Chuck Etchells Racing Thursday St. Louis Pit Note

The Chuck Etchells Racing Team faced a formidable task during the first day of qualifying for the Sears Craftsman Nationals. The day after the last event in Columbus, Terry Manzer took over as crew chief on the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools...

The Chuck Etchells Racing Team faced a formidable task during the first day of qualifying for the Sears Craftsman Nationals. The day after the last event in Columbus, Terry Manzer took over as crew chief on the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Funny Car. Immediately upon the team's arrival at Gateway International Raceway, work began to adapt the tune-up on the Etchells fuel coupe to Manzer's liking. When the car pulled to the line on Thursday afternoon, the conversion was virtually complete, but there was some uncertainty as to just how well it would run.

Although their first attempt resulted in an immediate loss of traction, the team bounced back in the evening with an elapsed time of 5.126 seconds, which came after Bazemore was forced to click off early, and did not reflect the impressive early numbers. Despite sitting 13th, Bazemore was encouraged by the day's results, and looked forward to improving during Friday's final time trials.

"I think the team did a tremendous job today after all that's gone on this week. Anytime you make a change in the middle of the season, it puts everyone in a difficult position because there's no time to adapt. Terry Manzer came in here and had to change everything over from what Tim (previous crew chief Richards) had to a combination that he was familiar with. But with so little time, he simply couldn't get it all done.

"It's also been hard for the crew, because they've had to quickly get used to working for someone who does things completely differently. I'm happy for the team, because from what I saw today, I think it can gel together and be good, which is the important thing.

"Tonight, the Kendall/Matco Camaro was on a strong run with the early numbers indicating a high 4.80. Unfortunately, it dropped a cylinder after 8/10's of a second and then spit out a spark plug, so I shut it off a little early. All things considered, though, it wasn't a bad day."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Chuck Etchells