Atlanta: Chevrolet finals notes

COMMERCE, Ga., May 6, 2001 - Final eliminations for the 21st annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals were completed today at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. PRO STOCK TRUCK Bob Panella (Panella Racing Chevy S-10) - "I've been working...

COMMERCE, Ga., May 6, 2001 - Final eliminations for the 21st annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals were completed today at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.

PRO STOCK TRUCK

Bob Panella (Panella Racing Chevy S-10) - "I've been working real hard on my reaction times. I was getting sick of hearing about me getting beat on a holeshot on TV or in the magazines. It feels really good to get both of the Panella Trucks in the finals today. Jeff did a great job. I wish we could've put on a better show for the fans but unfortunately all our luck ran out in the semifinals. We had a good day and a great weekend. I hope it's the start of good things to come for the team. We've been trying real hard to get both trucks in the finals and now we want to keep it up. You know I wish GMC could've gotten their first win of the year but I'm not going to let that happen at my expense!"

Mike Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevy S-10) - "We made a good run and everyone did their job. It always feels good to win the first round. I think that we have a lot of momentum going and we just need to keep it going. We are getting back on track and things are looking brighter each race for our truck program. We will head back to the shop and focus on our next race in Topeka."

John Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevy S-10)-"We had a good weekend all things considered. Both of the Jeg's Mail Order S-10's made it into the show and that is a big accomplishment in this competitive class.

PRO STOCK

Kurt Johnson (ACDelco Chevy Cavalier) - "I figure if Jim Yates had staged a half-inch deeper he would have red-lighted. That's how close it was to me going to the second round. He just came up with a .404 light. I was between .440 and .470 all weekend, and I was .463 first round - it was just one of those things. You can say he got lucky, let's see what he does in this run. I can't worry about what he does. I just did my thing - I made a perfect run, the car was flawless. I'll just go back to the shop tomorrow and tell me guys, hey if I had run a 6.85, we'd have won that round, so we have to get a little more power."

Jeg Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier) - "We had a good side-by-side race to the finish line. We missed an opportunity to gain ground over the WJ & KJ. See both of them get beat in front us gave us an opportunity and we just fell a little short. We will head back to the shop and get ready for our next race in Englishtown."

Troy Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier) - "It feels great to advance from the first round. We made a solid run in the first round and we will use the run to tune from. The Jeg's Cavalier is responding well to the changing track conditions. We have a little bit of cloud cover and it is helping the track conditions a lot for everyone. I feel like my season has turned a corner toward the right direction. We qualified for the race and by doing that it also put us in the Holley Dominator Duel. Our goal was to qualify for both races."

FUNNY CAR

Ron Capps (Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro) - "We went up there knowing we would be running in the left lane. That was fine with us because we'd been running in it all day. When the car left it didn't seem to have what it had in the rounds before. Then it drove into tire smoke. I'm disappointed we didn't win. We did everything we could. Ace (crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch) tuned it to run between a 4.85 and a 4.90 (seconds). We couldn't have run like we did without our Camaro body. When you look on the bright side, we made up a lot of ground in the points race. We're now second (28 points behind John Force, 530-502). There are so many good Funny Cars out here, to even be in the top 10 is something to brag about."

Jim Epler (Motley Crew Chevy Camaro) - "Chuck actually helped me with my reaction times by telling me about something he did to improve his driving, which worked for me. It felt god to help the Sunoco/Matco team out today. That's how we do things at Etchells Racing. We win and lose as a team, with everyone doing their part. For the second round against Capps we changed short blocks and stepped it up. Unfortunately, we didn't have lane choice, and we ended up overpowering the track. It's disappointing, because we probably could have won with a 4.90 flat. However, we're still leaving here encouraged, because we learned something on that run that will have us running really well in the first session in Englishtown."

TOP FUEL

Larry Dixon (Miller Lite/Chevrolet) - "Every time you go up there to race there are only two cars racing, so you have a 50-50 shot a winning or losing. You can start to think about the law of averages catching up with you and maybe this could be the time that he gets the win, but we had a really great run. I think our team got a little greedy. We weren't happy with our 60-foot time and we thought we were maybe leaving a little on the table. We tried to improve that performance safely, but it didn't happen and I got into a pedal contest. He was chasing me for most of the run and I needed to get in and out of the throttle three or four times, but I never saw him so I had no idea how to gauge where he was at or if he had broke. I just tried to go down the track as fast as I could without hitting anything or blowing up. With everything that has transpired over the past few races, to have the car let me down and for me to go out and win a round for the team was nice. It is great to win a tire smoker because it is out of everyone's hands except mine and winning that round gave us the opportunity to find out what was going on with the car before the next round."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Jim Epler , Ron Capps , John Force , Mike Coughlin