Hoyos' Chevy Cavalier Posts First Win of Season in Record-Setting Weekend At Bandimere Speedway, Ladwig Claims HOT ROD Win For Pontiac MORRISON, Colo., June 13, 2004 - After knocking on the door to the winner's circle of this season's first four...
Hoyos' Chevy Cavalier Posts First Win of Season in Record-Setting Weekend At Bandimere Speedway, Ladwig Claims HOT ROD Win For Pontiac
MORRISON, Colo., June 13, 2004 - After knocking on the door to the winner's circle of this season's first four Pro FWD races, Nelson Hoyos practically kicked it in today driving his Chevy Cavalier to its first win in 2004 at the inaugural NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. The 2003 NHRA Pro FWD champion not only claimed his first win of the season after four consecutive runner-up finishes, he did so in record-setting style by posting the national record in both elapsed time at 7.778 seconds and speed at 191.51 mph.
"I asked just one thing of these guys this weekend, and that was to keep me in the sevens," said Hoyos. "They said no problem, this thing will happen. The worst run we had was that 7.98 which we purposefully just left real soft to run out and not kill it. It was a good run for us and we gathered more data. My hat's really off to these guys. They did an excellent job. This Ecotec engine is just making awesome power, and now everyone has seen that we are back, and we're going to be in the winner's circle more than once.
"We had a stellar year last year, the team did a great job putting me in the winner's circle, and we did real, real well last year. We knew coming into this 2004 program we had a real uphill battle for us because we had set the precedent last year. But with these guys, in less than four races we were running in the sevens already for the first time. At our last race at Atco (N.J.) we had some good, solid 7.85s with this Chevy Cavalier, and they assured me that this race would be good for us, and boy, here we are. This GM Racing team runs a stellar, stellar program, and today I'm just proud to be a part of it. These guys did a great job."
Hoyos qualified No. 1 for today's eliminations with a new national elapsed-time record at 7.786 seconds. The Hollywood, Fla., native defeated Jerrold Rhodes in a Honda CRX in the first round and had a bye in the semifinals, but he made good use of the single pass by resetting his national record for elapsed time with a 7.778-seconds pass. In the finals he defeated Ed Bergenholtz in a Mazda with a 7.830ET/191.51MPH to Bergenholtz's 8.290ET/187.26MPH. Hoyos' speed in his finals run also claimed the national record that Lisa Kubo had established in qualifying just a day before.
Kubo in her Ecotec-powered Saturn Ion has set the pace in Pro FWD in 2004 by winning this season's first four races, facing off with Hoyos in all four finals. But she never even got a chance for No. 5 as she lost to Bergenholtz on a holeshot in the semifinals. Bergenholtz's Mazda ran an 8.453ET/180.60MPH to Kubo's quicker 8.438ET/188.20MPH. Small consolation for the Kubo camp was the fact that her Ecotec engine helped power her Saturn to the national speed record in yesterday's qualifying, setting the Pro FWD speed standard at 191.00 mph, but that lasted only a day and was topped by Hoyos in today's finals and now stands at 191.51 mph.
In HOT ROD, Marty Ladwig came into eliminations as the No. 1 qualifier in his Pontiac Sunbird for the third time this season. The 2003 NHRA HOT ROD champ had a bye in the first round, defeated J.J. Olson in a Honda Civic in the semifinals before facing off with Gary Gardella in the finals. Gardella and Ladwig had just met in the finals of the most recent HOT ROD finals last month at Atco (N.J.) Raceway with Gardella capturing his first win of the season, but Ladwig returned the favor here at Bandimere for his third win of the season and seventh of his career. Ladwig's Ecotec-powered Pontiac Sunfire ran had a final-round pass of 8.241ET/175.11MPH to Gardella's 9.103ET/163.35MPH.
"The weekend was great," said Ladwig. "I was a little worried coming in here because we have an automatic car, and it's a little bit harder to drive up here at this altitude because with the torque converter and a big turbo, it's hard to build boost. But we did a little testing and did some fine-tuning, and the Ecotec power and Hydra-Matic transmission did great all weekend long. I have a really great crew of guys, and you couldn't ask for anything more. They did everything like it's supposed to and the Pontiac Sunfire ran great.
In Pro RWD, Matt Hartford qualified his Summit Racing Chevy Cavalier in the No. 4 position and faced No. 5 qualifier Brad Personett in a Toyota Celica in the first round, but he lost to Personett with an 8.332ET/139.96MPH to a 7.499ET/192.06MPH. Personett lost to eventual event winner Stephan Papadakis in the semifinals.
Television coverage of the NHRA Sport Compact Nationals can be seen on ESPN2 on Thursday, July 1, starting at 2:30 p.m. (ET), and 30 minutes of event coverage will re-air on ESPN2 on Sunday, July 11, at 2:30 a.m. (ET). Next stop on the 10-race NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series is the 2nd annual Desert NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on July 16-17.