CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES REVELL NATIONALS TEXAS MOTORPLEX NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SUNDAY, OCT. 25, 1998 FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28 FINAL ELIMINATIONS FIRST ROUND: All three Camaro Z28 Funny Cars advanced to the...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES REVELL NATIONALS TEXAS MOTORPLEX NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SUNDAY, OCT. 25, 1998
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28 FINAL ELIMINATIONS
FIRST ROUND: All three Camaro Z28 Funny Cars advanced to the second round. Chuck Etchells, KENDALL/MA MA ROSA'S PIZZA/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, defeated Jim Epler; WHIT BAZEMORE, TEAM WINSTON CAMARO Z28, eliminated Tim Wilkerson; RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, ousted Gary Densham.
SECOND ROUND: Capps defeated Del Worsham; Etchells and Bazemore faced each other, with Bazemore taking the win.
SEMIFINALS: Capps faced John Force, his rival for the Winston Championship, with Force, in his "aerodynamically challenged" Mustang beating Capps to the line with a 4.907-second pass at 319.37 mph, to Capps' 5.127/297.71.
Bazemore's engine expired, resulting in a loss to Dean Skuza (5.077/304.77 for Skuza; 7.274/101.44 for Whit).
CAPPS: ON THE BAD WEEKEND:
"It was all luck. We broke a crankshaft first round. We broke one in the final in Topeka when it caught fire. Stuff like that you just can't help. If it's time to break, it's time to break. Usually we get a lot of runs on these crankshafts; it only had five runs on it. It could have been worse, it could have caught on fire. It banged at four-and-a-half seconds. It was on a low or mid 4.8, probably a 4.85. That was a pretty good motor. When it breaks it puts a hole in the block. It's been one of those weekends. There are times you have to fight adversity all weekend long. It's part of running on the edge."
ON THE ROUND AGAINST FORCE:
"We dropped a cylinder again in the last run, just after the hit of the throttle. Roland (Leong, crew chief) thought he found the problem and it went out and it did it again. When it broke the crankshaft it banged the blower. It may have made the blower a little weaker and it richens the whole fuel system. That's probably what happened. This Camaro has never dropped cylinders like that that early."
ON USING BOTH CAMARO BODIES THIS WEEKEND:
"We have been switching bodies all weekend. We switched again. In the first round and second round we had our original Camaro body that has not been to the wind tunnel and in this last run against Force we put the one on that we had in the wind tunnel. In the second round part of the body broke on the (non-wind-tunneled) body. Then we put this (wind-tunneled) one on."
IS THIS A BIG HURT FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
"There are eight rounds of racing left in two events. He may be four rounds ahead of us. But stranger things have happened, you can't give up."
FORCE SEEMS TO BE RUNNING CONSISTENTLY AND YOU'RE HAVING PROBLEMS:
"You have to take your hat off to him. There's nothing else you can do. But, we are tired of hearing about the Ford body being no good. Then he comes out and he's No. 1 qualifier. It becomes a distraction not only to him and us but to everybody else. You just try to block that out. We know our Camaro body is good. It would be ideal to see Dean (Skuza) win this final. I'm going to cheer for Dean like I have never cheered before. We made up a lot of ground in Topeka last week, so it can be done. We are not giving up, don't write us out yet."
BAZEMORE: "In the third round the Camaro dropped a cylinder at the hit of the throttle, but it was still running better than Skuza. We left on him and we were winning the race. It looked like it broke a connecting rod and blew the blower off before 300 feet, so it's kind of disappointing. We made a chassis change for that run and it was handling a lot better. We kind of pride ourselves in having our chassis set up perfectly. In the first two rounds it was a real handful, with the front end up and not responding to the steering wheel very well. The change we made for the third round seemed to help that situation quite a bit. We gave it away again, and we have been giving away a lot of races this year. It's something the whole team is frustrated about, but sometimes you have problems. We will test here tomorrow, we're going all out. We're close to having a major sponsor next year. We're going all out to show them that we are going to make it."
ON FELLOW CHEVROLET TEAMMATE CAPPS' CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP:
"It's a tough day for Chevy. The other thing that frustrates me is this body situation. There's a Mustang here that has top speed and low e.t. of the world and the NHRA still believes that the car is at a disadvantage. That's wrong."
ETCHELLS: "He (Bazemore) left a little better, and I could see him out of the corner of my eye. But right before the half-track cones, I was pretty sure I was in front of him, because I could no longer see him out the window. Then all of a sudden the motor started revving up, and at the same time the speed was coming down, so I knew something happened to the clutch. I stayed with it until it was ready to blow up, and since he was pulling away from me, I shut it off to save the motor. When we took it apart, we found that the hub on one of the clutch discs had stripped, reducing it from a four-clutch pack to a three, and we were done. It's frustrting, because that's at least the second time this year a clutch disc has cost us a race. The good news is that our Camaro is as strong as it's been all year."
PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28
KURT JOHNSON, AC DELCO CAMARO Z28, came up three thousandths of a second short of a perfect reaction time with a red light in his crucial second-round race with Jeg Coughlin Jr., his rival for the second spot behind Kurt's dad Warren in the Winston Championship. Kurt is currently third.
KURT: "If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. We changed the setup to try to get a quick reaction time, and missd by three thousandths of a second. Yesterday we worked on the Camaro so it would go down the race track, but the changes we made killed the reaction time. I was getting .480 and .460 reaction times, and I told my guys that wasn't good enough to win this race. We went back to our old setup to shoot for a good reaction time. It could have easily been a .402 if I had been a half-inch shallower in the staging beams. That was a big one; we needed the win. At least we have eight more rounds of racing left to make some progress."