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Pomona 2002: The Photo Review

By Phil R. Elliott

I love this photo. I'd just exchanged greetings during an oildown with Darrell Gwynn about all that had gone on. He told me that new driver Andrew Cowin was going to be good, that crew chief Todd Smith was going to work out super, and that testing had been mediocre due to a marginal track. So, the Yankee team went out and hit a 4.490/324 to prove it and this scene happened on the return road. Cowin later smiled big at the ropes. Flyin' Phil Photos
Flamed Chevy shoeboxes with wheels in the air - '55 is P.J. Giacalone, ' 57 is Kevin Kleineweber. Must be Super Gas! Flyin' Phil Photo
Carl Spear's Charger with the 1973 funny car paint job wowed me. It looked like a big, heavy bracket car until he pounded the pedal. It wheelstood (higher than this) and ran the number with ease! Flyin' Phil Photo
Here's the latest "Cruzer." A few bugs hopped out of the AAP Firebird during its public debut, but Pedregon is certain to get this act together very soon. Flyin' Phil Photo
There were several tributes to Buster Couch, including this one on Jay Payne's Camaro TAFC. Flyin' Phil Photo
Scott Geoffrion showed up and was seen on the starting line several times. Here, he banters with Jim Yates while the Pro Stock ace seeks tune up tips on his cell phone. Flyin' Phil Photo
I was happy to see several of the crew chiefs at the ropes, signing autographs and sharing stories with fans. Here, Dick LaHaie spends a few minutes with a Sharpie. Flyin' Phil Photo
Lee Smith's new AA/PM entry from Salem, Oregon, is said to be making the full tour. The Allen Johnson-powered ' 58 Corvette hit stout 6.30s and will improve. Flyin' Phil Photo
Here's an odd SS/FA combo. In a sea of Camaros and Firebirds, Brian Broaddus' 454 ' 71 Monte Carlo is a welcome sight. Numbers? Just .96 under at 9.792! Flyin' Phil Photo
This comparison of camps is hard to take in without an aerial photo, but trust me, checking out the rolling stock between John Force and Don Prudhomme not only is impressive but also takes quite awhile. Flyin' Phil Photos
Engine builder Sonny Leonard, who made his name in IHRA PS, checked out the Pomona Pro Stock action. Several of his customers did well. Sonny also builds big inch engines for offshore boat racing. Flyin' Phil Photo
V. Gaines' truck is a trip in itself! Scenes blend together and attract attention wherever it rolls or parks. Flyin' Phil Photo
Here's a new west coast PM that appears ready for the big time. Though rumors have a Mopar under the Oregon Viper's plastic nose soon, Dennis Radford started 2002 with a 706 ci Chevy for his low 6.40 numbers. Flyin' Phil Photo
Rickie Smith is now working for Mopar and appears to have a handle on the multi-car PS team. Besides being excellent with engine and clutch combos, Smith is certainly capable of stepping into any errant car and making it fly. Flyin' Phil Photo
This photo doesn't show the new Stratus FC body too well. It is said to be a huge gain over the previous shell Dean Skuza sat under. Pomona seemed to give the Mopar team fits, but Lance Larsen and the guys will get the animal tamed. Look for this one to be a performance standout before long. Flyin' Phil Photo
Here's yours truly... The new look for 2002. I grew a new attitude, chopped off my mustache, bleached my hair, and bought a few Hawaiian shirts; fun so far. Before you ask, the vest is NHRA's idea, not my first step into an alternate lifestyle.
The Toyota...

Gary Scelzi seems to have taken to the new Toyota far better than the rules-makers have. The car looks very similar to the design done for the Toyota IMSA GTO program back in the Dan Gurney era - maybe 1985 or so - and why not? That one worked well. Please note that really scooped chin spoiler. Flyin' Phil Photo

On the steeply angled quarter panels are these little "running boards," assuredly air diverters that keep the natural vortex action to a minimum. Watch for these to show up on every other car. Flyin' Phil Photo
These little diverters around the headers seem pretty superfluous to me. Obviously, the car was wind-tunnel-tested with the engine quiet. The headers create such a tremendous standoff when operational that this little piece wouldn't perform much. Flyin' Phil Photo
The tailfeathers are huge. I didn't put a tape measure on the car myself but I was told by officials that it was on the high side of tolerance. That's a nicer, more subtle way of putting what I was told. Flyin' Phil Photo
The Army team is first class, with Humvee tow vehicle and ranking stripes for the crew. Before you think they are anything but serious, Sergeant Tony Schumacher will be in the TF hunt for the full season. Flyin' Phil Photo
Chuck Worsham (seen at left) dove right in to fiberglass work Saturday morning, redoing the mounting tree on the C-S-K firebird his son, Del, drives. Flyin' Phil Photo
Best Designed displays were these units in the Chevrolet booth. They even steer. Flyin' Phil Photo
Bob Gilbertson sported some extra backing from Fram. Unfortunately for the Charlotte driver, all his runs looked similar to his burnouts and he failed to make the cut. Flyin' Phil Photo
Some of the greatest things can be seen on the starting line during cleanups... In this scene, WJ (left) is talking to someone I can't make out. On the right, Jerry Haas is dwarfed by Larry Nance. In the center, "TV Tommy" Ivo discusses drag racing basics with Mark Pawuk. Flyin' Phil Photo
This is the LAST pair of Pro Stocks in qualifying, Ron Krisher vs. Bruce Allen. The outcome matters not, but look closely at the Reher & Morrison Grand Am. I could not believe it was shaking so hard, and I actually clicked the shutter as a jerk reaction. Bruce shut off at almost the same instant and when I looked up, he ran over something. Look again. You'll see the left headlight under the car just in front of the left front tire. Flyin' Phil Photo
A name from the past and one of my PS favorites is the Dave Butner-wrenched, John Geyer-driven Motown Missile Neon. Flyin' Phil Photo
This is not the final but it sure looks like a prediction. Larry Dixon and Kenny Bernstein both have their 2002 acts together. Flyin' Phil Photo
TAFC winner Pat Austin had handling problems during qualifying and in the race. Please note that this Firebird has no rear spoiler of any kind and only the most minuscule spill plates. It was fast but in NASCAR parlance, very loose. Flyin' Phil Photo
One of my favorites from the oldaze, Don "Shoe" Schumacher, checked out the TF competition during qualifying. Flyin' Phil Photo
Not much of a tip, but watch for this pairing a lot again in 2002 -- John Force (near) and Whit Bazemore. Any bets on which will be the first in the 4.6 bracket? Flyin' Phil Photo
Phil Elliott


Thanks for checking out the PhilZone portion of Draglist.com. If you have accolades, complaints, comments, questions, or if you want to share a story, please feel free to post it on the PhilZone Message Board. Phil

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