernstein

“There is nobody that is kicking himself more than I am right now.” -- Cory McClenathan on his red light loss to D. Kalitta in round two

“I no longer take solace in the fact that we run our program on a tenth of the budget the other teams have. I don’t care if they’ve got 10 million in their budget. We’re going to dip deep and get our first NHRA Top Fuel win.” -- Howard Weis, crew chief for son Scott, after their narrow semi-final loss to D. Kalitta

“Unfortunately, the championship race just got real interesting.” -- Schumacher on losing to Bernstein in the semis and allowing his rivals to close in on his points lead

“Now you’re the ‘King of Speed’.” -- Kenny Bernstein to son Brandon, after Brandon reset the official speed record to 333.41 mph in the semis

“It left extremely hard. It was marching along and it set the front end down and when it really started to pour it to it, it picked right back up. It picked it up so fast, it just kept going. It wasn’t going to go down. There wasn’t anything I could do but lift it and try to get it back toward the center. It was a wild ride.” -- Bernstein on his big wheelstand in the final round against D. Kalitta

“It threw the belt off just before the finish line and I was just hoping like heck I wouldn’t see Brandon blow by me. They’d been running so well I figured he was right there.” -- D. Kalitta on his first final-round win this season

“I knew we were going to have to put up a big number against Bernstein, but making that kind of run in the finals is incredible. We went for it and got it. That’s a tribute to how good Rahn (Tobler, first-year co-crew chief on the Mac Tools dragster) and (team owner) Connie (Kalitta) and everybody on this whole team is.” -- D. Kalitta again, after winning the final with a quickest-ever 4.420-secs pass

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