Scotty Cannon getting back on track;

Ready for The Strip at LVMS' NHRA Nationals


Scotty Cannon feels good about his Oakley Time Bomb Funny Car right now. It took a trip back to his Indianapolis race shop to inspect, measure and even fabricate parts to get his team back to fighting form, which was evident at the last POWERade Drag Racing Series event in Gainesville, Fla. Cannon posted his best run of the season there (a 4.923-sec. lap) in the first round against No. 1 qualifier Tony Pedregon. Although he lost that round, his spirits are high as he aims for the fourth event of the year, the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.

"We're going into Las Vegas with a winning attitude."

"We're going into Las Vegas with a winning attitude," said Cannon, who has qualified in each event so far and is 15th in the point standings. "We went back to the Indy shop after Phoenix with the guys and found a lot of little problems with the motor. We looked at all the parts, measured them, made some special tooling to check some stuff, and changed some things. We had the same motor, the same heads and basically the same bearings in the car all weekend during Gainesville. That's the first time we were able to keep a motor in the car all weekend this year."

A testing session on Monday following the Gainesville race also was productive. "We left the same combination in the car for Monday testing that we had in it for that first round, and we went a 4.88 at 319 mph and followed that with a 4.86. With those three runs put together, we think that's good enough to go some rounds and even run some low .80s in Vegas. That's what we're looking for and it makes us feel real good that we've actually worked through a lot of the problems that we've had."

In 2002 at The Strip, Cannon qualified fifth in the first event of the year and sixth in the second, but the Lyman, S.C., resident with the patented Mohawk hairstyle says past performances at a particular race track don't mean much to him. "I don't really care if I've qualified good at a track before," he claims. "I just look at how good is my program at this point in time when I'm going into a race. And, basically, that's about as good as you're going to do or run until you get your program moved a little closer to the top. Phil (Shuler, crew chief) and I have worked a lot of the bugs out of the new combination, and I think it's just a short matter of time before it really shows up good, and I hope Vegas will be it."

And, what would make him happy at Vegas? "Nothing but a win," he quipped. "That's all. I'm not happy unless I'm winning. There's no room for second place."

Nitro Qualifying at The Strip begins on Friday, April 4, at 3:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, April 5, qualifying is at noon and 3 p.m., with final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 6.