LAS VEGAS - Scotty Cannon is not going to predict if and when he will
grab his first Funny Car victory. He is, however, certain about one thing.
"I'm ready to win," Cannon said. "And the one good thing
about this whole situation is that if I do get my first win, people won't
be able to say that I didn't pay my dues. They can never say I was handed
Cannon will be gunning for that first victory in his Oakley Pontiac
Firebird during the third annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las
Vegas, April 4-7. Kenny Bernstein, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jeg Coughlin are
the defending winners in their respective professional categories for the
$1.9 million race, the fourth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA
POWERade Drag Racing Series.
In his fourth season in the Funny Car ranks, Cannon may be in the best
position to win a race yet. During the offseason, he joined Whit Bazemore
as the driver of a second Funny Car team for Don Schumacher Racing. Cannon
had previously held both the team ownership and driving duties.
So far, the transition is going smoothly for Cannon.
"I don't have any complaints," Cannon said. "We started
off behind the eight ball a little bit going into Pomona. We had some
problems testing, especially with the new tire. (Crew chief Mike Neff)
Zippy made some changes to the chassis and tire setup and from Pomona to
Phoenix, the car made some excellent changes. We had some great passes and
I am really pleased." Cannon readily admits he now has more time to
concentrate on driving the car.
"By far, it is a lot easier, physically," Cannon said.
"I don't have to worry about the car tune-up as much. I leave that to
Zippy. Last year I started to do things that way. I managed the team from
just a business standpoint. But I don't worry about those things anymore
and it is easier for me to be even more focused on the car this
During the 2001 season, Cannon never advanced past the second round. In
just the second event of 2002, the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals in
Phoenix, Cannon advanced to the semifinal round. It may still be early in
the season, but Cannon said he gains confidence with each pass down the
"I think the season is going well and the more laps I make, the
more confident I get," Cannon said. "I think it is going to take
cars of our team's caliber to win the championship. I think Whit and I
have great cars, we just can't get behind at all and if it is going to be
your year, you are going to need a little luck too."
While the car and the new team have progressed well, Cannon said he
doesn't worry about stumbling here or there. "I can proudly say that
my sponsors are happy," Cannon said. "Don Schumacher has been a
racer and understands the ups and downs of racing. Oakley has seen their
ups and downs too. So if we have a little problem, I am not going to
panic. I feel confident that we have all put a good team together, we have
a good owner, a good sponsor in Oakley and Matco Tools. I think Whit and I
have a real good shot at beating anyone out there."