Topeka 2 Etchells story (Funny Car)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 ETCHELLS RESISTS URGE TO TRY FANCY TUNEUP AT TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. -- Chuck Etchells, like a lot of Funny Car drivers these days, knows he has little or no chance of...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 ETCHELLS RESISTS URGE TO TRY FANCY TUNEUP AT TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. -- Chuck Etchells, like a lot of Funny Car drivers these days, knows he has little or no chance of catching John Force in the NHRA Winston point standings. But unlike most of his counterparts, Etchells is resisting the urge to enter a test mode down the final stretch of the season. He and crew chief Tim Richards won't make radical changes to the tuneup of the Kendall Dodge Avenger in the quest for a sudden increase in horsepower and speed. "We're still working on this combination," Etchells said. "Tim's not going to do any testing. He's just going to keep refining what he's got." It's hard to blame Etchells and Richards for their strategy. Etchells, from Putnam, Conn., qualified No. 1 and was runner-up to Force at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals earlier this month at Reading, Pa. The strong finish solidified his hold on third place in the NHRA Winston point standings. Further refinement of the car's engine setup could produce a victory for Etchells at the ninth annual, $1,463,750 Sears Craftsman Nationals, Sept. 25-28 at Heartland Park Topeka. The race is the 18th event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. Etchells' and Richards' decision to stick with the tuneup they unveiled earlier this season somewhat flies in the face of conventional drag-racing wisdom. Many teams, especially those lagging behind points leaders, will try new parts and engine combinations later in the season to try to build a performance advantage for the next year. "He's got a really good, basic grip on it," Etchells said of Richards. "He's comfortable enough to look at the computer and say here's where we've got to go, make the move and have the car respond the way he wants it to."

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Chuck Etchells , Tim Richards