Scott Palmer Racing
ST. LOUIS – It’s great to have a quick car in drag racing but it’s even better if you have a consistent hot rod to keep your opponents honest come race day so they fully expect a close race from start to finish. Such is the case for Scott Palmer this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park where his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster has been running like a bracket car.
“Having a fast car is great and it’s even better when your car goes down the track every time but really what you want the most is both — a really quick car that goes down the track every time,” Palmer said. “We probably could have pushed it a little harder and posted a better time that would have moved us further up the ladder but we’re still happy to have such a solid tune-up. We’ve got a race car for tomorrow.”
Palmer and crew chief Jason McCulloch cooked up four impressive runs between 3.779 and 3.806 seconds in qualifying, the best of which was a 3.779 at 323.74 mph that earned the Tommy Thompson-sponsored team a spot in the field of the seventh annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.
ST. LOUIS – Sight-seeing around St. Louis is going to have to wait for Scott Palmer and crew after the championship hopeful’s race day in Reading, Pa., ended with several shredded body panels flying off his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster. So instead of touring the famous Arch, the team will be parked in Indianapolis awaiting a brand-new set of body pieces.
“We run a MLR chassis so we’re already at their shop in Indy getting a new body fitted,” Palmer said. “Richie Crampton (MLR fabricator and fellow Top Fuel driver) and his guys are working overtime to help us and we can’t thank them enough. That’s the drag racing way; we all help each other out.
“When you lose as many panels as we did you really just have to replace them all because if you try to patch an older body with a new body, you’re going to have problems. This is all custom-made stuff so you can’t really go to the store and get body panels. Either way, we’ll be ready for St. Louis, even if we don’t get much sleep.”
READING, PA – Facing the most prolific Top Fuel racer of all-time, Tony Schumacher, an undaunted Scott Palmer and his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster team gave their opponent all he could handle in a wild quarterfinal playoff race that was ultimately decided by dislodged body panels that temporarily blocked Palmer’s vision at 300-plus mph.
“That was wild,” Palmer said. “Some of the top body panels started coming off about 100 foot from the finish line. It started with one piece and then it just blew up like a bomb. The whole top — the windshield, the piece in front of the windshield, the piece beside me and a mud-flap all came off.
“The problem was, a body panel came over and was covering my helmet. I couldn’t see. There was no windshield. Also, a big piece of carbon fiber came in there with me and actually covered up the brake and wedged in the steering wheel. I couldn’t turn so I had to literally take my right hand and punch the body panel out of the frame rail so I could see where I was going and get to the brake. It was exciting to say the least.”
READING, PA – Teammates Scott Palmer and Dom Lagana made their best qualifying passes in the final session of the 34th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals. But as luck would have it, their hard work resulted in a race day ladder that pits them against one another in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations at Maple Grove Raceway.
Palmer earned a slight advantage for his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster after topping out at 3.779 and 321.19 mph, which placed him seventh on the grid. Lagana’s best pass of 3.792 at 304.19 mph in the Magic Dry 100% Organic Multi-Purpose Absorbent dragster earned him the No. 10 slot overall.
“Track conditions were really good this afternoon and we were both able to run our best ETs so we’re pleased with the performance of both team cars,” Palmer said. “It’s not what you want when you end up on opposite sides of the ladder and have to race each other right out of the gate but we’ll look at the positive side of it and say we’re happy that for sure one of us will be advancing to the second round.”
The CatSpot dragster has been extremely consistent with Palmer posting runs of 3.817, 3.822, 3.820 and 3.779 down the historic drag strip in Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country.
READING, PA – Dom Lagana may contest a part-time schedule in the NHRA Top Fuel class, but he definitely has full-time support when he does compete, as he will this weekend in the 34th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Running as part of Tommy Thompson Motorsports alongside teammate Scott Palmer, Lagana not only has a great new sponsor in Magic Dry 100% Organic Multi-Purpose Absorbent, but he also benefits from a great tuning alliance with the CAPCO race team of points leader Steve Torrence and his father Billy, who recently won in Brainerd.
“We have everything we need and we stay really involved even when we’re not running my car,” Lagana said. “I went on the Western swing to help out on Steve Torrence’s car and then I also worked on Billy Torrence’s car at Brainerd and Indy which was pretty cool because we won Brainerd and went to the semifinals in Indy so it’s been a very busy summer.
“We also had a few match races with our family car in August and we were able to try out a few things in our clutch department to get the car more consistent than we were at Epping, our last NHRA race, so we’re pretty confident we can run well in Reading.”
READING, PA – Entering the NHRA’s six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs in the 10th and final spot does have one distinct advantage for Scott Palmer — he’s got nothing to lose. It’s a point he plans to prove several times down the stretch run, beginning at this weekend’s 34th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
“For the next six races, we’re going to be more reckless for sure,” Palmer said. “We will be 100-percent aggressive every race instead of constantly looking over our shoulder like we had to do this summer.
“In the Countdown, there are no oil-down penalties so the gloves can come off. We’re going from a strategic boxing match to a street fight. Now we get to just go and race hard and run the cars as hard as we can. It’s gonna be fun.”
Due to oil pressure issues during his warm-up in the pits and as his team tried to ignite his dragster on the starting line, Palmer elected not to run his first-round race against Terry McMillen despite the fact he had a lot of confidence in his machine.
“Ultimately, we’re leaving Indy in the top 10 so we’ll have a chance to run for the championship and that was our primary goal for the regular season,” Palmer said. “Now we’ll reset our goals, along with the points being reset, and we’ll do everything we can these last six races to win everything we can.
“I’m disappointed in this day because our fans here and really throughout the year have been so supportive and we knew we had a car that could have made a run. We qualified fourth at the U.S. Nationals! I mean, we have a lot of racecar here and I’m convinced we could have made a run today.”
Playing it safe and not making a run with a dodgy oil pressure reading paid dividends in the form of securing Palmer’s place in the Countdown. The playoff pressure was actually relieved a few pairs in front of Palmer’s race when Richie Crampton lost, eliminating his team from contention.