GM Racing Thunder Valley final summary

Marty Ladwig, Gary Gardella Drive Chevy Cobalts To Thunder Valley Victories Matt Hartford Pilots Chevrolet To Second Final-Round Of The Weekend BRISTOL, Tenn., July 10, 2005 - The Chevy red bow tie conquered the quarter-mile competition this ...

Marty Ladwig, Gary Gardella Drive Chevy Cobalts To Thunder Valley Victories
Matt Hartford Pilots Chevrolet To Second Final-Round Of The Weekend

BRISTOL, Tenn., July 10, 2005 - The Chevy red bow tie conquered the quarter-mile competition this weekend at Thunder Valley with a trio of sterling performances in three professional categories at the Tennessee NOPI Nationals.

After setting both ends of the NDRA Pro Outlaw FWD national record on Saturday with a run of 7.676 seconds at 194.07 mph, Marty Ladwig drove the ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt to his first NOPI win of the season today, and his third overall (NOPI & NHRA) this year by defeating Jason Hunt in an all-GM final round. Ladwig's Chevrolet crossed the finish line in 7.962 seconds at 189.42 mph to take the win light, while Hunt, who defeated Ladwig earlier this year at the season-opening event at Phoenix, red-lighted at the starting line.

"This Chevy Cobalt is much more fun to drive now than it was at the beginning of the year," said Ladwig. "When we first tested the car at the beginning of the season we had last year's motor which was making about 1300 horsepower, but seemed a lot tamer. With the motor we're using now we're making about 1500 horsepower and everything is happening much faster, the car reacts a lot quicker and you have to stay on top of it at all times."

For Ladwig and the GM Racing team, it was their first victory at Bristol Dragway and the second time this season they had advanced to a NOPI Pro Outlaw FWD final round.

"We made progress all weekend, won on a track that was difficult to get a hold of, made all of our official passes in the seven-second range and reset the NOPI e.t. and mph record," said Rich Reichenbach, crew chief on the winning Chevy Cobalt. "It's been a lot of work in the last month. We left the last race in Denver not feeling really good about it and that's what usually motivates my guys. We came back, worked real hard on a big to-do list, got it all done and the results speak for themselves."

Driving the Ecko/Hot Hues Chevy Cobalt, No. 1 qualifier Gary Gardella defeated Joe Demaree in round one and Chuck Seitsinger in round two to set up a Pro 4 Cylinder championship-round battle with Kenny Tran. Appearing in his second finale in less than 24 hours, Gardella piloted his Chevrolet to a winning 8.323 second run at 169.19 mph against a red-lighting Tran to claim his sixth victory (NOPI & NHRA) of the season in eight final-round appearances.

"That's six wins in a row and we're on top of the world right now," said Gardella. "This Chevy Cobalt has been unstoppable this year. We didn't exactly run the kind of numbers we had hoped today, but the heat and the track were unforgiving. In a front-wheel-drive car it's imperative that you run good front-half numbers and that was difficult to do this weekend. Hopefully we can go to St. Louis and run the kind of numbers we've come to expect. Congratulations to the entire GM team - what a weekend.

"We realized that we were down on launch boost on the starting line so we made some adjustments for the last two rounds and got a lot better 60-foot times. Learning that will help us in St. Louis and we should run better numbers there. We have a bunch of new stuff going on our Chevy Cobalt. We have some new carbon-fiber doors that will lighten the car anywhere from 60 to 80 pounds. We also have a new turbo going on the car so we're going into the second half of the season with some new parts but the same tune-up. We should have this car back down into the 7.90s soon."

In Pro Compact, Matt Hartford advanced to his third NOPI final round of the season and his sixth overall (NHRA and NOPI) in the GM High-Feature V6-powered Chevrolet. Hartford entered today's eliminator qualified in the No. 1 position and defeated Manny Cruz in round one and was awarded a bye-run in round two before facing Matt Scranton in the title round in a rematch of yesterday's Rockingham rain-delayed finale. Although Hartford's Chevrolet was the better car, running a best-of the meet e.t. of 6.636 seconds, Scranton took the win light with a starting-line holeshot and a 6.738 second e.t. The margin of victory for Scranton was .0007 of a second.

"I'm happy that our Summit Racing Chevrolet ran so well today, but I'm disappointed that I didn't do my job at the starting line," said Hartford. "The car was outstanding in the final, Mylon (Keasler) did his job, the whole team did their job, the driver didn't do his. I went in first, and Matt took a long time to come in, and when he did he rolled in deep. I saw his top bulb go out. I looked over, and as soon as I did, my yellow was on. I let the clutch go and went .113 and Matt went .011 at the light.

"I'm not sure where this puts us in the NOPI points, but it's nice to have the Summit Racing Chevrolet in the finals for both races here this weekend. It may have been easier to lose last night and win today, but it is what it is, and unfortunately in racing you lose more than you win."

In NOPI Chic, No.1 qualifier Brittany Kindle, driving the ECOtec-powered Chevy Cobalt Phase5 advanced to round two before losing to Patrycja Wodecka.

-gm racing-

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Series Drag
Drivers Matt Scranton , Matt Hartford