GM Teams Run The Table At Sport Compact Springnationals Three No. 1 Qualifiers Post Class Wins at Englishtown ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 1, 2005 - Despite a weekend of intermittent showers, it was a dominant showing for GM-branded race teams at the...
GM Teams Run The Table At Sport Compact Springnationals
Three No. 1 Qualifiers Post Class Wins at Englishtown
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 1, 2005 - Despite a weekend of intermittent showers, it was a dominant showing for GM-branded race teams at the 8th annual Nitto Tires NHRA Sport Compact Springnationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park as three drivers claimed No. 1 qualifiers and then went on to post wins in their respective classes. Matt Hartford in his Summit Racing Chevy was a winner in Pro RWD, Jason Hunt in an Ecotec-powered Saturn claimed his first career win in Pro FWD, and Ron Lummus in his Ecotec-powered Pontiac went to the winner's circle for the second time this season in the Hot Rod class. Rain cancelled all track activities on Saturday, forcing teams to qualify and run eliminations on a busy Sunday.
Hartford claimed his second No. 1 qualifier of the season (W. Palm) in his Summit Racing Chevy with an elapsed time of 6.674 seconds at a track-record speed of 213.06 mph. In today's elimination rounds, his twin-turbo GM High Feature V6-powered Chevy bested points leader Steph Papadakis in the first round after Papadakis had a foul start. Hartford slowed to a 14.489-second pass at 56.67 mph. The 33-year-old Phoenix resident picked up in the second round with a 7.427 elapsed time at 150.88 mph to better Carlos Montano's 7.687 and 174.10 mph. Hartford saved his best for last in the finals with a 6.990 e.t. at 197.33 mph to better Ara Arslanian with his 7.066 e.t. at 200.14 mph.
"We came out here and our sights were set on trying to recover after Las Vegas," said Hartford. "That wasn't the best of weekends for us. To put this thing on the pole as No. 1 qualifier really felt good, and then we just had to run a smart race. We didn't know what the weather was going to do, but we knew all we had to do was just make rounds.
"We had a little luck on our side when the points leader red-lighted against us in Round 1, and that really helped us in the points. As soon as he red-lighted, we just shut it off. We've had some issues this year, so we're not exactly sure how long the fuse is all the time. It's like let's not wear out parts that we don't need to, plus we knew they weren't going to give us much time between rounds, so to change an engine between rounds was going to be real tight. We just played it safe, played it smart to try and win the race. And then to go to the finals and beat Ara, which is probably the most consistent car in the series, to beat him in the finals really makes us happy."
Jason Hunt from nearby Crofton, Md., claimed his first career win in Pro FWD by driving his Ecotec-powered Saturn to a final-round win over Ed Bergenholtz with an elapsed time of 8.474 seconds at 170.69 mph to his 8.683 seconds and 157.08 mph. Hunt also posted his second No. 1 qualifier of the season (W. Palm) with an elapsed time of 8.036 seconds and 184.75 mph.
"This was a great weekend," said Hunt. "We couldn't have asked for more. The weather came around and our weekend turned out to be a great one. We found a boost problem - a bolt fell out of the waste-gate pivot valve - and we got that fixed, but it almost ended are weekend because we had too much power. But with a little bit of luck we got back in the groove and were able to get around Ed. He's an awesome competitor. He got me on the light and I've got total respect for him. What a great weekend."
Ron Lummus in his Ecotec-powered Pontiac claimed his fifth consecutive No. 1 qualifying position in the Hot Rod class dating back to last year's October race here at Englishtown. Lummus also posted his second win of the year in three final-round appearances by besting Bryan Jimenez in the finals with an elapsed time of 7.995 seconds at 183.07 mph to Jimenez's 9.801 and 126.93 mph.
Next stop on the 2005 NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series is the Northeast NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Atco (N.J.) Raceway on May 14-15.