Etchells Racing Excerpts First day of qualifying for the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals Epler 10th, Etchells 16th at Pomona qualifying midpoint Date: Thursday, July 5, 2001 Location: Pomona Raceway, Pomona, CA The first day of ...
Etchells Racing Excerpts
First day of qualifying for the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals
Epler 10th, Etchells 16th at Pomona qualifying midpoint
Date: Thursday, July 5, 2001
Location: Pomona Raceway, Pomona, CA
The first day of qualifying for the Pep Boys 50th NHRA Anniversary Nationals found teams first waiting for an unexpected rain storm to pass and then fighting to complete the second qualifying session prior to the local town curfew. Fortunately, teammates Chuck Etchells and Jim Epler and all the professional classes were able to complete their attempts in time.
Jim Epler had a solid start to his tenure with Roland Leong as his crew chief on the Rug Doctor/Matco Tools Camaro. After opening with a 5.138-second effort, Epler took full advantage of the improved conditions in the evening to record a 4.990-second elapsed time with a top speed of 299.93 mph, good enough for 10th heading into Saturday's final two time trials.
"This Etchells Racing Team is taking a new approach in the second half of the season, and it's not just because Roland came on board. Terry (Manzer), Larry (Meyer), Roland, Chuck and I talked about it, and we're now looking to make good, consistent runs, tweaking it to go faster every time.
"It was good for both team cars to go down the track in the first session. We turned it up a little bit for the nighttime run and went 4.99, which was a good, solid effort. The conditions should be similar tomorrow, and the Rug Doctor/Matco Camaro should be able to pick it up another tenth.
"The race track is a little green and the starting line didn't look at all good when we checked it out, so we probably won't be really fast the first hundred feet, but after that the track looked good and it's only going to get better. If we can run a tenth better tomorrow, we'll be happy."
After posting a seventh-best, 5.115-second elapsed time on their first attempt, Etchells and his Sunoco/Matco Tools Camaro Racing Team looked to pick up the pace in the cooler temperatures on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, Etchells' attempt was cut short by an immediate loss of traction, which left him in the precarious 16th position heading into Saturday's events.
"I don't know what happened on tonight's run. Jim's car was really soft and ran a 4.99 right in front of us, never trying to turn the tires. For some reason, my car revved higher than his did, but something wasn't right, because I don't believe we missed the tune-up by that much. We'll check into it and fix it for tomorrow, so we can go off the baseline we established with the first run today.
"I believe the bump will end up being around a 4.95, and we'll have two shots at it tomorrow. I can't believe the Sunoco/Matco Camaro won't be able to run at least a 4.90 flat, because if for some reason we can't, we really have problems."