ECOtec Power Sets The Performance Standard At NHRA Sport Compact Fallnationals HOT ROD Final Round Features All-GM, All-ECOtec Matchup - Ladwig's Chevy Cobalt Runs Quickest ET In Pro FWD History ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., Oct. 3, 2005 - The...
ECOtec Power Sets The Performance Standard At NHRA Sport Compact Fallnationals
HOT ROD Final Round Features All-GM, All-ECOtec Matchup - Ladwig's Chevy Cobalt Runs Quickest ET In Pro FWD History
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., Oct. 3, 2005 - The championship round of the HOT ROD category at the Lucas Oil NHRA Sport Compact Fall Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park featured an all-ECOtec, all-GM matchup between the Pontiac of Ron Lummus and the Chevy Cobalt of Gary Gardella. In what is quickly becoming one of the better rivalries in the burgeoning, young racing series, the 41-year Lummus captured his fifth win of the season, earned No. 1 qualifying honors and set national records for the category in both elapsed time and speed. With the victory, Lummus also clinched his first NHRA Xplod HOT ROD world championship.
"Believe it or not, the championship wasn't in our picture when we started this season," said Lummus. "After our success in the first five races of the season though, the team and Garrett decided to set our sights on the title. This team can do anything it sets its mind to and I'm really proud to be a part of this group. Steve and Gil Bothwell went against advice to choose me as a driver and I really appreciate that. I'm proud to be the first NHRA Xplod Series HOT ROD champion and thank Sony for their involvement with the NHRA and its sport compact series."
During eliminations, Lummus' Pontiac re-established both ends of the HOT ROD national record with an elapsed time of 7.779 seconds and a top speed of 187.68 mph. After qualifying No. 1 and receiving a bye in the first eliminator heat, he defeated John Shepherd in the semifinals before facing the Chevy Cobalt of Gary Gardella. Gardella's ECOtec-powered Chevrolet entered the Sunday sessions qualified in the No. 2 spot and dispatched the Dodge of Mike Crawford in round one and Kenny Tran's Honda in round two.
In the title heat, the Lummus Pontiac launched ahead of the Cobalt. Both cars were about even until halftrack when the Pontiac pulled ahead to take the win light with a 7.979 e.t. at 186.43 mph. Gardella's Chevy Cobalt crossed the finish line in 8.153 seconds with a speed of 175.78 mph.
"This one was really rewarding," said Lummus. "I really respect what Gary (Gardella) and his crew have done with his program, and they had our number the last few times we raced, so it was nice to return the favor."
Although Gardella saw an incredible 11-race win streak (combined NDRA and NHRA) come to an end, the New Jersey resident (who was racing at Englishtown for the first time this season) was far from disappointed.
"We knew this would be our toughest event yet," said Gardella. "But with everything we were able to accomplish this weekend with our Ecko/Hot Hues Chevy Cobalt, and with all of our sponsors and supporters in attendance, it was a first-class effort by the entire Gardella Racing program. The guys did a great job again, as always. Congratulations to Ron (Lummus) and everyone on the Bothwell team. That's a tremendous program, and they certainly earned today's win and the NHRA championship."
In the Pro FWD category Marty Ladwig's ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt earned No. 1 qualifying honors by posting a 7.569 second run at 195.05 mph. In a round-one win over the Dodge of Shaun Carlson, Ladwig's ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt ran the quickest elapsed time in the history of the category and blistered the Englishtown racing surface with an elapsed time of 7.316 seconds at 191.10. Ladwig advanced to his fifth final-round of the season (NHRA & NDRA combined) before losing to Ed Bergenholtz in the finals.
"That was quite a ride in that first round," said Ladwig. "We've always known that this Chevy Cobalt was capable of putting up the big mph, and to come out and run the quickest elapsed time in the history of the category says a lot about the capabilities of this race team and our GM Racing hardware."
The next stop on the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series is the World Finals at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif., on Oct. 22 -23. Gary Gardella's ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt will be back in action this weekend at the NOPI Tampa Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Fla., on Oct. 8 - 9.