ETCHELLS HAS PLANS FOR SCORING AN ENGLISHTOWN "HAT TRICK" Putnam, Conn., May 8, 1998 - In ice hockey a player scoring three goals is said to have gotten a "hat trick", so labeled for the caps fans rain down on the ice to salute the feat. At...
ETCHELLS HAS PLANS FOR SCORING AN ENGLISHTOWN "HAT TRICK"
Putnam, Conn., May 8, 1998 - In ice hockey a player scoring three goals is said to have gotten a "hat trick", so labeled for the caps fans rain down on the ice to salute the feat. At this weekend's Mopar Parts Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey, Chuck Etchells and his Kendall Oil/MaMa Rosa's Pizza/ Superwinch Camaro Z28 Racing team are looking for the National Hot Rod Association's version of this tradition. First, they aim to capture the event win, which will be their third of the 1998 season, and Etchells' third Funny Car title at Englishtown. Then, the team will perform their own hat trick, posing for pictures with their sponsors' head gear in the winner's circle.
"Englishtown is one of our favorite tracks for several reasons," explained Etchells. "Besides having an excellent racing surface, it's very close to my home in Putnam, Connecticut. A couple of our sponsors, Kendall Oil and Superwinch, are headquartered nearby. In addition, some customers from my engraving company are planning on coming to the race. This means we'll have plenty of important visitors watching us throughout the weekend. It's our goal to show them our appreciation by treating them to a win!"
Looking at Chuck Etchells' accomplishments at the Englishtown quarter-mile lend credence to his pre-race confidence. Etchells has reached the finals at this event four times in twelve starts, winning twice in 1990 and 1992. However, his most recent memory may be the team's best motivator. One year ago, Etchells team seemed to have the competition in hand, setting a new track record in qualifying, and powering past Richard Hartman, Del Worsham and John Force en route to a final round match-up against Kenji Okasaki. However, a compressed schedule prevented the crew from performing its full between round service. Without the proper set-up installed, Etchells quickly lost traction, allowing his opponent to score the upset.
"That's one we'd like to have back. For some reason, we were given 60 minutes between rounds instead of the usual 90," said Etchells. "In order to make it to the line on time for the final, we weren't able to warm up our car in the pits, or do our normal clutch maintenance. Without that, our run was a shot in the dark, and we ended up smoking the tires. With the way we had run all weekend, that one should have been ours."
The Etchells team's affinity for the New Jersey event goes beyond its Northeast location. The Raceway Park surface is held in high regard by many of the teams. Since this race was moved from July to its current place on the schedule, the cooler spring temperatures and lower humidity have seen performance figures soar. With near sea level elevation, the smooth, tightly packed asphalt has historically shown tremendous "teeth", which is how racers describe a track's ability to handle the tremendous power of the 6,000-horsepower fuel cars, and translates into record elapsed times and speeds.
"Our team always looks forward to this race. If the conditions are right, there could be some tremendous numbers run in all categories, which is right down our alley," stated Etchells. "I know the General, Tim Richards, his wife Kim and the rest of the crew are anxious to get out there and put our Kendall Oil/MaMa Rosa's Pizza/Superwinch Camaro Z28 back where it belongs --in the winner's circle!"
ETCHELLS EXCERPTS: Etchells is only two points out of second place and 56 out of the lead.....Chuck is looking for his third win at Raceway Park, having won here in 1990 & 1992.