GM Racing Fontana qualifying summary

Marty Ladwig's Ecotec-Powered Pontiac Sunfire Sets National E.T. Record FONTANA, Calif., March 13, 2004 - Marty Ladwig drove his Ecotec-powered Pontiac Sunfire to a new HOT ROD national elapsed-time record with a run of 8.340 seconds at 170.62...

Marty Ladwig's Ecotec-Powered Pontiac Sunfire Sets National E.T. Record

FONTANA, Calif., March 13, 2004 - Marty Ladwig drove his Ecotec-powered Pontiac Sunfire to a new HOT ROD national elapsed-time record with a run of 8.340 seconds at 170.62 mph during qualifying today for the NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at California Speedway. Ladwig's Pontiac will start on the pole for Sunday's eliminator.

"The first pass, the 8.34, just seemed like a nice clean run, real smooth and nothing special," said Ladwig. "Just straight down the track. I wasn't expecting for it to be as quick as it was. During the second round we wanted to back up the record and try to run as close as we could to our first lap. We had a little bit more tire shake and spun the tires a little more, but it was definitely another straight pass down the racetrack.

"All of the pre-season testing and preparation made this possible, allowed us to get everything straightened out and to find the best combinations to make this car fast. This is a brand-new 2004 Pontiac Sunfire, delivered to the shop in late November with only about 20 passes on it. It's really impressive to see what this race team has been able to do with the new car in such a short time. They've worked really hard since after Thanksgiving and so far the results have been great. You always wonder where you stand compared to everyone else and to come out the way we did today is very satisfying."

In Pro FWD, Nelson Hoyos' 2004 Chevy Cavalier will start tomorrow's race from the No. 2 qualifying position after running 8.433 seconds at 175.02 mph.

"We've been testing a brand new Chevy Cavalier, with a brand-new Ecotec engine and a brand-new team," said Hoyos. "You always get butterflies before the start of the season and now that we have a couple of passes under our belt, we're trying to go through our data and figure out what to do to make it work. The short times were just fabulous, this Cavalier takes off like a rocketship. There's just something in third or fourth gear that we haven't figured out yet. We'll make it work tomorrow when it counts"

Lisa Kubo's Saturn Ion ran the quickest elapsed time ever by a Pro FWD car in NHRA competition. Kubo is qualified in the No. 1 position after posting an elapsed time 8.028 seconds at 186.12 mph.

"It didn't feel that fast, but in Pro FWD, that's usually the case when you put up a good number," said Kubo. "We turned the boost down on the last run because right in third gear, we started spinning the tires. Usually it's hooking up by then so we made the call and it worked. There's definitely some performance left for tomorrow in this Saturn."

In Pro RWD, Matt Hartford will start tomorrow's race from the No. 6 position in the Summit Racing Chevy Cavalier.

"On Thursday afternoon the engine was coming off the dyno and going into the car in Tennessee," said Hartford. "On Saturday morning we're here racing. We started the car for the first time this morning with the engine between the frame rails. On the first pass we shook the car down and everything seemed good. In the second session we tried to make a hard hit on it, had the quickest 60-foot time of anyone here this weekend at 1.04 seconds, and then we shattered the rearend. We're going to have to put some of the heavy duty stuff in there to handle the power of this new six-cylinder.

"My hat goes off to GM. Brent Ingerham from the high-feature V6 development program took some time to come out and help us this weekend, and everybody from the GM Racing team has been more than supportive of our efforts, making sure we have everything we need. It's a twin-turbo, 3.5 liter powerplant, out of the Cadillac CTS. It makes right around 1600 horsepower and should get us into the 212-215 mph zone with 6.60s, high 6.50s in the middle of the year. We plan on winning the championship, plain and simple. We came out to put a No. 1 on our Chevy Cavalier for next year - no more Toyotas."

-gm racing-

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Series Drag
Drivers Matt Hartford