KENT, Wash. (July 31) -- Professional drag racing comes with a lot of pressure as drivers work hard to keep their sponsors happy by staying in the spotlight, which is always easier to do when your car is running well. Such has been the case for Scott Palmer, driver of the CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster, who is enjoying a performance surge at the perfect time as the tour heads to Pacific Raceways for the 31st annual CatSpot Organic Cat Litter NHRA Northwest Nationals.
"I enjoy the pressure; I really do," Palmer said. "But I can also tell you that once the car starts, I don't feel any more pressure than what I put on myself. I probably put more on myself than I should and that can be a problem because you can try too hard and do something that hurts the run.
"I put pressure on myself because the car runs so well and I enjoy knowing that Tommy (Thompson, founder of CatSpot) will see us running well. I've seen people in my 15 years out here get a sponsor and never improve their performances so my goal here is to become a respectable, competitive Top Fuel car that can win races and I think we're there now."
Palmer credits his team's alliance with Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence and his entire CAPCO Racing operation. The two groups, who field a combined four cars, share data and help one another with a free exchange of ideas and even labor.
"Just look at the Sonoma race this past weekend," Palmer said. "They (CAPCO team) helped us to the point that me and Steve qualified seventh and eighth and we were the seventh-place car. We outran them by a little bit.
"Then you come to race day and they lose first round. It would be so easy for Mama Kay, Billy, Steve and Natalie (the Torrence family) to get on their private jet and fly home but they didn't. Steve came over right away and was doing our fuel and working on the cockpit. He doesn't even do that on his own car but he came over here and did it on our car. Gary Pritchett (Torrence's clutch specialist), the whole CAPCO team came over here and helped us analyze everything and if you think about it, that's why we ran great second round. It's a joint effort. This is a big team and I'm proud to be part of it."
A favorite among the fans because of their blue-collar work ethic and an open-pit policy where fans are encouraged to ask questions and hang out, the CatSpot Organic Cat Litter team also remains true to the No. 1 requirement of Tommy Thompson.
"We have fun," Palmer said. "Tommy could have picked any team out here to support but he chose us because we're hard working guys that always remember how lucky we are to do this. We relate to the fans because we were them not long ago...just walking the pits taking it all in.
"Our team and the CAPCO team are as competitive as anyone out here, but we make sure we enjoy ourselves along the way."