Gary Gardella Gives Chevy Cobalt A Mile-High Victory At Bandimere Speedway New Jersey Native Captures Second HOT ROD Win Of 2005 MORRISON, Colo., June 12, 2005 - It's a long trip from his home in Jackson, N. J. to the mile-high, quarter-mile...
Gary Gardella Gives Chevy Cobalt A Mile-High Victory At Bandimere
New Jersey Native Captures Second HOT ROD Win Of 2005
MORRISON, Colo., June 12, 2005 - It's a long trip from his home in Jackson, N. J. to the mile-high, quarter-mile drag strip at Bandimere Speedway - 1,600 miles to be exact. But it's one journey Chevy Cobalt driver Gary Gardella will be sure to make every year, especially after his impressive victory today at the Mountain Madness NHRA Sport Compact Nationals. The 26-year-old Gardella captured his fifth career win in the NHRA HOT ROD category and his second victory this season by defeating Ron Lummus in an all-ECOtec final round.
"The key to the win today were the guys who work on this Chevy Cobalt," said Gardella. "They put the right tune-up in this car, they got the right starting-line setup, the right boost, the right launch rpm, and without them I couldn't have done it. It was my fault last night when we broke the oil pump in the burnout. I was up on the chip a little too hard but we were still fortunate to keep the No. 1 qualifier. We installed a new ECOtec motor and Hydra-Matic transmission before we left last night, and this is the combination to beat right here. I can't wait until we get to sea-level because this Cobalt is going to run some incredible numbers.
"The consistency and reliability of the GM Racing hardware is why I wanted to work with General Motors and Chevrolet this year. I'm trying my best as a racer because I know if something goes wrong it's my fault because the car is perfect. You cannot ask for a better racecar than the Chevy Cobalt I'm driving now."
Gardella came into today's race with his ECOtec-powered Cobalt qualified in the No. 1 position after running an 8.096 e.t. at 177.70 mph. It was Gardella's third career pole in the NHRA HOT ROD category and his first of 2005. Gardella received a bye in round one and posted a lap of 8.150 seconds at 176.24 mph. His round two opponent, Mike Crawford failed to answer the bell, and Gardella capitalized on his second free pass off the day with a track-record e.t. of 8.087 seconds at 176.81 mph. In the all-ECOtec final against the Garret Turbos Pontiac, Gardella's ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt crossed the finish line first with an 8.127 e.t. at 175.64 mph while Lummus followed with a run of 8.242 seconds at 178.52 mph.
"For the finals we didn't make any changes or adjustments," said Gardella. "We made a few going into the semifinals and it worked out well. We figured if we could run as good in the finals as we did in the semifinals then we would be okay. The track changed a little bit on us and we were a little slower, but it didn't matter. I also started cutting some good lights this weekend with this car and I'm excited. I'm ready to run again.
"That's why we race in a professional class. We have top of the line guys working on the car, and it was evident all weekend with the consistent numbers we were able to put up on the board, run after run. GM Racing, Chevrolet, ECOtec, Hydra-Matic transmission, I'm a believer. I like this new transmission so much that I want to take it out of the car and hang it in a place of honor on my shop wall. It's an incredible drivetrain.
"It marks the second straight year that Gardella has reached the finals at Bandimere Speedway, so it's no wonder that next to his home tracks at Englishtown (N.J.) and Atco (N.J.), this mile-high venue on the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains is one of his favorite facilities on the circuit.
"My family is out here in Colorado so it's extra special racing at Bandimere Speedway," said Gardella. "I have to thank John Bandimere and the entire Bandimere family. This is the nicest race track we compete on in the whole series. Bandimere Speedway is what it's all about.
"Our next race is a NOPI event in Rockingham, N.C. in two weeks. We're leading that sanctioning body in points and even though we've missed three NHRA races we've still made an awesome showing in the points over here."
For the second year in a row, the GM Racing team placed their ECOtec-powered Chevrolet into the No. 1 starting spot for Sunday's Pro FWD eliminator. Marty Ladwig's 2005 Cobalt set both ends of the Bandimere Speedway track record when it stopped the timers with a run of 7.592 seconds at 199.32 mph, the second fastest speed ever recorded in Pro FWD history. It was also Ladwig's 15th career No. 1 qualifying award as an NHRA Sport Compact competitor and his third this season in the NHRA Pro FWD category. Ladwig lost in round one to Jerrold Rhodes.