Atlanta: Chevrolet Racing final qualifying

COMMERCE, Ga., (May 5, 2001) -The field is set for the 21st annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals. In Pro Stock Truck, defending champion Bob Panella drove to his second No. 1 qualifying spot of the year in his Panella Trucking Chevrolet...

COMMERCE, Ga., (May 5, 2001) -The field is set for the 21st annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals. In Pro Stock Truck, defending champion Bob Panella drove to his second No. 1 qualifying spot of the year in his Panella Trucking Chevrolet S-10 with a track-record elapsed time and speed of 7.471 seconds at 180.69 mph. Jeff Gracia is second in a Sonoma, Greg Stanfield is third in an S-10, Don Smith is fourth in an S-10, and Taylor Lastor III is fifth in an S-10. Randy Daniels and the Bailey Trucking Chevrolet S-10 is seventh, Mike Coughlin and John Coughlin in the Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet S-10s are 11th and 16th respectively.

In Pro Stock, Mike Edwards ran an elapsed time of 6.895 seconds at 199.61 mph to lead the Cavaliers in Atlanta with a No. 2 qualifying spot. Greg Anderson grabbed the first pole of his career with a track-record elapsed time of 6.884 seconds at 199.82 mph. Kurt Johnson is third in the ACDelco Chevrolet Cavalier, Ron Krisher in the Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier is fourth and Warren Johnson is fifth in a Grand Am. Troy Coughlin is 15th and Jeg Coughlin is 16th in the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavaliers.

For the fourth time this season the fastest Funny Car field was set with a bump of 4.957 seconds. Ron Capps had the quickest Camaro with an elapsed time of 4.870 seconds at 308.43 mph to take the No. 3 qualifying spot. Jerry Toliver is the No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 4.843 seconds at 310.98 mph. Bruce Sarver is second, Whit Bazemore is third, John Force is fourth and Jim Epler is fifth in the Sunoco Chevrolet Camaro. Tommy Johnson Jr. finished the day 19th.

In Top Fuel, Kenny Bernstein stayed No. 1 with a track-record elapsed time of 4.521 seconds to equal the best nitro run under the 90% rule. Mike Dunn is second, Larry Dixon in the Miller Lite/Chevrolet dragster is third, Darrell Russell is fourth and Tony Schumacher is fifth.

The 21st annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals is the seventh race on the 24-event NHRA Winston championship tour. Same-day coverage of final elimination's can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 6, starting at 5 p.m. Eastern.


Bob Panella (Panella Trucking Chevy S-10) - "The best part of the whole deal is that both our trucks are one and two; the first time that that has ever happened. Jeff started driving for Panella Motorsports in November of 1999. It's now May of 2001. That's a long time to wait for this to happen. I've been number one before, but to have us one and two - that's great. Now if we both can be in the finals together tomorrow, that would be the most important part. Being number one is still important. It's all about being consistent as often as you can, and being number one as many times as you can throughout the weekend. Obviously, getting our Chevy S-10 ready for tomorrow is the most important thing right now. We know what we have to do. We'll be alright for tomorrow. This could be Jeff's (Gracia) weekend. He'll definitely be competition. Our other competition will still come from the same two - - Greg Stanfield and Randy Daniels. But when the track is hot, you never know. That's when experience comes into play. Also, the Coughlin's trucks are running good this weekend. They've got as good as there is for crew and help. It will make for some interesting racing." No. 1 qualifier - 7.471ET/180.69mph

Mike Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevy S-10) - "The run felt a lot better than what the numbers were on the time slip again. The Jeg's Chevy S-10 went down the track like it was on a string. I really felt like we were going to run better then what we did during the final session. We will spend some time reviewing all of the data and looking over every component on this Jeg's Mail Order Chevy S-10 to make sure that it is ready for battle on race day." No. 11 qualifier - 7.562ET/177.58mph

John Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevy S-10) - "My dad and the guys are making good calls. We just need some more pony's under the hoods of these Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet S-10's. We are making some real progress with our in-house engine program and we all understand that it is not an overnight process. Sixteen is a lot better then seventeen. We made a great run given the conditions. My hat goes off to Team Jeg's. We are looking forward to first round and we will be ready to make some noise." No. 16 qualifier - 7.574ET/176.93


