POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 10) — Scott Palmer knows NHRA’s three-month off-season goes by quick as teams prepare for next year. He also knows that break can feel substantially better if his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster team finishes its current campaign on a high note, which is why he’s thrilled about running a career-best pass of 3.726 at 326.95 to close out qualifying for the 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.
“We were finally in the right position at the right time and we got it done,” Palmer said. “We made a good run the first qualifying session yesterday, a good second run last night, and then went a touch too far earlier today in our third run. We learned enough with the data from those three runs to try to run a low 3.7 tonight and we got it done. It’s a great note to end with and now we have something to race with tomorrow.”
Part of Palmer’s big run was undoubtedly a delay caused by a stoppage in the action whilst the NHRA crowned new Pro Stock champion Tanner Gray, who clinched his title a few pairings before Palmer ran.
“We may send Tanner a ‘thank you’ note for the delay because it definitely helped. The air was getting cooler by the minute and the track was near-perfect for our run. I mean, the track has been good all weekend but conditions were optimal just now.
“I’m so happy for the crew guys because they’ve worked hard for this. Lack of track prep earlier in the year kept us from getting a career best, which made it feel like things weren’t going as good as they actually were. Everybody in the field slowed down but now the cool weather’s come back around, tracks are better, and we just didn’t allow ourselves to try too hard to run that. It just happened.”
For his efforts, Palmer will open race day against Tony Schumacher, who qualified eighth overall with a 3.722 at 329.75 mph.
“Tomorrow we will go up there and try to run another 3.72 or a little bit better as we tune off the information from that run,” Palmer said. “When you’ve got a car that will do that, you can win a race. We can win this race tomorrow and that’s what we came for. It’ll be a driver’s race tomorrow against Tony so I’ll be as prepared as possible.
“I’m so proud to do this today for our sponsor Tommy Thompson. I just sent him a text saying, ‘We finally ran a 3.72.’ I’m sure he’ll be happy for us.”