St. Louis Etchells Racing Post-Qualifying Pit Note

In only their second day of competition together, crew chief Terry Manzer and the Chuck Etchells Racing Team involuntarily found out how they would work together in an emergency. In the afternoon qualifying session at Gateway International...

In only their second day of competition together, crew chief Terry Manzer and the Chuck Etchells Racing Team involuntarily found out how they would work together in an emergency. In the afternoon qualifying session at Gateway International Raceway, the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Funny Car recorded an elapsed time of 5.053 seconds with a top speed of 285.83 mph. Although this would eventually gain driver Whit Bazemore the 12th position on Sunday's final eliminations ladder, a telltale flame licking out from under the right front corner of the car indicated all was not well. For the second time in as many runs the Etchells entry had suffered a freakish part failure. However, unlike the previous evening when the damage was limited to a slowed run, the crew found themselves scrambling to repair their carbon-fiber body as well as replacing charred components. Although they were able to return for the final time trial, tire shake prevented them from improving and set the stage for a first round encounter with Bruce Sarver.

"We've all kinds of weird things happen on our runs. We had the same part fail last night and this morning, which I have to admit is a little frustrating. In last night's run, our 330-foot time was the same as Toliver's, but the parts failure forced me to shut off early and we ran a 5.12. In today's first session, I didn't think a 12 was going to stay in the show, and even though it was actually on fire at half-track, I stayed in it because I knew it was still going to run decently. It did improve to run .05, but that came at a cost. We could've lost the car. On tonight's run, I don't know what the driver was thinking - maybe I was looking at the lightning, but the car just shook. I could have easily pedaled it and probably would have improved, but for some reason I just didn't.

"The good part is that we've found the problem and solved it for the weekend. I'm looking for the Kendall/Matco Camaro to go from A to B today under full power and when it does I think it's going to be fast. We haven't done that yet, but it's been something totally out of our control.

"Things here at Etchells Racing are really good. I'm impressed with Terry Manzer. He's quickly getting a handle on the Kendall Camaro, and the entire team is working really well together. There seems to be a new spring in everyone's step, which I think is exciting as we move forward."

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Series NHRA