Edwards, Bartone and Payne Join Team Chevrolet in 1999 POMONA, Calif.; Nov. 13, 1998 -- Chevrolet today announced it will extend its involvement in the Winston Drag Racing Series sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) in 1999 by...
Edwards, Bartone and Payne Join Team Chevrolet in 1999
POMONA, Calif.; Nov. 13, 1998 -- Chevrolet today announced it will extend its involvement in the Winston Drag Racing Series sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) in 1999 by supporting two Funny Car teams in the Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series: Tony Bartone in the Quaker State/Roger Dean Chevrolet Camaro Z28, and Jay Payne, who will switch from an Alcohol Dragster to the Valvoline Camaro Z28 Alcohol Funny Car.
Federal-Mogul is the sponsor of all sportsman racing at NHRA national and divisional events.
Chevrolet also announced that Mike Edwards will compete in the Pro Stock category in a JK Racing-campaigned Camaro Z28 sponsored by Dewco Sales, Inc.
"We're proud to extend our commitment to NHRA drag racing by entering the Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series," said Jim Campbell, Camaro Brand Manager for Chevrolet. "The Camaro has clearly been the backbone of drag racing since it was introduced in 1967. Chevrolet has enjoyed great success these past two years in the Top Fuel Funny Car class with Camaro Z28s driven by Ron Capps, Chuck Etchells and Whit Bazemore, and with Kurt Johnson, Larry Morgan and Tom Hammonds driving Z28s in the Pro Stock category. The Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series is increasingly gaining in stature and recognition. We feel its appropriate that Chevrolet and Camaro have a presence there.
"We are also pleased to welcome Mike Edwards into the Team Chevrolet family," added Campbell. "His excellent track record in the Pro Stock class should prove to be an asset to Chevrolet's and Camaro's goals."
Bartone, 42, is the 1996 Federal-Mogul Funny Car champion. "We are excited to campaign the Camaro body in the Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series in 1999," said Bartone, who has driven a '69 and an '84 Camaro Z28 in bracket racing and has competed in a Pontiac body in the sportsman ranks for the last seven years. "We feel the Camaro body is pretty slick and should prove to be very aerodynamic."
Bartone owns New York Paving, Inc., manufacturers of asphalt and concrete in the New York metropolitan area, and lives in Manhasset, N.Y. with wife Sia. He has a three-year-old daughter, Alexandra.
Payne, 49, is the 1995 Federal-Mogul Dragster Champion, and also a veteran Chevy racer. "My first race car was a '69 Camaro, so moving into Funny Car with the Camaro body is like going back to yesteryear for me," said Payne, of Upland, Calif. "In high school everyone was either a Chevy fan or a Ford fan. I was a Chevy fan." He's also raced a '65 El Camino, a '66 Chevelle and a '78 Monza. Payne will move into the Alcohol Funny Car category for the first time in 1999. "I think it will be a heck of a challenge," he said. "Our goals are realistic. We expect to walk a long time. We'd like to qualify for each event, then by the end of the year we would like to win a race and be competitive."
Mike Edwards joins Camaro Z28 drivers Kurt Johnson and Tom Hammonds in the Pro Stock category with his Camaro Z28 in 1999. Edwards, 42, of Broken Arrow, Okla., will enter his fourth season of Pro Stock competition next year. His third-place season finish in 1996 was the second highest by a rookie in Pro Stock history, earning him the Co-Rookie of the Year Award, shared with Matt Hines, and the Slick 50 Performer of the Year Award. Edwards is winner of two events this season, including the prestigious U.S. Nationals.
"Growing up I always had a Chevrolet, and my dad always had a Chevrolet," said Edwards, currently sixth in Pro Stock points. "It seemed like the car to have. To be actually racing for Chevrolet is going to be a great experience. I just hope I can do a good job for them. It's something John Kight (team owner who passed away this year) and I always wanted to do -- be involved with a manufacturer. I think it will move us up to the next level."
Edwards is a full-time race-car driver. He's been married to Lisa, an active member of the team, for 10 years. Mary Lou, John Kight's wife of 36 years, has taken over ownership of JK Racing, becoming the first female owner of a professional drag-racing team.
Chevrolet continues to support Don Prudhomme Racing with drivers Ron Capps (Copenhagen Camaro Funny Car) and Larry Dixon (Miller Lite Top Fuel Dragster), Chuck Etchells' Kendall Camaro Funny Car and Whit Bazemore's Camaro Funny Car teams, Cristen Powell's Team Reebok Top Fuel Dragster team, the Pro Stock teams of Kurt Johnson (AC Delco Camaro) and Tom Hammonds (Winnebago Camaro), and a number of Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck teams.