Chuck Etchells and Jim Epler each battled to get their racecars down the Gainesville quarter-mile during the initial qualifying sessions for the Mac Tools Gatornationals. Jim Epler's runs were almost identical in that each time his Motley ...
Chuck Etchells and Jim Epler each battled to get their racecars down the Gainesville quarter-mile during the initial qualifying sessions for the Mac Tools Gatornationals. Jim Epler's runs were almost identical in that each time his Motley Crue/Matco Tools Camaro lost traction soon after launching. Meanwhile, team owner Etchells fared only slightly better, with the Kendall Oil/Matco Tools Camaro smoking the tires further down track after seeming to get out of the racing groove. This left the Etchells Racing teammates outside of the top sixteen midway through qualifying. Although disappointed by this initial showing, each driver was confident of correcting the situation during one of Saturday's two time trials.
"We had a problem with the slide valves that control the fuel system last night," explained Etchells. "When you get into that area and mess with it sometimes it takes you a run or two to get back from it. As a result, we over-volumed it, it dropped a cylinder, shook the tires and then blew them off.
"Tonight, however, I was really surprised, because it was running pretty well, and I thought it was going to make it down through there. It was on a mid - 90s run, but it might have gotten a little out of the groove, so it smoked the tires as soon as it saw clutch. Fortunately, we got far enough that we should be comfortable with the fuel system for tomorrow, and we should feel pretty good about making some moves in the clutch, because we got good data on that run. Based on that, we should be okay for tomorrow."
"The best part about today is that we saw the potential benefits of a two-car team," stated Epler. "Right after my run this afternoon, Terry went back and made some adjustments to Chuck's car, and it ran substantially better. We know this formula will work - we just have to get in the groove with these two cars. We get after it again tomorrow."