Mike Edwards (Young Life Chevy Cavalier) - "We're real happy with how these Cavalier's are running in this heat. The past two races we've been making good runs in the Friday night session and that's very important. This time of year it's starting to get warmer and it makes that night run that more critical. It's going to be pretty tough to get in the show if you're not in after the Friday night session, even if you're one of the top five or six cars. You've really got to be on your toes and stay focused during that night session. It's very important. You can learn things during these sessions even though it's so hot. The reason being is for one, it's going to be like this tomorrow on race day so we are basically out there testing. Plus if you are in the show comfortably you can try different things just to test them out. But there's no doubt that you can, or you should, learn under these conditions even though it's so warm." No. 2 qualifier - 6.895ET/ 199.61mph

Kurt Johnson (ACDelco Chevy Cavalier) - "We're really happy with how the Cavalier ran today in the heat. That last session we put up a 6.91 and it was hot. That pretty much shows us what our car can do tomorrow in the similar conditions we're supposed to have. It's hard to get in the show if you're not in it Friday night. It's come down to the Friday night session being the most critical. We ran well today, but that night session is so important. I feel we can go rounds tomorrow and hopefully get this Cavalier in the winner's circle again." No. 3 qualifier - 6.897ET/200.44mph

Jeg Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier) - "We made a better run in the third session. The Jeg's Chevy Cavalier has been on the aggressive side when we have left the starting line this so far this weekend. We have been making small measurable changes and we are going in the right direction. We are getting a lot closer to the optimum set up for the conditions that we have here at Atlanta Dragway. Team Jeg's will be ready when the sun comes up on race day." No. 16 qualifier - 6.951ET/199.05mph

Troy Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier) - "The Jeg's Chevy Cavalier has been responding well to the small changes that we have been making. We just want to avoid making big changes to the set up right now and focus on tuning as our method of improving. We will spend some time tonight as a team discussing what changes to make to the set up going into race day. The conditions that we have today will be very close to what we should have tomorrow." No. 15 qualifier - 6.944ET/198.35mph


Ron Capps (Skoal Racing Chevrolet Camaro) - "We're not sure what happened during that last run. These things are on the edge so much, and there's so much technology that if one little thing goes wrong it can be really dangerous. It was on one of the smoothest runs I've had all weekend and then the next thing I know it broke. I can tell you one thing, these Camaro bodies are a lot stronger than I thought. It held up pretty good. We've got a lot of damage but we're going to have to wait and survey it. We may have to throw on the blue Skoal Camaro body for tomorrow." No. 3 qualifier - 4.870ET/308.43mph

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Skoal Racing Chevrolet Camaro) - "We have no idea what's going on with the car. I don't have a clue. It just won't run. We've changed absolutely everything and nothing seemed to help. Ever since the blower explosion in Bristol it hasn't been the same. I have no idea. It's a totally different car. What really is the kicker is that Ron (Capps) is running so well and we still can't figure out what's wrong on our car. We're very disappointed." No. 19 qualifier - 5.016ET/299.40mph


Larry Dixon (Miller Lite Dragster) - "We've got a good car. The weather is just brutal right now for everyone. You're just trying to get down the race track the best you can, not really setting up to race anyone, but racing against the track conditions. That's what everyone on the Miller Lite team is doing and we're doing a good job right now. We did learn stuff today. Like that first session we ran around noon and that's about the same time as first round tomorrow and the same thing in the afternoon session. That will be right around the semi-final or final round. It almost gives you a test for tomorrow on how hot the track is and hopefully we'll be in similar circumstances tomorrow. It gives you practice before the actual race. I feel real good about tomorrow. I think we can go some rounds. There are a lot of strong cars out there like (Kenny) Bernstein, (Mike) Dunn, (Tony) Schumacher and you always have to worry about (Gary) Scelzi and (Doug) Kalitta. But I do think we have a good car and we're just going to wait and see how the chips fall for us." No. 3 qualifier - 4.594ET/316.30mph

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Jim Epler , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Mike Coughlin , Tommy Johnson , Greg Stanfield , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.