Gary Gardella's Ecotec-Powered Chevrolet Posts First Cobalt Win At NOPI DC Nationals Complete Performance Moves New Jersey Native Into Pro 4 Cylinder Points Lead BUDDS CREEK, Md., April 10, 2005 - In a complete, overall performance that ...
Gary Gardella's Ecotec-Powered Chevrolet Posts First Cobalt Win At NOPI DC Nationals
Complete Performance Moves New Jersey Native Into Pro 4 Cylinder Points Lead
BUDDS CREEK, Md., April 10, 2005 - In a complete, overall performance that thoroughly dominated the rest of the Pro 4 Cylinder field, Gary Gardella's Ecotec-powered Chevrolet gave Cobalt its first win in drag racing competition with a victory today at the NOPI DC Nationals at Maryland International Raceway.
"We worked our tails off this weekend," said Gardella. "This Chevy Cobalt was quick, fast and consistent, and with all the good cars in this class, that's what it takes to win. The Hydra-Matic transmission is a tremendous drivetrain and took us down the racetrack smoothly every run. When you look at the numbers we ran, and see how close they all were to each other, you know why everyone on the Gardella Racing team is pumped."
Gardella's Chevrolet led the pack from the opening bell, claimed the No. 1 qualifying position in the first heat of time trials with an 8.022 e.t. at 174.80 mph, and never relinquished the lead position. In round two of qualifying, the performance of the Chevy Cobalt continued to improve with a 7.937 e.t. at 177.84 mph, and in round three it established a new NOPI national record of 7.926 seconds.
"After the first round of qualifying we just kept getting better and better," said Gardella. "All weekend the car just seemed to work right. There wasn't one run where we didn't make it down the with a strong e.t. From the start, we got a good handle on the racetrack and from there the Cobalt was unbeatable. All of the work over the winter, all of the time spent making the switchover to the Chevy Cobalt, and the assistance and technological support we've received from GM paid off here today."
Because of his No. 1 qualifying effort, Gardella received a bye in the first round of eliminations. In round two he defeated Bryan Jimenez with a 7.960 second run at 179.25 mph, and in the finals against John Shepherd, the Ecko/Dupont/Hot Hues Chevrolet took the win with a 7.936 e.t. at an event-best speed of 179.42 mph. It was Gardella's second straight victory at Maryland International Raceway and he is now in first place in the Pro 4 Cylinder standings.
"We've been working for two and a half months to set this car up to run in the sevens," said Gardella. "We finally got it there and now it's flying - there's no stopping us. We used the same Ecotec motor and the same Hydra-Matic transmission in the car all weekend. We checked them after each run, and there wasn't a problem with either the engine or the transmission. GM Racing has both the Ecotec and the Hydra-Matic down to a science and we're just very proud to get the first win for Chevy Cobalt. It was a great weekend for Gardella Racing and GM."
In the NOPI Chic category, Brittany Kindle made an auspicious debut with her new Chevy Cobalt Phase5. Kindle qualified in the No. 2 spot with a 13.126 e.t. at 101.03 mph and advanced to round two before losing to eventual race winner Teresa Sherrill. During eliminations, Kindle's Chevy Cobalt Phase5 picked up its performance and in round two posted a 12.946 second run at 100.60 mph. It was Kindle's best elapsed time of the weekend.