Pro outlaw 10.5
Keith Neal thanked Sheppard Race Cars and his new crew chief, Rick Irwin (we thought he looked familiar), for helping get him to victory at Bradenton. "After all the problems last year, we were determined to avoid parts failures this time out, so we backed the new John Urist-built bullet down to only 28 pounds of boost, then set up everything to leave nice and soft, which paid off in spades for us later Sunday during eliminations," Keith says. With Conrad Scarry and Jerry Morgano suffering mishaps prior to Sunday, the door was wide open. Keith took advantage of others' misfortunes during eliminations. In the final, Rueben Tetsoshvili lost traction and went 9.20 at 147 mph while Keith ran a 7.281 at 199.37. For the race, Keith was able to try Mickey Thompson's new 16-inch tire and he likes it. "They've really got something going on with that new tire design," Keith says.