Etchells To Debut '99 Camaro Body in Denver

Etchells Racing to Debut '99 Camaro Funny Car Body in Denver DENVER; July 13, 1999: Following successful tests in the General Motors wind tunnel in Warren, Mich., the Chuck Etchells Racing Team, sponsored by Kendall Oil and...

Etchells Racing to Debut '99 Camaro Funny Car Body in Denver

DENVER; July 13, 1999: Following successful tests in the General Motors wind tunnel in Warren, Mich., the Chuck Etchells Racing Team, sponsored by Kendall Oil and Superwinch, with driver Whit Bazemore, will introduce an all-new Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Funny Car body at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals this weekend (July 15-18) at Bandimere Speedway, the 12th round of the 22-event NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. After rules changes were implemented by the NHRA at the end of 1998, Chevrolet, the GM Raceshop/Engineering, and the factory-supported Funny Car teams of Etchells and Don Prudhomme Racing (Ron Capps' Copenhagen Camaro), have been diligent in their pursuit to develop the latest, state-of-the-art Camaro body to help level the Funny Car playing field. There were setbacks throughout the '99 season, as the design was continually changing. "We were going for improved balance and additional downforce in this new design and we feel we have accomplished that goal by at least 10% over the '98 body," said Larry Kubes, NHRA Car Program Manager, GM Raceshop/Engineering. "With the heat of the summer coming into play, we feel it will help the performance of these Funny Cars on 'bad' tracks. It will reduce the tendency for these cars to wheelstand when the clutch welds and also on takeoff. "The NHRA got very liberal with the rules for the '99 body modifications," added Kubes, "and it took a lot of work for us to get to where the competition is. It took several iterations to get the body that we desired. We were used to evolutionary changes being made in the rules, but the level of change was revolutionary, so we had to get radical with this new body. "It's also important to Chevrolet that the Funny Car body maintains a strong connection to the production Camaro. A lot of work has gone into making the new body look like the production car and still behave on the race track like we want it to. The design of the production Camaro is focused strictly on low drag numbers for maximum fuel economy, and with the race car we give up drag to get downforce so we can get down the track faster. However, the lines of the production car are clearly reflected in the Funny Car body. The front and rear facie are very similar, body characteristics such as the sideline down the doors, the hood and the side glass have the appearance of the production car. "We also wanted to make sure we had an inventory of bodies ready for competitors to purchase, if they were interested in racing Camaros." "I'm really excited about getting our new '99 Camaro body in Denver," said Bazemore, "because Bandimere is probably one of the most aerodynamically challenged tracks we race on. We were looking for more downforce when we were in the wind tunnel, and the tests showed that this new body develops more downforce. It should add to our ability to win races and be very competitive. You always have to develop the car, keep developing it and make it better and better, that's what the competition is doing. We were definitely behind in that area, maybe we have now caught up a little bit. I don't think we are ahead yet, we have to keep pushing to make it better." Don Prudhomme Racing is expected to debut its new '99 Camaro body at the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals in Seattle on July 30-Aug. 1. "Of course, we're chomping at the bit to run the '99 Camaro body," said Capps. "But we didn't want to go out before we were actually ready for the body. It takes quite a bit to mount these bodies on the chassis. We're having a new chassis built and we wanted to make sure we had everytyhing right before we ran it. Of course, we're looking for more downforce on the new body and also a lighter body. The body we have now is pretty heavy. We did so much work on it, and that keeps adding weight to it."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Chuck Etchells , Don Prudhomme