GM Racing Las Vegas summary

Team Chevy's Jason Hunt wins third NHRA Pro FWD Event of the Season Captures victory over Gary Gardella in All-Ecotec Cobalt Final Round at Las Vegas Motor Speedway LAS VEGAS, July 14, 2007 - Competing in torrid air temperatures soaring well...

Team Chevy's Jason Hunt wins third NHRA Pro FWD Event of the Season
Captures victory over Gary Gardella in All-Ecotec Cobalt Final Round at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAS VEGAS, July 14, 2007 - Competing in torrid air temperatures soaring well above the 100 degree mark, Team Chevy's Jason Hunt prevailed to capture his third Pro FWD win of the season at the NHRA Las Vegas Sport Compact Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 32-year-old driver of the Ecotec-powered Matco Tools Chevrolet Cobalt defeated Gary Gardella in the all-Chevy final to claim his second straight win on the tour and his second consecutive victory at LVMS. It was also the second time this season the two friendly rivals had faced each other in a title-round match at an NHRA Sport Compact event (with Hunt winning both times).

"To come all the way out here from the East Coast and leave with anything less than a win would have been tough to take," said Hunt. "This was a huge win for our Matco Tools Chevrolet team and it should put us back in the lead. Our numbers were consistent all weekend long, in the 7.50s on almost every pass, and that's pretty impressive given the track temperatures and conditions we were competing in. That's definitely a credit to the setup of our Chevy Cobalt and the reliability of these Ecotec engines."

Hunt took the No. 1 qualifying position during Friday night qualifying with his Ecotec-powered Chevy Cobalt running 7.556 seconds at 193.02 mph. He was followed in the qualifying order by Gary Gardella who captured the No. 2 spot with a 7.587 second run, Team Chevy's Marty Ladwig who was third with a 7.746 e.t., Ed Bergenholtz in the No. 4 position, Christian Rado in the No. 5 spot and Team Chevy's Bryan Jimenez who was sixth.

Hunt defeated fellow Chevy Cobalt driver Bryan Jimenez in round one with a 7.568 e.t. at 193.99 mph, earned a bye for round two, and in the finals against Gardella, Hunt's Matco Tools Chevrolet took the top-end win light with a 7.663 e.t. at 195.73 mph. Gardella fouled when he rolled the beams at the starting line. It was Hunt's sixth career victory as an NHRA Pro FWD competitor.

"It seems like we've been seeing a lot of Gary this year," said Hunt. "That's a car that you don't want to line up against because he's such a great competitor. That was another one of those races that could have gone either way."

Gardella's road to the finals started with a round one victory over Christian Rado and Marty Ladwig in round two. Ladwig's Lucas Oil Chevy Cobalt set a track record e.t. of 7.545 seconds in a round one win over Ed Bergenholtz.

"When you make this trip you always do so with the intention of winning the race," explained Gardella. "At the same time, we picked up some points on the leaders, which was our primary goal to begin with, and it keeps us in the championship chase. I'm confident our Red Bull Chevy Cobalt has the ability to win this Xplod championship and we'll continue to work toward that goal."

In the Quick 16 category, Jason Whitfield was the No. 1 qualifier in a Chevy Cobalt after posting a 10.426 second elapsed time at 142.15 mph. He lost in round one to eventual race winner Larry Kelley.

The 2006 Quick 16 East champion, California's Erica Nocita made her first appearance at an NHRA sport compact national event and qualified in the No. 3 position with a 10.876 e.t. at 134.83 mph. She advanced to round three of four eliminator sessions before losing to eventual race winner Larry Kelly.

The next stop on the NHRA Sport Compact schedule is the Indy NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis on Aug. 18 - 19.

-credit: gm racing

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