POMONA, Calif. (February 9, 2019) — Scott Palmer’s Magic Dry Organic Absorbent Top Fuel Dragster may not top the qualifying sheet at this weekend’s 59th annual Lucas Oil Winternationals, but you’d be hard pressed to find a happier and more confident team than his bunch heading into the first race day of the 2019 NHRA season.
Palmer and crew, which features four new members, managed to run three passes quicker than Palmer’s previous career best of 3.754 seconds. Ultimately, their 3.720 at 328.38 mph from the second qualifying session Friday night was the best, slotting the group eighth on a very-quick ladder. They also ran a 3.721, a 3.750 and a 3.809 this weekend.
“We’ve been a high 3.7-, low 3.8-second car for the last two years, mainly low 3.8s. This year we decided we are tired of hearing those numbers,” Palmer said. “We made the decision in the off season to get more aggressive and try to be a low 3.7-second car. It looks like we’re doing okay so far.
“The 3.750 we ran earlier today with a couple broken clutch levers would have been a career best three months ago. Then we add to that a couple of 3.72s and the 3.809 we started the weekend off with just to make sure we could get it down the track, and we got ourselves a hot rod.”
Palmer will open eliminations against Doug Kalitta, who carded a 3.716 at 326.87 mph.
“We have some new people and it is crazy they caught on this fast,” Palmer said. “They had very little time to gel in testing but they come here and perform flawlessly. I am so proud of them. Even after we broke those clutch levers and had to rebuild everything in the bellhousing between rounds, they didn’t make any mistakes.
“They just went to work, put it back together and we went out there and tried to repeat Friday’s run with the new clutch parts. It worked. It repeated. That means we are bolting this thing together right, everything is working right and the whole combination is working unbelievably well.”
Adding to the excitement this weekend, Magic Dry owner Tommy Thompson is on hand, cheering for his favorite Top Fuel driver in person.
“We are out here promoting Magic Dry and we are also out here promoting Tommy Thompson,” Palmer said. “He’s not only my boss but he’s one of my best friends. You want to make him proud at all times, especially when he’s at the races, and to see him smiling and giving everyone high-fives is very special.”
Another racer hoping to impress the boss is Magic Dry Organic Absorbent Top Fuel Harley rider Rickey House, who qualified fourth in an eight-bike field. House topped out at 6.367 seconds and 223.39 mph in qualifying and will face Canadian Kevin Boyer in Round 1 of eliminations. Boyer posted a best of 6.373 at 215.51 mph.
“I’m pretty happy to be qualified No. 4,” House said. “I wanted to step on it (in Q4) but I let the bike get away from me. I must have turned on the beam when I was trying to activate the idle. I realized the light was green and just stabbed the throttle without being prepared and I let the motorcycle get ahead of me a little bit and hit a block. If that hadn’t happened we may have been higher on the ladder but we’re good.
“I’ve been out here to Pomona twice and been to the finals both times but haven’t won here yet. I hope the third times a charm.”
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