All GM Ecotec Pro FWD Final Goes To Lisa Kubo - Ladwig's Pontiac Sets HOT ROD National Record WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 18, 2004 - For the second straight time this season, a pair of cars powered by the turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec race engine...
All GM Ecotec Pro FWD Final Goes To Lisa Kubo - Ladwig's Pontiac
Sets HOT ROD National Record
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 18, 2004 - For the second straight time this season, a pair of cars powered by the turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec race engine met today in the final round of Pro FWD eliminations at the BF Goodrich NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Moroso Motorsports Park. And for the second straight event, Lisa Kubo, driving a Saturn Ion, defeated Chevy Cavalier driver Nelson Hoyos to capture her second victory this season and her third national event in a row dating back to last October's NHRA Sport Compact finals in Pomona, Calif.
Kubo became the first Pro FWD competitor in NHRA Sport Compact Drag Racing history to run a seven-second pass during Saturday qualifying. She guided her Ecotec-powered Saturn to a track-record elapsed time of 7.963 seconds at 180.83 mph and captured low qualifying honors for the second time this season.
In today's championship matchup against Hoyos, Kubo's Saturn crossed the finish line in 8.003 seconds at a track-record top speed of 186.87 mph, and backed up yesterday's qualifying run to establish a new national record. Hoyos' Chevrolet followed with an 8.209 e.t. at 180.83 mph
"We had some problems in the semifinals and thought the weekend was over," said Kubo. "We lost the back half of the inner cooler, and without a spare we were ready to concede the race. We took it off the car, took it over to Turbonetics, they welded on a piece, and then we still had a leak in it where it wouldn't hold the boost. We finally got it clamped up. After everything that happened we ended up with the win and were able to back up the record."
It now looks like the one perquisite for building a successful Pro FWD race program is to first install the 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec powerplant. Since the 2003 season-opening event last April here at Moroso Motorsports Park, the GM global four-cylinder engine has powered its way to 12 consecutive Pro FWD final rounds, racking up 10 victories (including the last nine races in a row) and seven runner-up finishes.
"This Ecotec engine has a lot of power and I just love it," said Kubo. "We're coming out of the gates strong and that's what we wanted to do from the beginning. The 7.96 felt like a better pass, probably more straight than tonight's pass, but I wasn't expecting it to be an 8-flat. Maybe an 8.20. There's definitely more in this Saturn and we have a long way to go before we see just how good this racecar is."
Nelson Hoyos took his Ecotec-powered Chevy Cavalier out for a career-best ride on Saturday, capturing the No. 2 starting position in Pro FWD with a run of 7.997 seconds at a top speed of 185.56 mph. The defending Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing champion was competing in his 12th straight Pro FWD final round.
In HOT ROD, Marty Ladwig drove his Pontiac Sunfire to the winner's circle for the first time this season, taking over first place in the points standings and setting a new national e.t. record in the process.
The weekend points bonanza started yesterday for the San Antonio, Tex., resident after he parked his Ecotec-powered Pontiac on the raceday pole for the second time this year with what at the time was a series' best-ever elapsed time of 8.181 seconds. But in a final-round victory over Chris Gore, Ladwig's 2004 Sunfire moved closer to performance perfection by lowering the national mark to 8.082 seconds at a speed of 177.09 mph.
"We were hoping to run well but the 8.08 was a tremendous surprise," said Ladwig. "Our whole combination is working well. Our Ecotec engine and our Hydromatic transmission make an unbeatable combination and allow us to put all of that GM horsepower to the ground. Everything was working in sync today, the track was great and you couldn't ask for better atmospheric conditions.
"The team has been working non stop on our Pontiac Sunfire since Fontana and I'm especially happy for them. They've done absolutely everything that needs to be done and are just an incredible group of hard working guys. Gauging from the 8.08 we ran tonight there still seems to be something left. I'm glad to get the win but our first win ever was here last year at Moroso and too be able to come back here and do it again makes it even more special. This is one of my favorite places."
Television coverage of the BF Goodrich Sport Compact Nationals can be seen on ESPN2 on Thursday, May 6 starting at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.