Chevrolet Gainesville Qualifying Notes

CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, GAINESVILLE, FLA. MAC TOOLS GATORNATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2000 FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28 WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 2 ...

CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES
GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, GAINESVILLE, FLA.
MAC TOOLS GATORNATIONALS
NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES
SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2000

FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28

WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 2 qualifier, 4.837/313.51, set in Friday's first round of qualifying.

BAZEMORE: "We ran well yesterday and so we are making good progress with the Camaro and the whole team is. Since last summer, when we were really doing well, we've had a few good races, but we have also struggled a lot. The entire team, from Tim and Chuck all the way down, is really focused and we are really determined to get out of this slump. We tested a lot after Phoenix and the Camaro ran great. We came here and ran great. Tim is stil l working on the tune-up and really on one area of the track. He said when w e get that figured out we will be OK. OK to him means we will be very, very competitive. I feel very comfortable because we made good progress with th e car, the car is easy to drive right now. Even when it shakes it's predictable, it's easy to catch it. I'm really confident."

RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, is No. 4 qualifier, 4.893/302.01, set in the final qualifying session.

CAPPS: "We came off a race in Phoenix where we had low e.t. and ran consistently, and we finished runner-up. Anytime you come off of a good race you are very excited to go to the next race. More so at Gainesville. It has great traction, great atmospheric conditions and it's a track that w e look forward to going to. In the first qualifying round we had a timer malfunction, we had to abort the run with tire shake. We had a nice run in the second session with a 4.92 and in that run it put two cylinders out quite a ways before the finish line, so we knew the car had a lot more in it. The last session we were towards the end of the list to qualify and we knew the air was going to cool down a little bit in our favor. Typical deal, Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) came back and said hold on if it makes it past the first 200 feet. We were looking to run a middle .80 or a low .80, but at 700-800 feet it started to cut the nose over a little bit. I ran it as hard as I could and clicked it off on the first line of the finis h stripe. It turned out to be a good run. We were disappointed a little bit when the 4.89 came up, we expected it to be better. But we were second quick of the session. (John) Force ran a .88 and he was low. We were righ t with him that session so we know that we are going to be good tomorrow and that Ace can fix what it does at the other end of the track and if we get more mph it's going to really run good. Some of the guys ran 317 mph or 32 0 and we ran 301 and 302 in our two full runs. If we get our mph up there we will run a low .80."

PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28

KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, is No. 12, 6.927/200.23.

PRO STOCK TRUCK -- CHEVY S-10

RANDY DANIELS, DANIELS RACING CHEVY S-10, collected his first No. 1 qualifying position of his Pro Stock Truck career, with his track record-setting 7.494-second pass at 179.78 mph, a national record. Defending Pro Stock Truck Winston champion BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, is No. 2.

DANIELS: "We didn't get the e.t. record, but we still got the speed record, but no points. We're happy to finally get No. 1. We have been chasing this thing for two years. We have been No. 1 until the final qualifying a few times and someone would sneak around us at the end. It's nice to finally get the first one behind us, hopefully there will be more in front of us. The S-10 is running good, we just have to tune it better for the track. We found us a pretty fast combination for this weekend and hope we can keep it together for four more runs."

ON THE WIND: "It slowed us down. Yesterday we ran 179s, but it fell right off today. It feels like I just pulled the parachute when I put the clutch in. I never felt anything like it before. Coming across the finish line I could have swore in the first run that I pulled the parachute by accident. Normally I don't pull the parachute. When you have this much stopping room I let the S-10 settle down and I don't get on the brake immediately. When I put the clutch in to begin the stopping procedure it felt like the parachute came out."

STEVE JOHNS, CASTROL SUPER-CLEAN CHEVY S-10, did not qualify. He ended up 17th with a 7.581/171.49 pass. The irony is that Johns was No. 1 qualifier at the first race in Pomona, and Randy Daniels failed to qualify. Here, Daniels is on pole position, and Steve Johns failed to qualify.

JOHNS: "We came here unprepared to race and it shows completely; it's as simple as that. It's hard on everyone here, but it's the truth. We worked on the S-10 and we had handling problems in Friday's qualifying sessions, which were under the better conditions. We lost both of them with aborted runs. We tried to regroup pretty much for the third run and we made a terrible run because some other problems were there. We kind of reset everything for the fourth run and made a pretty good run, but it was just at the wrong time. It's all in the timing. We just have to get better as a team."

ON FAILING TO QUALIFY IN GAINESVILLE: "I only failed to qualify here one time in Comp Eliminator, and it was in Gainesville. That has nothing to do with it. That's just how weird things happen." Note: Johns has failed to qualify only once before in seven Pro Stock Truck events: Dallas in '99.

PANELLA: "I'm happy. We're consistent. We made two exact runs yesterday and two very close runs today. We're trying to sneak up on little things, so we know what to do and what not to do tomorrow."

ON THE WIND: "I felt it more this morning than I did this afternoon. I was concentrating harder this afternoon, but this morning it caught me by surprise. It was not a problem this afternoon. When you go past the grandstands, it just gives you a nudge, twice. Nothing scary, but you know it's there. I have been in places where it's on the scary side, but it's not so scary here."

DID YOU EXPECT TO BE QUICKER TODAY: "We expected, after looking at the weather, that everybody would go a little faster today, but the wind must have hurt us more than we gave it credit for. Even though these pickup trucks are aerodynamic, the wind affects them more than we expected."

STRATEGY FOR TOMORROW? "We'll just try to repeat what we did the last four runs. We tried enough little stuff between the two trucks (Panella owns Jeff Gracia's S-10, in No. 12) to know what to do and what not to do. If we can be consistent I think we can do some damage."

IS ANYONE ELSE RUNNING YOUR MOTORS? "Larry Seay has one of our engines and he's No. 5. I'm excited for him. We spent between Pomona and here working out some things on the S-10 that he didn't like that I didn't think were right. Unfortunately we didn't do much testing because the weather was bad. We found some things and it helped a lot. I told him to bring the S-10 to California after every race just for good luck."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Steve J