Scott Palmer Racing
SONOMA, CA – It wasn’t until CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel veteran Scott Palmer started racing for businessman Tommy Thompson a year and a half ago that he was able step up his game enough to run with the top teams in the NHRA Drag Racing Series. It’s been a wonderful blessing for the lifelong fan-turned-driver and yet part of competing at the highest level is the big-time challenges that occasionally arise.
“When I was running part-time all those years I had to run defensively,” Palmer said. “I liken it to the way my grandparents said it was here in America during the Great Depression because we had to save everything we could. We’d take parts and pieces others were throwing away and make them work. We really didn’t have a choice if we wanted to race.
“Now CatSpot and Tommy Thompson gives us everything we need to go fast. We’re no longer happy just to make the field. Now we come into every race expecting to run well, and I think our record is showing everyone we’re a legitimate team. When we race the big guys now, they don’t take us for chumps. They run us hard because they know we can beat them, and this is just our second full year with a true race budget.”
Ironically, when he was cannon fodder for the big guns, the only places Palmer could regularly fight on somewhat level footing was at racetracks with dodgy surfaces. Less-than-perfect racetracks curb the advantages of high-horsepower teams as they can’t unleash their full potential for fear of over-powering the track and smoking their tires.
DENVER – Scott Palmer’s upset win over three-time champion Antron Brown in the opening round of Sunday’s 39th annual Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway lifted the driver of the CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster into the final spot for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
There are still four races until the Countdown begins in early September, but it’s always better to be above the cutline. Last season, Palmer qualified for the playoffs for the first time in his career so earning another chance at the title has been a top goal for his team.
“Absolutely this was a great day for us,” said Palmer, who was making is 100th career start in NHRA competition. “We’re no longer a team that people take lightly. They know if they do we’re gonna beat them. Being in the top 10 is important for us, for the crew guys, and for our sponsors. It’s our way of showing everyone we’re not a chump car.”
Against Brown, Palmer gave up a slight edge at the starting line but quickly caught and passed a laboring Brown to take the victory with a 3.894-second pass at 317.34 mph to Brown’s 4.047 at 300.13 mph. Brown’s engine dropped a cylinder almost immediately, causing a reduction in horsepower. Until this race, Brown was 10-0 versus Palmer.
DENVER – Scott Palmer and his crowd-favorite CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster team are looking sharp through qualifying for the 39th annual Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Palmer and crew coaxed a steady 3.860 at 317.27 mph out of their nitro-burning machine, earning the No. 9 position in the race day field.
“The first two passes Friday were planned shut-off runs and we still put a 3.90 on the scoreboard last night even though I lifted at 750 feet,” Palmer said. “We watched what other people were doing this evening and got on it enough to run a 3.86 so we know what we have. We can work with this tomorrow, for sure.”
Because of its altitude, Bandimere Speedway is unlike any other track on the national tour. The lack of oxygen results in less horsepower being made and crew chiefs, like CatSpot Racing’s Jason McCulloch, have to lean on their equipment more to make up for the deficit.
At the same time, it’s been a hot weekend on Thunder Mountain and this year the NHRA has purposely been less aggressive in prepping the racing surfaces each weekend in an effort to keep teams from going too fast.
DENVER – The Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway always presents a challenge for drag racers running the national tour as the lack of oxygen drastically changes the way their nitro-burning cars perform. Crowd favorite Scott Palmer, driver of the CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster, says his blue-collar crew is looking to take advantage of the situation if anyone else struggles.
“It’s a balancing game up there,” Palmer said. “Keep in mind, last year in Denver we ran the same basic combination (points leader Steve) Torrence did and we posted our career best at that track, a 3.87 at 318 mph. That was awesome but we had to run our stuff so hard to go that fast and it can be very tough on your budget.
“We feel like we can run mid to high 3.80s again this year but there are going to be guys trying to run 3.75s or faster. We’ll be forced to draw a line at some point because you have to decide if it’s worth pushing your equipment that hard. There’s going to be lots of expensive parts sacrificed on the mountain and we don’t want to contribute any of ours.”
EPPING, NH – Rickey House powered his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel Harley-Davidson to the semifinals of the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals Sunday at New England Dragway to pace the efforts of CatSpot Racing, which include Top Fuel dragster pilots Scott Palmer and Dom Lagana.
After qualifying fourth overall, House used the lowest elapsed time of the meet to beat Beau Layne in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations. House’s run of 6.283 seconds at 220.91 mph was more than enough to trailer Layne, who posted a 7.216 at 139.60 mph.
The quick run gave House lane choice against points leader Doug Vancil in the semifinals but a loss of traction just off the starting pad negated the lane-choice advantage and House’s quicker reaction time, ultimately allowing Vancil to advance to the final with a 6.268 at 226.70 mph to House’s resigned 7.621 at 141.94 mph.
“I tried to back it down a little bit in the second round,” House said. “In the first round, when I ran the .28, I actually had to pedal it a little but I was able to recover and still make a great run. That’s why I tried to back it down a little bit in Round 2. I just wasn’t able to save it a second time.
EPPING, NH – Things are going extremely well for CatSpot Organic Cat Litter-sponsored racers Dom Lagana, Scott Palmer and Rickey House at this weekend’s sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals as all three men finished qualifying in the top half of their respective classes.
Lagana and Palmer are slotted sixth and seventh in Top Fuel after some impressive runs in the second time-trial, which was held Friday evening when conditions were the best of the first two days of the sellout event.
Although they run an identical setup, Lagana ran slightly quicker, posting a 3.781-second pass at 326.16 mph on the scoreboard.
“We’ve got so much history out here at this track and Tommy Thompson and CatSpot are keeping us going,” Lagana said. “We’ve been struggling with this car a little bit but we’ve got this thing tuned up now. We made it down in both quick and warm conditions and the car is responding well to the changes that we make.
EPPING, NH – A perennial title contender in the Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley Series, Texan Rickey House has proven to be calm under pressure on his 225-mph CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Harley-Davidson. But even a drag racing veteran like House can be surprised from time to time, which is exactly what happened on his nearly 2,000-mile journey to this weekend’s sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals.
“The wheel bearing on the race trailer broke on the way up here and the whole wheel came off and actually passed me as I was slowing down,” House said. “Luckily it didn’t hit anything or anybody and I was able to find it and get it back. It chewed the axle and spindle up. I don’t know if it lost its oil or what happened but we’ll get it fixed.
“I only had 187 miles to go so we limped it to the track. Now we’ve got it all torn apart and I got some leads on a new axle and hopefully I’ll get something in here this weekend and get it fixed. In the meantime, I have to work on the race bike and get it going because I’ve got to do better than I did at the last race in Bristol. I didn’t even qualify there and that’s just weird.”
A DNQ certainly is out of character for House, who was runner-up to the world championship last season. Currently fourth in the points with one win to his credit this year, House knows things can turn around quickly in the world’s fastest motorsport.