CHARLOTTE (Oct. 8) — Earning a spot in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship was a dream Top Fuel pilot Scott Palmer recently realized for the second year in a row thanks in large part to the support of team sponsor Tommy Thompson and his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter brand. His next big goal is winning a national event, something Palmer would dearly love to get done in the final three races of the 2018 season.
Palmer’s next chance will come this weekend at zMax Dragway in the Charlotte suburb of Concord, N.C., with the 11th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals.
“We have shown several times this year we are capable of running with anyone out here,” said Palmer, who came within a round of his first victory earlier this season with a runner-up finish in Phoenix. “With the tuning alliance we have with the CAPCO team (of points leader Steve Torrence and his father Billy), the support of Tommy Thompson, and a crew chief like Jason McCulloch, we have everything we need to win.
“That’s why we’re here. That’s what we want more than anything. Sure, we want to finish as high as possible in the points but if we win rounds and win a race, the points will add up for us automatically.”
Although Palmer currently anchors the playoff field, he’s within one-race striking distance of a top-five position. He thinks zMax Dragway is a perfect place to shine.
“Love the track, love the facility,” he said. “The track prep always is really good. It’s a track that’s a lot like Dallas, where we just raced, in that it’s always good. You can really get after it and when you have a car like we have now, you’re happy when we visit the better tracks.
“Our mph is usually top three or four of every session. We just need to step on it a little bit earlier in the run. If we can get it to pick up early, it’s going to be very quick. We actually tested today in Dallas with Lee Callaway driving and the car had some of the best 60-foot and 330-foot incremental times we’ve ever run, so we’re excited.”
Many times this year, Palmer and McCulloch have come right off the trailer and posted great runs on the opening day of qualifying, which has allowed them to build a strong tune-up for the weekend. It’s been a good strategy, but one that escaped them last weekend in Dallas.
“We got behind the eight ball a little bit in Dallas because we missed our first run due to a clutch malfunction,” Palmer said. “Whenever you miss the first run, you’ve lost that information forever. With the threat of rain on Saturday, we had to make sure it went down the track Friday night so we didn’t get to really go for it in the what is usually the quickest qualifying session.
“Because of that we put ourselves a little bit behind and ended up lower in the field, which means we had a tougher first-round draw. We’ll fix everything and be alright this weekend. We will make sure this thing is right and ready to go.”
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