Vincent Nobile, when analyzing himself, always viewed himself as a potential race winner over the No. 1 qualifier. Qualifying No. 1 was one of those feats he hoped for, but never really anticipated.
Friday night in Charlotte, Nobile experienced what he’s been missing since he started driving Pro Stock two seasons ago.
At least provisionally, Nobile is the quickest Pro Stocker at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals hosted by zMax Dragway with two sessions remaining. His 6.548-second elapsed time is .006 quicker than Jason Line.
“It felt good,” said Nobile. “I knew when I clutched it, it was a good run. Then my crew came over the radio and told me how fast I had run, and I was shocked. It was a great run. We went back and looked at the computer graph for the run and it looks flawless.”
Where did the lack of No. 1 confidence come from? According to Nobile, the quick qualifying effort isn’t in the teams DNA.
“We’re always striving for No. 1 but we are not like all of these other teams that go testing every week,” said Nobile. “We are weekend warriors in the truest sense. We pack the car up after the race and roll it out for the next one. We rarely test, or try to improve ourselves, like that. When we test, it’s usually at the event.
“Depending on the air we get tomorrow and the time we run, I believe it will hold. We can even improve with the way the car is running now. It’s responding to everything we are telling it to do. We made a few changes after Q-1, and it liked it. There’s no reason why we can’t do even better.”
Nobile is aware of the No. 1 qualifier jinx and isn’t the least bit intimidated.
“Erica won two races ago from No. 1 and there wasn’t a jinx there,” Nobile explained. “When you’re the fastest car, you are the car to beat. Apparently I am the car to beat right now. I just need to make sure I do my job and keep us No. 1.”
Nobile said the team hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary outside of discovering an electrical issue which has limited the Moutainview Tire-sponsored Dodge Avenger.
“We haven’t done any testing but we did discover an electrical issue which had been plaguing us,” said Nobile. “It has been bothering us for about a year now. We figured it out today and it shows.”
Tonight Nobile says he’ll savor the moment.
“I never really figured I’d get a No. 1 qualifier and last year, I never even figured I’d win a race,” said Nobile, a three-time winner on the tour. “Once we got our first win, it’s all kind of started snowballing.”
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