ETCHELLS SET FOR A 300 MILE-PER-HOUR SHOWDOWN IN DALLAS Putnam, Conn., October 18, 1998 - As he arrives in the Lone Star State for this weekend's Revell Nationals, Chuck Etchells knows he is facing an uphill battle in the chase for the ...
ETCHELLS SET FOR A 300 MILE-PER-HOUR SHOWDOWN IN DALLAS
Putnam, Conn., October 18, 1998 - As he arrives in the Lone Star State for this weekend's Revell Nationals, Chuck Etchells knows he is facing an uphill battle in the chase for the championship. With three races remaining on the 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series schedule, Etchells finds himself a little over eight rounds behind leader John Force. A tough assignment, but not impossible. In fact, if you ask the Kendall Oil/MaMa Rosa's Pizza Superwinch Camaro Z28 pilot, he has the competition right where he wants them - in his crosshairs, and he plans to come out with guns blazing this weekend at the Texas Motorplex.
"I was talking with the General (co-crew chief Tim Richards) last week, and we got into a discussion about the points," related Etchells. "We both agreed that this championship is far from decided. The way we see it, we need to win two of the next three races to realistically make a run for the title. It's a tall order, but we believe we're just the team that can do it!"
Looking over Etchells' performances of late shows that his confidence is well founded. In each of the last two events, the Etchells "flopper" has posted one of the quickest times of eliminations. At the most recent event in Topeka, Etchells passes were among the best, with only one thousandth of a second separating him from his fifth final round and potentially third event win of the season. It is apparent that the Etchells crew, which was one of the most consistent and productive heading into the West Coast swing, has regained the winning form which has allowed them to hold the points lead on two separate occasions in 1998.
"Tim and Kim Richards and the entire team have done a great job of getting our Camaro Z28 back on track," explained Etchells. "It's no secret that we were a tick off for a few races. But instead of getting down, they just worked harder, and right now our car is one of the strongest out there. The car's driving like it should, and we're starting to get the results we want. If you look in our pit area, you'll see that everybody's confidence is on the rise. This team is definitely ready to win again."
Another factor bolstering Etchells' outlook is the location of this weekend's event. Leaving the notoriously fast track in Heartland Park Topeka, the NHRA's best now head to another one of the circuit's premier speedplants, the Texas Motorplex. Its all-concrete surface is said to have a lot of "teeth", which translates into a tremendous amount of speed-producing traction. The challenge will be for each team to take full advantage of this potential, while avoiding overpowering the track, which would result in futile tire smoking. The driver on the other hand, must keep his 6,000 horsepower rocket headed straight, keeping it in the narrow groove of rubber which provides the grip necessary for a four-second, 300 mile-per-hour run. Having won this event in 1995, the Etchells crew knows what it takes, and it ready to duplicate those results this weekend.
"It's always good to go to a track where you've won before," said Etchells. "If you've won once, you know you can do it again. It's an extra boost for the team's spirits, and with the competition as tight as it is in Funny Car we'll take every advantage we can get. The pieces are in place, and the only thing missing from the Kendall Oil/MaMa Rosa's Pizza/Superwinch Camaro Z28 Racing team is the Revell Nationals winner's trophy, which we plan to leave the Motorplex with on Sunday!"
hird place in the Winston points standings.....Etchells has already exceeded his elimination round victory total from last year (27), and looks to surpass his personal best of 31, set in 1993 at this event.
WHAT: 13th Annual Revell Nationals, the twentieth of 22 events on the 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series schedule.
WHEN: October 22-25, 1998
WHERE: Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas
SCHEDULE: Pro qualifying sessions start with two sessions on Friday, October 23 at 2:00 and 5:30 p.m., and conclude on Saturday, October 24 with two rounds at 11 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 25.
TV: TNN will provide one hour of live first round coverage during the "NHRA Today" show from 12:30 -1:30 p.m. (EDT) and two hours of final round coverage from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, October 25. As always, please check your local listings.