Chevy Cobalts Post Sport-Compact Season-Opening Victories Jason Hunt, Marty Ladwig Battle in All-Cobalt Final; Ballard Drives Ecotec-Powered Chevy to Turbo Street Win DALLAS, March 11, 2007 - The Texas Motorplex was the site for today's NDRA...
Chevy Cobalts Post Sport-Compact Season-Opening Victories
Jason Hunt, Marty Ladwig Battle in All-Cobalt Final; Ballard Drives Ecotec-Powered Chevy to Turbo Street Win
DALLAS, March 11, 2007 - The Texas Motorplex was the site for today's NDRA Spring Nationals, an event dominated by GM Ecotec horsepower in three of the contested Professional categories including an all-Chevy Cobalt final round in Pro Outlaw FWD, and a win for Chevrolet in the closely contested Turbo Street class.
Jason Hunt captured his first national-event victory of 2007 driving past Marty Ladwig in the all-Chevrolet final round of the Pro Outlaw FWD category. Both drivers qualified strong for this weekend's event with Ladwig's Lucas Oil Chevy Cobalt taking the top spot in time trials with a 7.522 second run. Hunt's Matco Tools Chevrolet was parked in the No. 2 position with a 7.526 e.t. at 194 mph.
"We were trying a lot of new things and the car was still unbelievably consistent," said Hunt. "We were nervous in the finals. Marty (Ladwig) is running real hard and they'll have us looking over our shoulder all year, but we just did what we needed to do this weekend. We'll go to Phoenix, try to find a couple of tenths, and I need to find a little on the tree - hit it harder.
"The crew was outstanding and to come out at the first race of the year after what happened last season, this is great. There are going to be four Chevy Cobalts gunning after each other at every race so you'd better look out. If you're going to win the NHRA championship you'd better first go get a Cobalt. We have the strongest platform, and a great group of people behind us with the GM Racing support team. What else can you say accept that no one goes racing like Chevrolet."
On Sunday both Chevrolet drivers continued their torrid pace with Ladwig's Ecotec-powered Cobalt running a raceday best of 7.561 seconds to give the Lucas Oil driver lane choice in the finals against Hunt. The championship heat, though, belonged to the defending Pro Outlaw FWD champ with Hunt driving his Matco Tools Cobalt to a winning 7.566 second run at an event-best speed of 195.76 mph. After an impressive showing all weekend, Ladwig's car bogged at the start and coasted across the line.
"We expected to do well this weekend, and with the exception of our little problem in the finals, that's pretty much the way things went," said Ladwig. "The main thing is that we came here to run laps, to get a handle on our new Lucas Oil Chevrolet, and considering we leave here with the pole award and a runner-up, I'm pretty happy with the outcome. We proved that the car is capable of putting up competitive numbers, and when we go to the NHRA event in West Palm Beach in a couple of weeks, we'll be ready to run for a championship. Our new Cobalt looks great, it runs great, we'll figure out our little electrical problem and be ready to go. We can race with the best of them. The car drives straight down the track and even if it does spin the tire and get a little out of control, I can steer it and point it where it needs to go. It's very stable and very level. I'm very excited about this car's potential."
Defending Turbo Street champion Brian Ballard captured his first win of the year during a consistently quick weekend that saw the K & N Filters Chevy Cobalt driver take the No. 1 qualifying award with a 9.402 second run at 154.26 mph. On raceday, Ballard won round one with a 9.411 e.t. at 152.00 mph, enjoyed a bye in round two, posted a 9.466 second run at 151.71 mph in the semifinals, and defeated the Scion of Jason Lopes in the title heat with a 9.468 e.t. at 153.25 mph.
"We raced Hondas, Mazdas and Scions and none of them could match the performance of this Chevy Cobalt," said Ballard. "A great team and great sponsors make it a bit easier for me, but we're happy to begin the year with a win. We consistently ran 9.40s, won rounds, our Ecotec performance package was strong and reliable, you couldn't ask for anything more at the first event. Winning the race and running the table is exactly the kind of way you'd want to start a new season. The new rules didn't slow us down that much and our K & N Filters Chevy Cobalt did exactly what we wanted it to do. We'll leave the performance where it is and try to continue running the kind of numbers we ran today."
Don Nase Jr. put his GM Ecotec-powered dragster in the winner's circle of the Pro Extreme category. Nase qualified in the No. 1 position and laid claim to his first victory of the 2007 season.
"We're breaking new ground with our GM Ecotec dragster," said Nase. "It was a good learning weekend and it counts as a 'W' in the column. We thrive on competition because that's what makes us better. To go fast and try to do things costs money, it costs parts and it costs sweat and blood. We want to be the first to run in the fives for everybody involved, GM Racing, Ecotec, VP Racing, Goodyear, Pro Torque, AirWerks, Roush Racing, Mobil One, all the sponsors who make our program possible. This is, after all, is another win for them."
-credit: gm racing