POMONA, Calif., February 4, 2001 -- The 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals was concluded today at Pomona Raceway and the drivers flying the GM banner had the competition seeing blue. In Pro Stock Truck Randy Daniels' blue Bailey...
POMONA, Calif., February 4, 2001 -- The 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals was concluded today at Pomona Raceway and the drivers flying the GM banner had the competition seeing blue.
In Pro Stock Truck Randy Daniels' blue Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10 charged to victory lane after claiming the No. 1 qualifying spot on Saturday. Daniels, who failed to qualify for this event last year, defeated John Lingenfelter's Summit Racing Sonoma in round one, Todd Patterson in round two and Jeff Gracia in round three. In the final against Greg Stanfield, Daniels' S-10 covered the quarter-mile in 7.527 seconds at 179.97 mph with Stanfield's S-10 following close behind in 7.552 seconds at 179.49 mph. It was Daniels' ninth career Pro Stock Truck victory and puts him in first place in the Winston points standings. "We worked an awful lot during the offseason on a brand new truck and it didn't work out for us like we would have liked," said Daniels. "We raced back home and put everything back in our old truck like we left here in the fall with. We're still behind that yellow S-10 (Bob Panella) a little bit. We're going home from here to do some more testing on our Chevy S-10. We have about a month off before we go to Gainesville, so we're going to be working real hard to try a little extra kick to win that race. We won there last year and it would be nice to get us a little streak going.
"We're going to give the new truck another shot because it's faster when we can get it to go down the racetrack. If we could've qualified for last year's race here, the points chase may have been a little closer than it was. We started a race behind everyone else, and that hurt us, but I don't know if we could've beat Panella or not. It's early in the season and I can't say that this puts any pressure on anybody. We just want to win races when we come out here and then the points battle will take care of itself."
In Pro Stock, Kurt Johnson's blue Chevy Cavalier Z24 made an auspicious debut on the NHRA circuit by claiming victory here today at Pomona Raceway. It was an impressive showing by the 37-year-old Georgia competitor and his new Chevy Cavalier with car and driver streaking to eight consecutive laps during qualifying and eliminations at over 200 mph. His qualifying top speed on Thursday of 202.18 mph was a career-best and a new Pomona Raceway track record.
"We're exceptionally happy about the new Cavalier," said Johnson. "My hat's off to GM for putting this project together. You never know what to expect from a brand new car, especially when the track conditions start changing like they did today. My hat's off to my team, Jeff Perley and Joe Caudle, for making the right decisions. This season is going to be the toughest ever. Whoever works the hardest is going to be ahead when we come back here in November."
During Sunday eliminations, Johnson defeated Mark Osborne in round one, Mike Edwards in round two and top qualifier Bruce Allen in round three. In the finals, Dodge R/T driver Darrel Alderman launched first, but the ACDelco Cavalier crossed the finish line first in one of the closest side-by-side matches of the weekend. Johnson's numbers in the championship match were 6.912 seconds at 200.44 mph to Alderman's 6.936 seconds at 200.41 mph. It was Johnson's 22nd career victory and puts him in first place in the Winston Pro Stock standings.
"The margin was 17 thousandths at the finish line, and he was right on my bumper," Johnson said. "When I staged, the sun was in my eyes, but I pulled off a .450 reaction time, my best light of the day. It was perfect." Bruce Sarver picked up his second career Funny Car victory when he drove his "blue" e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird to a final round victory over Tony Pedregon. The Bakersfield, Calif., native entered eliminations today qualified in the No. 6 position and earned a visit to the winner's circle by taking out Johnny Gray in round one, Al Hofmann in round two and Whit Bazemore in round three. In the finals, Sarver's Firebird rocketed ahead of Pedregon's Mustang at the 330-foot marker and never looked back, tripping the timing lights in 4.887 seconds at 308.35 mph. Pedregon followed across in 4.957 seconds at 284.39 mph. It was the Firebird's 173rd professional category victory in NHRA competiton.
"You know, coming here we had good expectations," Sarver said. "We went out last night and said we felt like everyone had to come to us. We tuned our Pontiac Firebird up a little bit, but we didn't want to beat ourselves. But we went up there, and Tony's car was out there on me a little ways, and I could see about a car length. Then I caught up with him but it seemed like forever to get down there. Fortunately this time I drove around him instead of him driving around me."
