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FUNNY CAR: RAIN SUSPENDS QUALIFYING AFTER ONE SESSION; WHIT BAZEMORE NO. 1 After Chuck Etchells announced today that, as of June 19, Tim and Kim Richards would no longer tune the KENDALL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, WHIT BAZEMORE put the car into...

FUNNY CAR: RAIN SUSPENDS QUALIFYING AFTER ONE SESSION; WHIT BAZEMORE NO. 1

After Chuck Etchells announced today that, as of June 19, Tim and Kim Richards would no longer tune the KENDALL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, WHIT BAZEMORE put the car into No. 1 position with a 4.993-second pass at 297.55 mph. The second qualifying session was cancelled when a rainstorm blew through the facility. Terry Manzer will take over as crew chief following this event.

BAZEMORE: "It's actually kind of a difficult weekend because Tim and Kim Richards are not going to be the crew chief(s) for Chuck Etchells Racing after this weekend. I have a real good relationship with them. It's one of the reasons that I came over to this team at the end of '98. I was fortunate enough to put together a deal with Chuck that enabled me to come over. Tim Richards is a five-time Winston champion and a very capable crew chief; I think he's one of the best in this business. It's kind of a frustrating experience, but to come out and be low after the first day, it feels good. We have run well all year pretty much. We have some bad luck on race days. Some of it's been the car, where we have been just wrong on the tune-up. I think the driver could have won us two rounds this year that he didn't. And we had some breakage. That's racing. You get those days sometimes, but you've got to work through them. But there's a lot of pressure on the team owners now from sponsors to produce results. There's really no time in this day and age, I don't believe, to work through your problems like there used to be in the old days." WAS THE RAIN A DIVINE INTERVENTION? "I think it is, making sure that we are No. 1 for at least a day. We fought (John) Force in Dallas. That was one of the most exciting qualifying sessions I have been involved in, where in the last session we were No. 1 with a 4.87 and the way the NHRA has the pairings now, with the slower cars running in front of the fast ones, it makes it exciting because everyone is trying to catch us. They (Force) ran an .88, an .89 and an .88, and then he ran an .87 with the same exact e.t. as we had run, but he got ahead because of his speed. It felt like the final round at Indy. We were that hungry to be low qualifier and we lost it. I'm sure qualifying tomorrow will produce a lot of drama. I'm surprised no one ran better than that .99 today." WERE YOU SURPRISED? "No, because Tim is real good coming out of the box. We often run very competitively in the first run. He gets a good read on the track." WERE YOU IN FAVOR OF THE DECISION TO REPLACE TIM AND KIM? "It's not my decision to make. I support Chuck in any decision he makes regarding this team. Terry Manzer has a good reputation. I don't know him that well, but it's going to be a new challenge to work with a new crew chief. But I had a really good relationship with Tim and Kim, but we did struggle this year, there's no question. It's one of those unfortunate situations that happens sometimes. I can't say I'm in favor of it or not." DO YOU KNOW IF TIM AND KIM HAVE SOMEWHERE ELSE TO GO? "I'm sure they have many offers. Like Tim just said -- they go to Hawaii sometimes -- 'here today, Maui tomorrow.'"

RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO., CAMARO Z28, is No. 14, 5.992/153.00. TODD PATON, NITRO-FISH CAMARO, is No. 8, 5.151/283.55. BOB GILBERTSON and JIM EPLER are not qualified.

PRO STOCK TRUCK: PANELLA NO. 1 AFTER TWO QUALIFYING SESSIONS; DANIELS NO. 2

The Pro Stock Trucks were able to get two qualifying sessions in today, just before the rains came. BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, is No. 1 qualifier, with a track record 7.610-second elapsed time at 176.79 mph. RANDY DANIELS, the other half of this season's 'dynamic duo' (Panella and Daniels), in the BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, is No. 2 with a 7.617-second elapsed time, and a track record speed of 177.67 mph.

PANELLA: "In the first round we were kind of skeptical because last year the track was a lot warmer and the weather was a lot warmer. We were only second in the first round (to Daniels), but we had something to work with and we got more aggressive in the second round. The track took it and we got the pole." WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT RANDY SLOWED DOWN? "I don't know. He goes back and forth. When I think I have him by a couple of hundredths (of a second) he will probably come back tomorrow and be right up there. What's important is the points on Sunday. Our confidence level is up with two good runs like we ran today." DID YOU THINK IT WOULD BE YOU AND RANDY GOING FOR THE POINTS ALL SEASON? "It kind of bugs me, because I don't really understand...it's kind of scary that there are so many good trucks out there. Hopefully sooner than later there will be just one more than just us two on top."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Chuck Etchells , Tim Richards