Moroso First NHRA Sport Compact Stop For Team Chevy Red Bowtie Lineup Ready to Tackle Famed Quarter-Mile JUPITER, Fla., March 28, 2006 - GM Racing and Team Chevy will present a formidable cadre of young guns as they take to the famed dragstrip...
Moroso First NHRA Sport Compact Stop For Team Chevy
Red Bowtie Lineup Ready to Tackle Famed Quarter-Mile
JUPITER, Fla., March 28, 2006 - GM Racing and Team Chevy will present a formidable cadre of young guns as they take to the famed dragstrip at Moroso Motorsports Park on April 1 - 2 for the South Florida NHRA Sport Compact Nationals. ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalts will make their presence felt by competing in various eliminator categories at the opening race on the NHRA XPlod Sport Compact Racing Series schedule.
"The more teams we have running our products, the more ambassadors we have," said Carmen Smith, program manager for sport-compact drag racing/drifting at GM. "With a positive experience, the Chevy Cobalt teams will speak highly of our products and word-of-mouth will continue to grow our business. The teams will also be learning and becoming experts on racing an ECOtec-powered Cobalt. They will be able to advise others who might be interested in switching to GM products.
"In sport-compact drag racing, we demonstrate the capabilities of GM parts. If an ECOtec motor and Hydra-Matic transmission can handle 1200hp and power a Cobalt to a seven-second quarter-mile pass, then it can certainly be upgraded to do what any enthusiast might desire. Our program is the proof. Although we realize that not many people want to go to the extreme that we do, our race parts are available for sale to any professional builder that might want to take on the task."
Marty Ladwig is slated to make his first competitive venture onto the quarter-mile this season at Moroso Motorsports Park, but this time as a team owner/driver. The two-time NHRA champion (2003-04) in the HOT ROD category will climb back into an ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt for the 2006 campaign and compete for the NHRA Pro FWD championship. A two-time winner of the Nitto South Florida Nationals (2003-04), and a No. 1 qualifier here in 2004, the Lucas Oil Chevy Cobalt driver is very familiar with the Moroso strip.
"I'm looking forward to seeing just where my program stacks up," said Ladwig. "This will be the first time I've competed in Pro FWD as an independent racer, and when you look at all the good teams that are scheduled to show up in Florida, it's going to be tough. But I love racing at Moroso Motorsports Park, we've had some great experiences there and we're hoping to add to that this weekend."
Ladwig made drag racing history last May at the NHRA Sport Compact Nationals in Atco (N.J.) when his ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt became the first front-wheel-drive car to break the magical 200-mph barrier in a quarter-mile running an unprecedented speed of 202.02 mph in a final-round victory over Jason Hunt. The 200-mph-run in New Jersey is just one of several career highlights for Ladwig that includes two NHRA HOT ROD championships (2003-04), numerous national-event victories and success in both the NHRA HOT ROD and NHRA Pro FWD/NOPI Pro Outlaw FWD.
"I've spent the last four seasons racing GM hardware, so I know what an excellent package the ECOtec Chevy Cobalt is," said Ladwig. "I'm familiar with the extensive research and development that GM has put into all of its drag racing programs, not only from an on-track performance standpoint, but also their emphasis on safety and moving the sport to the next level. I'm looking forward to another great season in my Lucas Oil Chevrolet and competing for the NHRA Pro FWD championship. Looking at the number of great teams and drivers who will be entered in Pro FWD this season, we're hoping to run fast enough to stay at the front of the pack."
Joining Ladwig at Moroso Motorsports Park in the Pro FWD category will be DuPont/Hot Hues Chevy Cobalt driver Gary Gardella. The 26-year-old Gardella competed in the HOT ROD category in 2005 and was runner-up at this event to Ron Lummus. He then went on to claim three of the five NHRA HOT ROD events in which he competed (he was runner-up twice), including the fall NHRA Sport Compact eliminator at Moroso where he won the race from the No. 1 qualifying position.
"We learned quite a bit from racing at Phoenix last week and we're pretty confident that we'll be ready to go at Moroso," said Gardella. "The crew did an outstanding job. We struggled with some electrical problems there so we flew someone in from California who gave us a pretty good diagnosis of the situation. This will be my debut race in the Pro FWD category so we want to do it right - we're confident that we'll be prepared to make a good showing. I still believe that if we can get this DuPont/Hot Hues Chevrolet back in the groove that it is a consistent 7.90 racecar every time out, and that's the kind of performance you're going to need to be competitive for the long run."
Fans of the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Series will also get their first on-track look of the new Sam Bass-designed paint scheme on Gardella's DuPont/Hot Hues Chevy Cobalt.
"DuPont and Hot Hues brought in Sam Bass who created an incredible rendering for the racecar that looks sharp," explained Gardella. "We were sorry to see the candy-apple red scheme go away but this is a truly remarkable paint job. Our Chevy Cobalt is looking beautiful. We've got a first-rate organization and our goal is to display that on and off the racetrack. We also purchased the GM Racing transporter and spent a lot of time working on that, put a nice paint job on it, and it's come around nicely. We're pretty excited for the upcoming season."
At the NDRA Sport Compact event in Phoenix, Bryan Jimenez had an opportunity to experience firsthand the superior handling and race capabilities of his new ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt. During qualifying, the Houston, Tex., resident ran a career-best e.t. of 8.18 seconds. At the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact event at Moroso Motorsports Park, Jimenez will be making his debut appearance in the Pro FWD category, and he's hoping that to put his Chevrolet into the seven-second range for the first time.
"We're excited, to say the least, about racing in the Pro FWD category," said Jimenez. "With the quality cars that will be at Moroso and the number of entries that they're expecting, it's going to be a great weekend of racing in the Pro FWD category.
"The crew has been working day and night to get our Chevy Cobalt ready, and our goals are to be consistent and try to run in the sevens for the first time. This Chevrolet is an awesome car, the best I've ever driven, and from a racer's perspective, you can't beat this package. I'm not used to being in a racecar that's built this good. It runs straight as an arrow on every pass and it drives beautifully - the Hydra-Matic transmission is very, very smooth and the entire combination is a testament to the R & D work that GM has put into this ECOtec-powered Chevrolet package."
Erica Nocita was all smiles after driving her Chevy Cobalt Phase5 to her first-ever No. 1 qualifying award at the NDRA Spring Break Nationals in Phoenix. Racing in the NOPI Chic category, the Azusa-Pacific University student posted a career-best speed of 122.93 mph and shattered her previous best mark by nearly three mph. For the South Florida Sport Compact Nationals, Nocita will enter her Chevy Cobalt Phase5 in the Quick 16 category.
"I had never been a No. 1 qualifier before so that was pretty amazing," said Nocita. "We came back on Sunday and made some changes to the racecar that improved our performance, and now we're pretty confident that our Cobalt Phase5 can run in the 10.90s at West Palm."
The South Florida Sport Compact Nationals at Moroso Motorsports Park on April 1 -2 is the first race on the NHRA Xplod schedule. ESPN2 will carry highlights of the race on Sunday, April 9, beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern.