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Scott Palmer's Magic Dry Absorbent Top Fuel team extends encouraging streak

Scott Palmer's Magic Dry Absorbent Top Fuel team extends encouraging streak

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 5) -- Ever since Scott Palmer went searching for a little mojo about a month ago, his Magic Dry Organic Absorbent Top Fuel dragster team has been on an encouraging upward trend, which continued this weekend at the 39th annual Arby's NHRA Southern Nationals.

"We're gaining a little mojo back each weekend," Palmer said. "Ever since I realized we'd lost our mojo in Las Vegas, we've been on the search for it and I think it's working because we’ve won rounds at the last three races in a row. We've working hard to gain this momentum and need to keep it going."

Palmer went one-up, one-down at Atlanta Dragway, first beating Richie Crampton in a tire-smoking affair in Round 1, running a 3.971 at 265.85 mph to Crampton's 4.431 at 180.60 mph. He then lined up opposite reigning series champion and teammate Steve Torrence, but smoked the tires very early and drifted to an 8.919 at 86.97 mph, with Torrence posting a beatable 4.043 at 263.41 mph, that was also hampered by tire spin.

"We got some good luck in the first round," said Palmer, who left .030 seconds ahead of his opponent. "Both of us spun the tires down track but luckily I had posted a decent reaction time against Richie, who is really tough all the time, and we got to the finish line first.

"Second round we had Steve. Because we work so closely with them, we are relatively sure they are going to run a low 3.80 against us. There was no doubt in my mind that’s what they would run. We were trying to run a 3.84 or 3.85 and keep them honest. We hadn’t run faster than a 3.82 and that wasn’t in the heat so we wanted to run what we had run in the heat and try to beat him. I’m shocked it smoked the tires so early."

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series takes a weekend off before heading to Virginia Motorsports Park on May 17-19 for the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals.

"We really didn’t hurt anything here," Palmer said. "We will figure the tune-up out a little better and I think we will be good for Richmond. No excuses for today. I said at the first of the year that we are going up there to win, not hoping for somebody to mess up. If we would have raced a little more conservatively we would have won that round because he spun his tires down track. I pedaled it but there’s no recovering when it smokes that early."

Dodging raindrops, Magic Dry pro Scott Palmer earns 10th starting spot in Georgia

Dodging raindrops, Magic Dry pro Scott Palmer earns 10th starting spot in Georgia

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 4) -- On-and-off rain showers made qualifying for the 39th annual Arby's NHRA Southern Nationals a little more taxing than normal, but Scott Palmer and his Magic Dry Organic Absorbent dragster crew still managed to earn the No. 10 starting spot in the talent-laden Top Fuel class.

“We are happy with the performance of the car,” Palmer said. “It did exactly what it was supposed to do. We smoked ’em first round and that put us a little behind but we went down the track in Q2 and Q3 exactly the way we wanted to.”

Palmer's best 1,000-foot pass of the last two days was a 3.827 at 314.24 mph, which placed him 10th in the 16-car elimination field. For his efforts, he'll open race day opposite No. 7 qualifier Richie Crampton, who posted a top run of 3.814 at 312.64 mph. 

“Even though we are not in the greatest qualifying spot, there is no easy draw out here,” Palmer said. “Lane choice is important, everybody says, if you have it. If you don’t have it, everybody says it’s not important. 

“We actually ran our two best passes in the right lane, which is supposedly the worst lane, so if we can go down the right lane tomorrow with the sun on the track, we think we will be ok.”

Entering this weekend's race, Palmer was filled with confidence after scoring a fifth-place finish at the tour's last stop in Charlotte. At that event, he beat category heavyweights Brittany Force and Antron Brown, both past world champions.  

“We were third quick of Q3 and that’s pretty good if you are the third quickest out of all these cars,” Palmer said. “These are some badasses out here.  So, we know we can go down the track in race conditions and that’s what we are here for.”  

Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. with FOX Sports 1 carrying the action from 6-9 p.m. Times listed are local.

Magic Dry pro Scott Palmer on Cloud 9 heading into Arby's NHRA Southern Nationals

Magic Dry pro Scott Palmer on Cloud 9 heading into Arby's NHRA Southern Nationals

COMMERCE, Ga. (April 30) -- Coming off an odd, but ultimately successful, drag race in North Carolina, Scott Palmer arrives in Georgia for this weekend's 39th annual Arby's NHRA Southern Nationals with high hopes of another memorable national event. 

After struggling mightily during qualifying for last weekend's Four-Wide Nationals, Palmer came to life on race day, beating past world champions Brittany Force and Antron Brown on his way to a fifth-place finish overall. 

"Going to Atlanta, we are Cloud 9 because of our performance on Sunday in Charlotte," Palmer said. "We didn't qualify well because of some parts failures and we certainly didn't have a good draw with Brittany Force, Antron Brown and my teammate Dom Lagana in our foursome. I mean, that’s a terrible first-round draw. Nobody thought, with the struggles we had in qualifying, we could pull it off but me and Dom both advanced.

 "Then we spun the tires down-track in the next race but it made it 600 feet before it did. We easily could have won that round and been in the final but we ended up being the quickest of the four that didn't make it, so we finished fifth. We are not disappointed by that result."

Parts failure is bound to happen when you're dealing with 11,000-horsepower, nitro-burning engines, and no team is immune to gremlins, but as Palmer points out, it can be harder on smaller crews.

"It was just a few things we didn't have time to double check and they bit us," he said. "Since Sunday, we have gone over everything on this car with a fine-tooth comb to try and eliminate any more failures. It’s hard when you are on the road as much as we are and we only have three full-time people. Big teams usually have 10. So, it catches up with you at times and you have to stop and focus on the details to get it right."

Palmer benefits from a tuning alliance with the CAPCO Contractors team, which fields the cars of reigning world champion Steve Torrence and his father Billy Torrence. He's also teammates with CAPCO crew chief/part-time driver Dom Lagana, who will once again race the Lagana family's dragster this weekend.

"That gives us two cars with the exact same set-up to go off of in Atlanta," Palmer said. "Dom helps us quite a bit. Me and him are trying to keep the little guys out here. He struggled in Charlotte qualifying just like we did but also came alive and advanced on race day.

"Having someone like Dom as a teammate helps us so much because we were able to get together with our tune-ups Saturday night and figure out what we were going to do first round. That was huge for both of us.

"That was also the first time we have run in hot conditions this year and we are fairly confident when it’s warm outside, and it will be in Atlanta, that we can run with anyone."