After a lengthy rain delay Shane Tucker and the Auzmet/StructGlass Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stock car will enter race day as the No. 14 qualifier. During the four qualifying sessions at the 22nd annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals Tucker showed glimpses of improvement and one flash of excitement.
During the final qualifying session Tucker had his hands full at the top end as his Chevrolet Camaro was sashaying at the top end at nearly 200 mph. The additional movement as Tucker neared the finish line peeled off momentum and his final elapsed time of 6.985 seconds was his slowest of the weekend. His best time of 6.657 at 206.23 mph was secured during Friday’s second qualifying session.
“We knew the session was going to be killer because of the weather conditions and we wanted to make a decent run,” said Tucker. “It moved out to the left pretty good and they always sort of do that when they are on a decent run. I stayed in it and the general rule of thumb is if they are out of the groove past half-track you should give it up. I put it in to top gear and it made a massive out to the left and then swung to the right. That is the closest I have been to crashing one of these things.”
In the first round tomorrow Tucker will face No. 3 qualifier Matt Hartford. Earlier this season Tucker defeated Hartford in the first round of the historic Gatornationals which was also a No. 14 versus No. 3 match-up.
“I don’t think about who I am racing,” explained Tucker, who is 1-0 versus Hartford. “That is a good way to mess up your head. We are just going to go up and do our thing and make him earn it.”
Through the two qualifying days and even going back to the Virginia Nationals Tucker’s Auzmet/StructGlass team would make progress and then seem to slip back just a little.
"We thing we get close to all the top guys and we step up but then we find ourselves within about seven hundredths. We keep chipping away at it and then we step on our toes a little bit on the good sessions. Tomorrow the field generally closes up on Sunday. We are going to spend some time tonight and figure out where we are at with the tune-up. There is something wrong because the car isn’t reacting properly,” added Tucker.
Tomorrow’s weather should be ideal for quick times with cooler temperatures topping out in the low 70s. The improved conditions have Tucker eager to get on the track for first round.
“I think the fact it will be cooler tomorrow should help,” said Tucker. “I think it will be a level playing field for us. We just need to find a good tune up and make the most of it.”