Gateway: Etchells Racing finals report

After battling to find traction throughout qualifying, teams throughout the pit area knew success during Sunday's final eliminations of the Sears Craftsman Nationals would most probably depend on who would best tame the tricky Gateway...

After battling to find traction throughout qualifying, teams throughout the pit area knew success during Sunday's final eliminations of the Sears Craftsman Nationals would most probably depend on who would best tame the tricky Gateway International Raceway surface. Having qualified 14th, this task would even more difficult for Jim Epler and the Rug Doctor/Matco Tools Racing Team as the major benefit of lane choice would go to their first-round opponent, Tony Pedregon.

Unfortunately, Epler's chances dissipated almost immediately as his racecar lost traction at the hit of the throttle, allowing his opponent to continue into the second round.

"It is never easy to lose, but smoking the tires at the hit is probably the hardest to take, because you can't really save it and make any kind of representative run. We saw the others ahead of us have trouble, and after Terry (crew chief Manzer) looked at the starting line, he made an adjustment to the car that should have worked. Unfortunately, it didn't. Looking at the run afterwards on the computer, however, the car didn't respond to the change the way he wanted it to.

"It's just frustrating to lose that way. Not only did we not have a shot, but then Tony only runs a 5.04. We're going to stay and test tomorrow to see if we can get our hot-weather tune-up sorted out. We're going to be on a lot of hot racetracks over the next few months, and we need to figure out how to get down them."

-Etchells Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon