ST. LOUIS (Sept. 22) — It’s great to have a quick car in drag racing but it’s even better if you have a consistent hot rod to keep your opponents honest come race day so they fully expect a close race from start to finish. Such is the case for Scott Palmer this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park where his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster has been running like a bracket car.
“Having a fast car is great and it’s even better when your car goes down the track every time but really what you want the most is both — a really quick car that goes down the track every time,” Palmer said. “We probably could have pushed it a little harder and posted a better time that would have moved us further up the ladder but we’re still happy to have such a solid tune-up. We’ve got a race car for tomorrow.”
Palmer and crew chief Jason McCulloch cooked up four impressive runs between 3.779 and 3.806 seconds in qualifying, the best of which was a 3.779 at 323.74 mph that earned the Tommy Thompson-sponsored team a spot in the field of the seventh annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.
“This is the first time since the spring we’ve had conditions where everyone could get aggressive,” Palmer said. “It’s cool to see our teammate Steve Torrence on the pole with a 3.675 and his dad Billy No. 3 overall with a 3.717. Those are impressive runs and with that data we can really set ourselves up for tomorrow.”
When elimination racing starts Sunday at 11 a.m., Palmer will first face No. 5 qualifier Leah Pritchett, who ran an impressive 3.718 at 330.96 mph in the final qualifying session. Pritchett also ran a 3.761, a 3.771 and a 3.872.
“The CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster responds to everything we do to it, which is exactly what you want,” Palmer said. “We’re getting after it tomorrow and I don’t expect that team (Pritchett) to take us for granted. Everyone has been running us hard this season because they know we’re capable of big things.
“It’s exciting to be racing here at Gateway Motorsports Park so close to Missouri. I come from Cassville, Missouri, and CatSpot is made in Sikeston so we have deep roots in these parts. It would really mean a lot to have a long day at the track tomorrow with so many friends, co-workers and family on hand.
“We’re thrilled to be in this position. Just making the top 10 is a feat in itself and we’ve done it two years in a row, ever since Tommy Thompson has been supporting us. But this year we want more than just being happy to make the playoffs. We want to win rounds and contend for race wins. We have everything we need to do that already in place.”