Etchells Pre-Columbus Release

COLUMBUS EVENT MARKS THE MIDDLE OF A TWO-WEEK WHIRLWIND FOR ETCHELLS Putnam, Conn., June 4, 1998 - For the next two weeks, Chuck Etchells' life away from the racetrack will closely resemble one of his trademark four-second, three hundred ...


Putnam, Conn., June 4, 1998 - For the next two weeks, Chuck Etchells' life away from the racetrack will closely resemble one of his trademark four-second, three hundred mile-an-hour passes down the quarter mile. In addition to next weekend's NHRA Pontiac Excitement Nationals in Hebron, Ohio, the Etchells team will be thoroughly occupied with various commitments. Through it all, the Kendall Oil/MaMa Rosa's Pizza/Superwinch Camaro Z28 Racing team will focus on handling sponsor obligations and winning a national event at National Trail Raceway for the second time in the last three years. The rollercoaster starts this weekend with a scheduled match race against Whit Bazemore at Lancaster Dragway outside Buffalo, New York."

"With the hectic racing schedule we have, people often wonder why we book match races on off weekends," stated Etchells. "We see several advantages. First, we approach it as a test session, where we can try some things without the pressure of qualifying. In addition, we're able to bring the thrill of Nitro Funny Car drag racing to an area that might not see it otherwise. Finally, we're able to gain added exposure for our sponsors, which is one way of showing our appreciation for their support."

Following their trip to Western New York, the Etchells crew will stop at their shop just long enough to service their Camaro in preparation for the Columbus race. They will then head to Sidney and Troy, Ohio to spend two days at the Gilardi Foods' facilities and join in the celebration of "Pride Day" on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 9 & 10. Pride Day is an annual tradition, where the company takes time to thank their associates for their many contributions throughout the year. With the Etchells Racing Team in attendance, all involved will have the opportunity to meet the team in person, see "their" Nitro Funny Car up close, get autographs and discuss the chase for the Winston championship. The team's attention will then turn to capturing their third win of the season at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals. Finally, after the race, Etchells' bunch hopes to take the winner's trophy with them to an appearance at Summit Automotive on behalf of long-time supporter Superwinch.

But clearly the Etchells braintrust's thoughts during this period will be on mastering National Trail Raceway, which has hosted an NHRA event since 1972. This venerable facility is more likely to produce upsets than records, and will challenge the teams to extract the maximum from their race cars. Having captured the Funny Car crown at this event in 1996, the team looks to build on that success under the guidance of veteran crew chiefs Tim and Kim Richards. The first step will again be qualifying, as the Etchells crew aims to quickly secure a position in the top half of the ladder and then work on fine-tuning their Fuel Coupe for Sunday's eliminations. The game plan is to gain lane choice and hold it through the final.

"This is a busy period for us, but this team is too experienced to lose focus," said Etchells. "We know there will be a lot of people from Gilardi Foods making the trip to see us, and Mighty Auto Parts will have around 300 guests throughout the weekend. We will make sure to handle all of our sponsors' needs, because they are vital to our existence. But the primary goal at the track is winning, which gains our sponsors valuable exposure. With everyone here to support us, we're looking for another great day on the track for the Kendall Oil/MaMa Rosa's Pizza/Superwinch Camaro Z28, and hopefully our third win!"

ETCHELLS EXCERPTS: Etchells is looking to score the 200th elimination round victory of his career, dating back to his first win over Ed McCulloch in 1988..Etchells is in second place in the Winston Funny Car Points standings, 61 points out of the lead.....Chuck is looking for his third win of the season at a track where he won the Funny Car title in 1996.

Fast Facts

WHAT: 34th Annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals, the tenth of 22 events on the 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series schedule.

WHEN: June 11-14, 1998

WHERE: National Trail Raceway, Hebron, Ohio

SCHEDULE: Pro qualifying sessions start on Friday, June 12 at 3:00 p.m., with another session at 7:00 p.m., and conclude on Saturday, June 13 with two rounds at 11:00 and 3:00 p.m.. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 14.

TV: ABC will provide one hour of taped coverage from 5-6 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, June 21 As always, please check your local listings.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Chuck Etchells