GM Racing Team Doubles up During Record Breaking Weekend at Gateway International Raceway MADISON, Ill., Aug. 22, 2004 - The GM Racing team doubled up with a pair of extraordinary wins in Pro FWD and HOT ROD en route to a record-breaking...
GM Racing Team Doubles up During Record Breaking Weekend at Gateway International Raceway
MADISON, Ill., Aug. 22, 2004 - The GM Racing team doubled up with a pair of extraordinary wins in Pro FWD and HOT ROD en route to a record-breaking afternoon of quarter-mile action during today's BF Goodrich NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
Nelson Hoyos and his GM Racing teammates rebounded nicely from a crash two weeks at the Texas Motorplex to capture their third Pro FWD victory of the year. After earning his third low qualifying award of the season on Saturday in the Ecotec-powered Chevy Cavalier, Hoyos backed up his national-record breaking run of 7.594 seconds during a round-one bye run, eliminated first-place Lisa Kubo in round two and then defeated Jo Jo Callos in the finals. The win and the 20 bonus points edged Hoyos to within 40 points of Kubo in the battle for the Pro FWD championship.
"These guys did such a great job this weekend getting this Chevy Cavalier ready to race," said Hoyos. "As a driver, you couldn't ask for anything more than what this race team was able to give me here today. We came to St. Louis with a pretty stiff agenda and with the need to accomplish a number of items. The fact that we were able to get the win and the national record says quite a bit about a team that had its back against the wall a couple of weeks ago. This race team had to step up and it did."
Hoyos' Cavalier continued to reflect the strong, consistent performance numbers indicative of the world's quickest front-wheel drive racecar running 7.640 seconds in the first session, 7.773 second in the semifinals and 7.822 seconds in the championship heat. Hoyos' Chevrolet turned in its fastest speed of the day in round one at 190.92 mph. It was the 10th career victory for Hoyos and the 17th time in the last 18 races the defending Pro FWD champion has competed in a final round.
"We were confident we could do this," said Hoyos. "We were sort of behind with the crash in Dallas and we lost some momentum there. But the race team was focused, the Cavalier ran stellar numbers all weekend, and it actually performed better than it did before the crash. The race team reinforced and tweaked the suspension and now this Chevrolet has better traction than ever before."
Pontiac Sunfire driver Marty Ladwig became the first driver in the HOT ROD category to break through the seven-second barrier, and set a new national record of 7.973 seconds during a final-round victory over Kenny Tran. Ladwig's 184.32 mph against Tran was the fastest top speed recorded in the HOT ROD category, and he also set the speed record during the weekend with a run of 182.38 mph.
"I can't say enough about the teamwork that goes into making a seven-second run like that possible," said Ladwig. "It's days and days of trying to figure out the right setup, the right engine tune-up, testing and non-stop work by a great group of hard working guys. I've always said that I have the best job in the world, drag racing in NHRA Sport Compact in a Pontiac Sunfire, and the people on this race team make it all possible."
The 2003 HOT ROD champion entered today's eliminator qualified in the No. 1 spot, the sixth time this season the Pontiac Sunfire has started raceday from the lead position. He defeated Dan Truong in round one, was unopposed in round two and then defeated Kenny Tran in the finals. Ladwig's Ecotec-powered Pontiac ran 9.948 seconds in the first session, and 8.383 seconds in the semifinal before blasting through with his record-breaking numbers in the title heat.
"That's probably one of the smoothest runs I've ever experienced," said Ladwig. "I thought it was going to be good but to be the first in the sevens is unbelievable. Garrett Turbos made the difference getting me the extra power that we needed in our Ecotec engine and the Hydra-Matic transmission held up under the additional strain. This has been an awesome weekend and one that I'll remember for a long time."
ESPN2 will carry highlights of the NHRA Sport Compact Nationals on Sunday, Sept. 19, beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern.