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Chevy Cobalts And ECOtec Horsepower Dominate Mountain Madness Sport Compact Qualifying Marty Ladwig, Gary Gardella Drive Cobalts To Bandimere Speedway Track Records MORRISON, Colo., June 11, 2005 - Chevy Cobalts and ECOtec horsepower dominated...

Chevy Cobalts And ECOtec Horsepower Dominate Mountain Madness Sport Compact Qualifying Marty Ladwig, Gary Gardella Drive Cobalts To Bandimere Speedway Track Records

MORRISON, Colo., June 11, 2005 - Chevy Cobalts and ECOtec horsepower dominated time trials for the Second annual Mountain Madness NHRA Sport Compact Nationals today at Bandimere Speedway, shredding the track record book and taking top qualifying honors in two professional categories.

For the second year in a row, the GM Racing team placed their ECOtec-powered Chevrolet into the No. 1 starting spot for Sunday's Pro FWD eliminator. Marty Ladwig's 2005 Cobalt set both ends of the Bandimere Speedway track record when it stopped the timers with a run of 7.592 seconds at 199.32 mph, the second fastest speed ever recorded in Pro FWD history. It was also Ladwig's 13th career No. 1 qualifying award as an NHRA Sport Compact competitor and his third this season in the NHRA Pro FWD category.

"We have a new sponsor in Air Works, Borg Warner is on board with their turbos, and the 199 mph pass was something that everyone on this GM Racing team is very pleased with," said Ladwig. "We wanted to get some testing in yesterday but because of the weather we weren't able to do that. We're taking baby steps working toward a good tune up for raceday and I really feel good about that last pass. We made some changes to our Chevy Cobalt prior to that final session and we learned a quite a bit that we'll be able to use tomorrow.

"I feel very fortunate to be a part of this team. Everyone is very knowledgeable about how to race and how to win, and there's never a problem with the racecar that they can't fix. All of these runs feel fast. It's an intense ride going that close to 200 mph in a front-wheel-drive configuration, and these ECOtec engines are making a tremendous amount of horsepower which is one of the primary reasons this Chevy Cobalt is so much fun to drive."

In HOT ROD, Gary Gardella captured his first No. 1 qualifying spot this season after driving his ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt to a track-record elapsed time of 8.096 seconds at 177.70 mph. It was Gardella's third career No. 1 qualifying award and his first at Bandimere Speedway. Ron Lummus is qualified second in a Pontiac and set a track-record top speed of 177.77 mph.

"We were down about 10 pounds of boost during the first qualifying session," explained Gardella. "We checked the waste gate, we checked the turbo and everything looked fine, but we couldn't figure out where the problem was coming from. We decided to upgrade our turbo, it worked out pretty well with the 8.09 run, but we feel we still have room to improve. During the last round the oil light came, and I didn't want to kill the engine since we were already qualified No. 1, so I shut off the car.

"It feels good to get that third No. 1 qualifying award. The competition out here is tough so it always says something about the quality of your program when you can come out on top. We're going to keep working toward making this car faster and faster with the goal of representing Chevy Cobalt the best that we can. It was certainly worth the trip out here from New Jersey. I love the mountains, I love beautiful Colorado and I love this racetrack. Next to Englishtown (N.J.) and Atco (N.J.), Bandimere Speedway is my favorite racetrack. We're going to check our data and try to figure out why the oil light came on. We may have to change motors, but I hope not. This ECOtec powerplant has been running like a champ. We'll see. We have a back up bullet ready to go and changing engines is a decision we'll make together as a team."

Coming off his most recent win two weeks ago in Topeka, Kan., Matt Hartford drove the Summit Racing Chevrolet to the No. 4 qualifying spot. Powered by the twin-turbo GM High Feature 3.5L V6 engine, Hartford's Chevrolet posted a time of 6.840 seconds at a speed of 205.85 mph.

"We haven't leaned on our tune up too much because we're creeping up on what it takes to run fast and consistent in this kind of altitude, which is pretty new to us," said Hartford. "Everyone else ran up here all week and today we made our first pass on this racetrack. Today we learned that we have to get by Ara (Arslanian) in the first round tomorrow and after that we need to go a few more. We feel like we're playing a little bit of catch-up. We made a bunch of changes today on our Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet. We tried two different engine combinations, we tried different turbos and each pass we're getting quicker and quicker."

-gm racing-

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