In Top Fuel, Mike Dunn's Gwynn/Steinbrenner/Yankee/GMC Dragster came close to making it a clean sweep for GM in the professional categories with a runner-up finish to rookie driver Darrell Russell. Dunn's car lost traction almost immediately after the lights blinked and slowed to a 5.560 elapsed time at 309.77 mph. Russell's car, which is owned by former NHRA Top Fuel champion Joe Amato, took the win with a 4.665 second run at 309.77 mph.
The next stop is the 17th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz., on Feb. 15 - 18. It is the second race on the 24-event NHRA Winston Championship tour.
Pro Stock Truck Winner: Randy Daniels - Chevy S-10 (7.527ET/179.97MPH)
Pro Stock Truck Runner-Up: Greg Stanfield - Chevy S-10 (7.552ET/179.49MPH)
GM Pro Stock Truck semifinalists: Jeff Gracia (Sonoma), Randy Daniels (S-10), Greg Stanfield (S-10), Scott Perin (S-10)
Pro Stock Truck Top Qualifier: Randy Daniels - Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10 (7.461ET/180.67MPH)
Pro Stock Truck Top 10: 1. Randy Daniels (S-10) 2. Greg Stanfield (S-10) 3. Scott Perin (S-10) 4. Jeff Gracia (Sonoma) 5. Bob Panella (S-10) 6. Brian Self (S-10) 7. Todd Patterson (Dakota) 8. Mike Corvo Jr. (Sonoma) 9. Don Smith (S-10) 10. Three tied for 10th place
Pro Stock Race Winner: Kurt Johnson - Chevy Cavalier (6.912ET/200.44MPH)
Pro Stock Runner-Up: Darrell Alderman - Dodge RT (6.936ET/200.41MPH)
GM Pro Stock semifinalists: Bruce Allen (Grand Am), Warren Johnson (Grand Am), Kurt Johnson (Cavalier)
Pro Stock Top Qualifier: Bruce Allen - Reher-Morrison Pontiac Grand Am (6.828ET/201.16MPH)
Pro Stock Top 10: 1. Kurt Johnson (Cavalier) 2. Darrell Alderman (Dodge) 3. Bruce Allen (Grand Am) 4. Warren Johnson (Grand Am) 5. Mike Edwards (Firebird) 6. Richie Stevens (Grand Am) 7. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Cutlass) 8. Tom Martino (Grand Am) 9. Ron Krisher (Firebird) 10. Jim Yates (Grand Am)
Funny Car Winner: Bruce Sarver - Pontiac Firebird (4.887ET/308.35MPH)
Funny Car Runner-Up: Tony Pedregon - Ford Mustang (4.957ET/284.39MPH)
GM Funny Car semifinalists: Chuck Etchells (Camaro), Whit Bazemore (Firebird), Bruce Sarver (Firebird)
Funny Car Top Qualifier: Tommy Johnson Jr. - Skoal Racing Chevrolet Camaro (4.838ET/310.98MPH)
Funny Car Top 10: 1. Bruce Sarver (Firebird) 2. Tony Pedregon (Mustang) 3.
Chuck Etchells (Camaro) 4. Whit Bazemore (Firebird) 5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Camaro) 6. Frank Pedregon (Firebird) 7. Ron Capps (Camaro) 8. Al Hofmann (Firebird) 9. Jerry Toliver (Firebird) 10. John Force (Mustang)
Top Fuel Winner: Darrell Russell (4.665ET/309.77MPH)
Top Fuel Runner-Up: Mike Dunn - GMC (5.560ET/231.44MPH)
GM Top Fuel semifinalists: Larry Dixon (Chevrolet), Mike Dunn (GMC)
Top Fuel Top Qualifier: Doug Kalitta (4.576ET/318.09MPH)
Top Fuel Top 10: 1. Darrell Russell 2. Mike Dunn 3. Larry Dixon 4. Bobby Baldwin 5. Doug Kalitta 6. Gary Scelzi 7. David Grubnic 8. Tim Gibson 9. Doug Herbert 10. Andrew Cowin -GM Racing