GM Racing Returns To NHRA Sport Compact Competition This Weekend At LVMS Pro FWD ECOtec-Powered Chevy Cobalt Ready For Season's Final Stretch LAS VEGAS, Sept. 7, 2005 - The GM Racing ECOtec-powered PRO FWD Chevy Cobalt returns to competition...
GM Racing Returns To NHRA Sport Compact Competition This Weekend At LVMS Pro FWD ECOtec-Powered Chevy Cobalt Ready For Season's Final Stretch
LAS VEGAS, Sept. 7, 2005 - The GM Racing ECOtec-powered PRO FWD Chevy Cobalt returns to competition this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the running of the NHRA Sport Compact Nationals on Sept. 9 - 10. The race team will be making its first appearance in quarter-mile competition since scoring a Pro Outlaw FWD victory at the NOPI event in Bristol, Tenn., on July 10.
"We're excited because Las Vegas is a great facility as far as preparation and track surface so we should be able to make some excellent runs," said Carmen Smith, GM program manager for sport compact racing. "We're excited about the prospect of reaching a new low e.t. and seeing if we can maybe go over 200 mph again. The team is definitely ready to go."
With a long list of check marks under the column "Season Objectives" (including the first Pro FWD to exceed the 200 mph barrier and Gary Gardella's NOPI Pro 4 Cylinder championship in a Chevy Cobalt) the GM Racing team can already proclaim a successful 2005 campaign. But as the schedule makes the long turn toward its final stretch beginning with this weekend's event in Las Vegas, the GM Racing team is turning up the wick in order to meet new goals with the ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt.
"We accomplished everything we set out to do as soon as Gary (Gardella) locked the NDRA Pro 4 Cylinder championship," said Smith. "It's great to be sitting here in the first week of September with the luxury of concentrating on great performances and finishing the season in a positive way. The major goals are done - it's a great spot to be in. The pressure is off and we're hoping with that, the performance goes up. This is the final sprint toward the end of the season and we're looking forward to it.
"We've concentrated on the fueling system to eliminate stalls and slow starts. Now the racecar starts like a regular car. Marty (Ladwig) just toggles the starter and it fires right up - it's very cool. We feel like we have a lot of the bugs worked out.
"We've also installed a new parachute system so now we have two smaller parachutes that deploy at the same time, more like a Pro Stock car. That will help the car from a safety and stability standpoint at the top end. The parachutes are smaller, they deploy simultaneously and we get a more centered load on the car when it slows down."
Immediately following the NOPI OHIO World Finals at Norwalk Raceway in October, the GM Racing team will be hosting a two-day seminar on Oct. 17 - 18 at the Roush Industries campus in Livonia, Mich. Attendees will have the opportunity for an up-close look at the powertrains used in the Pro FWD and HOT ROD Chevy Cobalts, chassis setup and how the race team prepares to minimize mistakes.
"On Monday, we'll discuss the Hydra-Matic 4T65 transmission that's in Gary's (Gardella) Cobalt, and then on Tuesday we'll walk through the ECO-tec engine that we use in HOT ROD and Pro FWD," explained Smith. "We'll also talk about chassis setup, wind tunnel results and what we do as a team to get ready to race and minimize the number of mistakes that can happen. There has been a lot of interest in the class and it's just about filled. The class will be right in our race shop. Our engine and transmission parts will be displayed for people to see and we'll talk details, so people will be able to learn quite a bit."
The NHRA Las Vegas Nationals will be held Sept. 9 - 10 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Television coverage can be seen on ESPN2 on Thursday, Sept. 22 beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern.