FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 NEW MOTORPLEX RACE WILL FORCE ETCHELLS' TEAM TO SHIFT GEARS ENNIS, Texas -- No one will debate that the West Coast swing of three races on three consecutive weekends in...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761
NEW MOTORPLEX RACE WILL FORCE ETCHELLS' TEAM TO SHIFT GEARS ENNIS, Texas -- No one will debate that the West Coast swing of three races on three consecutive weekends in late July and early August is the toughest stretch on the NHRA schedule. But Funny Car driver Chuck Etchells thinks the two-race swing from Richmond, Va., to Dallas on consecutive weekends in late April and early May ranks right up there. Etchells' crew, led by crew chief Tim Richards, will have only four days to prepare the Kendall Dodge Avenger for the inaugural, $1,481,100 Lone Star Nationals, May 1-4, at Texas Motorplex. This race is the seventh event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997, and it immediately follows the Pennzoil Nationals, April 24-27 at Richmond, Va. "For them, it's going to be a huge problem," Etchells said. "We haven't been on a track like Dallas all year and haven't had a chance to test that tuneup. Dallas is a different animal. It will take anything you throw at it." No doubt. The all-concrete track at Texas Motorplex can handle all of the nearly 6,000 horsepower produced by today's crew chiefs without losing traction. In fact, three of the seven quickest Funny Car passes in NHRA history have been recorded at the Motorplex. That traction is quite a contrast from Virginia Motorsports Park at Richmond. Crew chiefs sometimes need to set up their car to tiptoe down that quarter-mile, which can become quite slick near halftrack in warm weather. While the tuneup changes between Richmond and Dallas will be tough on his crew, Etchells sees little difference between the two tracks from a driving perspective. "I don't care if I'm on ice or at Dallas, I have to be on," said Etchells, from Putnam, Conn. "I'm not worried, because I think I have a good idea what the car is doing all the time."
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