Whisnant qualifies 13th
Topeka, Saturday: Mark Whisnant, driver of the RW Performance / Snap-On Tools Chevrolet Cavalier, will enter eliminations at the 15th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals in the 13th position on the Pro Stock eliminations ladder.
It was in the Friday night session of qualifying where Whisnant piloted his Cavalier to a 6.862 / 200.17 mph to secure his position in Sunday's race.
"It feels good to be racing tomorrow," said Whisnant of Stockbridge, Ga. "We have been struggling lately, so qualifying for this race, whether it is 13th or first, feels pretty good.
"I knew coming into this race that my guys had the ability to work with this racetrack. It is a lot warmer here this weekend than it was in Englishtown, and the altitude is a lot higher. So, this race is more about finesse than big horsepower. That is what my crew does the best.
"My crew chiefs Gary (Pearman) and Markus (Svensson) are getting everything they can out of this racecar. They are tuning this Cavalier to the track; not trying to kill them with big horsepower.
"We saw last year that this race track can change dramatically between the first round and the final round. We got to the final last year by changing the car to match what we had for that round. Gary and Markus are great in those situations, so I feel like we should have a pretty good race tomorrow."
Whisnant ready to race in Topeka
Topeka, pre-race: Mark Whisnant, driver of the RW Performance / Snap-On Tools Pro Stock Chevrolet Cavalier, likes Topeka. Topeka has been good to Whisnant. There is a certain mojo that Whisnant taps into when he is in that city, which he hopes to capitalize on when he arrives for this weekends 15th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.
Last year at this event Whisnant recorded his first final-round appearance in a Pro Stock car. This year, Whisnant's goal is to go beyond the final round and all the way to the winner's circle.
"Last year we had a pretty good run here in Topeka," said Whisnant of Stockbridge, Ga. "I would sure like a chance to be in the final again, but it is going to take some work. This weekend in Topeka we will be getting back to the kind of racing that this RW Performance team likes.
"This weekend it is going to be a lot warmer, and we will have some altitude. The Heartland Park racetrack itself can be tricky. In the past we have seen 90-degree temperatures on Friday, and have it be in the 50's on Saturday. In those kinds of conditions you have to be able to adjust quickly, and that is what this RW Performance team does best.
"Between my two crew chiefs, Markus Svensson and Gray Pearman, I think they have seen just about everything. They work very well together. When conditions start to change quickly they put their head together and come up with a solution. They have got this car down some marginal racetrack this year, and I do think this weekend will be any exception.
"Last weekend was all about horsepower; the guy with the most horsepower wins. This weekend will be all about adapting; the team that adapts best to the changing condition will win. That changes it from a horsepower contest to a racers race, and that is the kind of racing we like to do. As long as we don't get hit by a tornado I think we will be okay."
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