Don "Burndown" Burton has had a myriad of crewmembers, but former Pro 5.0 standout Tom Sanders has been in his corner so far at Bradenton and Reynolds. That's a lot of nitrous knowledge on one team, and the two use it on every pass. Don's Gene Fulton Racing Engines' big-block-powered '80 Mustang didn't do well on his one qualifying pass. As a matter of fact, Don found himself at the bottom of the qualifying list, so there was only one way to go-up through eliminations. Don and Tom had the car running 7.50s in eliminations until the final round when a 7.82 wasn't enough to overcome Jarrett Halfacre's 7.47
To hear EFI Renegade racer Brian Mitchell at a race, you'd wonder how his car makes it down the track. Something's always wrong with it, whether it be a warped crank pulley or a snapped widget holder. This reverse psychology is most likely used to loosen up his EFI Renegade competition, but at this point in the game, we don't think anyone is fooled by Brian's "aw, shucks" demeanor-especially when he runs an 8.60-something right after saying the thing was going to come apart any second. With his new car, Brian doesn't have many of those arguments to fall back on anymore, but we're sure he can come up with something. After running in the 8.40s at Bradenton, he was "only" able to run 8.60s at Reynolds. Final-round competitor Bob Cook was in the 8.50s, so Brian had to push the Tree. It pushed back with a red-light start.
Bob Kurgan left his car in Florida after the Bradenton race and flew back home to Illinois; he then flew back to Florida to haul the car to Georgia. The only thing Bob changed on it was the rear gear. "After sitting for two days while it rained, we ran a single round of qualifying and my car started idling funky," Bob says. We normally think funky is good, but not so much in this case. He checked the car's ignition and the fuel system, but he traced the problem to a faulty map sensor. Bob and his crew fixed the problem, and the car ran consistent during eliminations until the final round against John Kolivas. Bob was hoping the track would be there for him like it was in previous rounds, but he blew the tires off as John pulled away for the win.