GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 17, 2000) - Qualifying for the 31st annual Mac Tools Gatornationals got underway today at Gainesville Raceway. The weather and track conditions have combined to produce some outstanding performance numbers, and if the first two sessions of time trials are an accurate indicator, then it's going to be another great weekend for GMC Sonoma Racing. Rick Jones set a career-best elapsed time during the second qualifying round in the Country Motor Trailer Sales Sonoma with a run of 7.525 seconds at 178.54 mph. Jones is qualified in the No. 4 position. David Spitzer jumped to the No. 7 qualifying spot in the Sunnen/Dynagear Sonoma with a career-best elapsed time of 7.537 seconds at 177.79 mph. John Lingenfelter's Summit Racing Sonoma is qualified in the No. 10 position with an elapsed time of 7.561 seconds at 177.91 mph. The No. 1 qualifier is Randy Daniels in an S-10 with a track-record elapsed time of 7.494 seconds and a national-record top speed of 179.71 mph. Bob Panella is qualified second, Brad Jeter is third and Larry Seay is fifth.
Television coverage of the Mac Tools Gatornationals can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, March 19, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern. Qualifying highlights can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, March 18, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern.
PRO STOCK TRUCK
John Lingenfelter (Summit Racing GMC Sonoma) "We had a little too much clutch in the Summit Racing Sonoma on the first run as well a rear end that was bad. The rear was dragging and with all that clutch, we pulled the engine down a little too much. The gameplan now is to find the right moves that will pick it up. We have two sessions tomorrow where we'll stay somewhat conservative just to see where we really are. Right now it's cloudy but when the sun comes out here, the right lane gets loose." No. 10 qualifier - 7.561ET/177.91MPH
David Spitzer (Sunnen/Dynagear GMC Sonoma) "Looking at the graph, our fist run didn't appear to be that good. The Dynagear Sonoma went a little bit left off the starting line and then it got loose out in the middle. We lost a bunch of time between 60 and 330 foot so I think we're looking pretty good. I don't know if we can run a 7.49, but I do think we can run a 7.52 or a 7.53. We're running good speed as compared to the rest of the pack with the exception of the first two trucks so that tells me we're making big strides. We tested well in Bradenton right before we arrived here and I thought we had a good combination there. It's just a matter of adapting to the racetrack and who knows, we may even be able to run better than a 7.52. I think we're at the point now that we can win a race. You qualify in the top half, and get down to the final four trucks on Sunday and anything can happen. Obviously some guys may have the upper hand, but the fields are getting so close and so tight that if you can make it to the semi's, it's anybody's race. There're also a lot more engine combinations that are becoming more competitive. We have the Steve Schmidt engines, some guys are using Reher-Morrison power and it's not just the Grump stuff that's stepping up. It's getting pretty wild out there. For racefans who really enjoy competition between truly multiple combinations, this is a great class. It also makes it more fun when you're making progress and you can come to the track and actually see the gains. We're at the point now where we can make changes to the truck, and when we find power, it runs faster. Everything's finally making some sense and going in the right direction."
Rick Jones (Country Trailer Motor Sales GMC Sonoma) "We've been working very, very hard for the last month or so and David Reher has given us some good horsepower. In fact, that was the first pass that we've made on that engine -- it's a good piece. We've been working since Pomona changing new stuff, trying new things and it seems to be coming together. The Country Trailer Motor Sales Sonoma was pulling all the way down the racetrack. It was a nice smooth run, and I hate to say that I was surprised but it was very pleasing to see this truck starting to pick up its performance. Now we want to be consistent and maybe step up a little bit. If we can continue to make the same run over and over then we'll be in a position to win this race on Sunday. We've gathered tons of data over the past year and a half and now we just need to keep tuning with what we've learned." No. 4 qualifier - 7.525ET/178.14MPH