Gainesville: Chevy Saturday summary

Wilkerson Captures Monte Carlo's First Pole, Pontiac's Greg Anderson Captures Third Pole Of The Year At Gatornationals GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 20, 2004 - It may have been his first time out with his new Chevy Monte Carlo body, but NHRA Funny...

Wilkerson Captures Monte Carlo's First Pole,

Pontiac's Greg Anderson Captures Third Pole Of The Year At Gatornationals

GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 20, 2004 - It may have been his first time out with his new Chevy Monte Carlo body, but NHRA Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson didn't seem to mind as his final-round qualifying pass of 4.906 seconds at 300.00 mph captured the No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car at the 35th annual Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla.

"That's a cool deal, getting the first pole for the Monte Carlo," said Wilkerson. "We thump our chest pretty hard about being the only single-car team out here, so that's good for us to do that. But it keeps us hungry and keeps us happy.

"This Monte Carlo really seems like it's going to be good," said Wilkerson. "You can see good out of it too. I really like that about it. Most of the time you get a new body and they're so slick and funny looking, and they're hard to drive. But this Monte Carlo is really nice. You can see the tree good, and I think it's going to be a good body for everybody."

Tommy Johnson Jr., also in a Monte Carlo, joined Wilkerson in the top half of the field in the No. 7 position and Cruz Pedregon qualified his Pontiac Firebird eighth.

When NHRA Pontiac driver Greg Anderson put his Grand Am atop the Pro Stock field in the first two NHRA POWERade Series races in 2004, and posted track e.t. and speed records at Pomona (Ca.) Raceway and Firebird International Raceway (Phoenix) in the process, his competitors should have been put on notice that the 2003 POWERade Pro Stock champion wasn't going to rest on his laurels. Anderson's track-record pass for elapsed time of 6.763 seconds at 204.22 mph made it three for three in No. 1 qualifying positions for 2004 as he captured the top spot in Pro Stock at the Gatornationals. Anderson made his pole-winning effort run in the fourth and final qualifying run of the weekend, recovering from not making a pass in the first round after a piece of foam from his fuel cell got loose and caused a problem with the carburetor.

"We struggled this weekend, missing that first run, and we did things we don't normally do," said Anderson."We started changing too many things at once which really hasn't been our style.That one run just really messed us up.It just goes to show how important it is to make every run, and to make every run a good one to get that data.I'm glad it's over, and we learned a lot this weekend.We learned that you better stick to your game plan and don't panic, even if you get a run or two behind.That's what we did.We got behind and started changing too many things, and we got lost.We just had to sit down, take a timeout and regroup, and just put everything back where it needed to be and make and then just go make a lap.

"I didn't expect to get the pole on that last run because I figured it would be too hot. The car made a good run and we got the pole by a thousandth, and that's great, but the important part is that the car is that much closer to where it needs to be for tomorrow."

Jeg Coughlin was the highest-qualifying Chevrolet in Pro Stock when he put his Cavalier in the No. 3 qualifying position with a run of 6.768 seconds and 204.26 mph.

"That sets us up real nice," said Coughlin. "We qualified third in Phoenix a couple of weeks back and were real excited about that. We've made probably 50 or 60 runs this year counting testing and everything, but when we boil it all down we've really only made three, and that's three of the four we made here. I think we found something in our transmission, and just our whole combination bumper to bumper looks like it's going to accelerate this Chevy Cavalier. That's got us up towards the front, and if we can do something from there we're going to be strong."

Bruce Allen is in the No. 4 spot and Anderson's teammate, Jason Line, is in the No. 5 position, both in Pontiac Grand Ams. Mark Whisnant, Kurt Johnson and Jerry Haas hold down qualifying positions six through eight, all in Chevy Cavaliers. Warren Johnson and Mike Edwards have their Pontiac Grand Ams next in line in ninth and tenth, respectively.

-gm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Jason Line , Mark Whisnant , Jerry Haas , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.