Team Chevy Ready for Mile-High Competition at Bandimere Speedway Pro FWD Points Battle Tightens DENVER, June 6, 2006 - The thin, mile-high Colorado air at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains will be just one of the variables Team Chevy racers...
Team Chevy Ready for Mile-High Competition at Bandimere Speedway
Pro FWD Points Battle Tightens
DENVER, June 6, 2006 - The thin, mile-high Colorado air at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains will be just one of the variables Team Chevy racers will encounter this weekend when they head off to Bandimere Speedway for the Third annual Mountain Madness NHRA Sport Compact Nationals on June 10 - 11. Unlike their naturally aspirated Pro Stock counterparts that compete on the POWERade side of the series, the turbocharged ECOtec engines that power Team Chevy's stable of Cobalts more than make up for the reduced oxygen levels. In fact, two years ago at this event in Pro FWD, an ECOtec-powered Chevrolet driven by Nelson Hoyos set what was then both ends of the national record with a run of 7.778 seconds at 191.51 mph. And at last year's event, Marty Ladwig earned pole qualifying honors when he drove his Pro FWD Chevy Cobalt to what was then the quickest e.t. in the history of the class at 7.59 seconds.
"You're running the car through less air, so the horsepower produced by our turbocharged ECOtec engines, combined with the thinner air we race in at Bandimere Speedway, actually creates the potential of running quicker and faster than we would at other tracks, " said current Lucas Oil Chevy Cobalt driver Marty Ladwig. "That's one of the reasons why in the past couple of years you've seen such a tremendous increase in performance when we visit Bandimere Speedway. Another factor also to consider is how much everyone enjoys racing here. The Bandimeres treat all the racers like they're family and the preparation that goes into the racing surface is impeccable. If you were to ask a lot of the racers out here, they would tell you that this is one of their favorite places to compete."
Although Ladwig is yet to win a race at Bandimere Speedway in the Pro FWD category, he did capture a victory there in 2004 from the No. 1 qualifying spot when he competed in HOT ROD. Coming into this year's race, Ladwig sits third in the Pro FWD standings and will be looking to erase an 83-point deficit with first-place Ed Bergenholtz.
Team Chevy's Gary Gardella is another one of the Cobalt stalwarts who has experienced his share of success at the famed mile-high quarter-mile strip. Competing last year in the HOT ROD category, Gardella set low e.t. of the meet, earned pole qualifying honors and won the event (his second career final-round at Denver) by defeating eventual 2005 champion Ron Lummus in the finals. This year, Gardella will come to Denver as a competitor in the Pro FWD category, and a runner-up at Atco Raceway (N.J.) last month gives the New Jersey native confidence that his program is on the right track.
"We love racing at Bandimere Speedway and our record there during the past two years shows how much we do enjoy coming to Denver," said Gardella. "The last two races show that we're beginning to get a better handle on this setup and during the racing break since Atco (N.J.), we've been able to make even more improvements on the DuPont/Hot Hues Chevy Cobalt. We're only a little over five rounds out of first place, and with five races remaining there's plenty of time to make up the difference. The runner-up at Atco was a nice start, but a good performance and a win at Denver will allow us to make up that difference pretty quickly."
Coming off his first career win at Atco on May 21, Team Chevy's Bryan Jimenez and his Everyone's Mortgage Cobalt team appear to have found the sweet spot on their new racecar. Jimenez has shown remarkable improvement since the beginning of the year when he first climbed into his brand-new ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt. The 26-year-old Houston native advanced to the finals at the first event at West Palm Beach (Fla.) on April 2, and scored his first career victory at Atco with a final-round win over Gary Gardella.
"This is the most fun I've ever had driving a racecar," said Jimenez. "The GM team that put this proven package together has done a remarkable job. Everybody should be so lucky to have a racecar that is this good. With each run we seem to dial-in this Chevy Cobalt a little bit more, and each time down the track it just wants to run straight as a string. We're looking forward to Denver. We have a lot of momentum going after the win in Atco, and everyone on this team is confident that we can continue to close the gap with Ed."
The Mountain Madness NHRA Sport Compact Nationals will be telecast on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 25, beginning at 2 a.m. Eastern. A repeat telecast will be shown on ESPN2 on Thursday, July 27, starting at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.