>From NASCAR Public Relations, and Pontiac Racing
HOOPER SCORES FIRST NASCAR WIN FOR NEW PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Last year's NASCAR Southwest Tour champion LANCE HOOPER made motorsports history Sunday when he became the first driver to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race with the new Pontiac Grand Prix. Hooper won the NASCAR Winston West Series race at Altamont Raceway Park in Tracy, Calif. A circuit rookie in only his third career Winston West start, Hooper led 189 of 200 laps after capturing the pole position at track record speed. The race marked the Winston West debut for the new Pontiac Grand Prix. Pontiac teams were unable to run the car in the season opener on Jan. 91 at Tucson Raceway Park because Pontiac wanted the official debut of the car to be the Daytona 100. Nonetheless, Hooper finished second in that race with the old Pontiac Grand Prix body style. Thanks to Hooper. Pontiac is tied with Chevrolet at 15 points apiece for the circuit's manufacturers championship. Hooper leads the circuit point standings 360-308 over Gary Collins. Hooper is also one of 30 drivers invited to participate in the NASCAR exhibition race at Suzuki. Japan, on Nov. 24
LANCE: HOOPER (No. 07 Golden West Motorsports Pontiac Grand Prix): "We expected to do real well. We were coming off a championship season last year. The car owner Ray Claridge, bought the right equipment and put the right team together. The new Pontiac body really helps us on these short tracks. That was really a major difference from the first race to the second race. We're glad to give Pontiac it's first NASCAR win with the new Grand Prix."
IS THIS TEAM AHEAD OF YOUR PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS? "We like to go the races expecting to win. We try to go as fast as we can and go for the win. That's what we did this past weekend We don't focus too far ahead We're focusing on our next event, which is at Mesa Marin in April. We're going there to do more testing, and hopefully, we'll be able to dominate that race like we did this one."
COMPARE THE NEWS PONTIAC TO THE OLD GRAND PRIX BODY STYLE:? "The aerodynamics are much improved. We have more down force, and that gives you more corner speed It didn't look like at Daytona the Pontiacs had much straightaway speeds, but at these short tracks you seethe Pontiacs going more and more to the front. In our series, we run on half-mile or smaller tracks. So far it looks like we've got the right equation over here. "We couldn't run the new Pontiac in our first race, so Pontiac got us a car from Bill Davis Racing. They let us use it and it was a threat car. We finished second to a Monte Carlo, and I think the only reason was because they had superior aerodynamics. But now we can race the new cars and they really seem to make a difference for our team. We've got two brand new Pontiacs, and we're working on a third one."
WHAT ARE: YOUR FUTURE GOALS? "This season I'd like to become the first rookie champion in the Winston West Series. I feel like Ray Claridge hasput an outstanding team together and has given us the equipment to do just that We'd like to win the championship and rookie of the year honors. As far as my personal goals I've set my goal to try and be in Winston Cup by the year 2000. I'd like to run a season here in the Winston West, and then try to run in the Busch Series in order to get super speedway experience on the East Coast."
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