Gainesville: Chevrolet final qualifying

GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 17, 2001 - Qualifying for the 32nd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals continued today at Gainesville Raceway. In Pro Stock Truck, defending Gatornationals champion Randy Daniels took the No. 1 qualifier in an S-10 with a...

GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 17, 2001 - Qualifying for the 32nd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals continued today at Gainesville Raceway. In Pro Stock Truck, defending Gatornationals champion Randy Daniels took the No. 1 qualifier in an S-10 with a track-record elapsed time of 7.431 seconds at 180.98 mph. Greg Stanfield is qualified second in an S-10 with a national-record top speed of 182.08 mph. Bob Panella is third in an S-10 and teammate Jeff Gracia is fourth in a Sonoma with a run of 7.456 seconds at 179.92 mph.

In Pro Stock, Mark Pawuk took the No. 1 qualifying spot, his first pole position since the 1992 Winternationals at Pomona, Calif. The Summit Racing Grand Am stepped up in the third round of qualifying this morning with a track-record time of 6.846 seconds at 200.68 mph. Darrell Alderman is the No. 2 qualifier in a Dodge. Ron Krisher is third with the quickest Cavalier. The Eagle One Chevy qualified with a run of 6.856 seconds at 201.46 mph. Jim Yates is qualified fourth in a Grand Am, Mike Edwards is fifth in a Cavalier and Kurt Johnson is sixth in Cavalier with the fastest top speed to this point. KJ's ACDelco Chevy ran 6.869 seconds at a track-record 202.24 mph. Jeg Coughlin is seventh in a Cavalier, Rickie Smith is eighth, Mark Osborne is ninth, Tom Martino's Century 21 Grand Am is 10th, Brad Jeter is 13th, George Marnell is 14th and Warren Johnson is 15th. This is the first all 200-mph qualifying field in NHRA history.

In Top Fuel Gary Scelzi is the No. 1 qualifier with a run of 4.576 seconds at 322.58 mph. Team Chevrolet driver Larry Dixon is second with a lap of 4.588 seconds at 316.38 mph. Mike Dunn in the Gwynn/Steinbrenner/GMC/GM Mobility dragster is qualified third. Dunn covered the quarter mile in 4.591 seconds at a track-record top speed of 326.79 mph. Doug Kalitta is fourth and Kenny Bernstein is fifth.


Bob Panella (Panella Trucking Chevrolet S-10) - "Well we got some consistent runs today. We struggled a little bit yesterday and thought we knew what we needed to do to go fast. We did pretty good this morning, but I messed up myself driving and probably cost us $1,500 but tomorrow is another day. The top three trucks are pretty close and even though I lost a position in qualifying I'm still happy. I still see room for improvement from the computer so we're going to try and get this S-10 in the finals tomorrow -- maybe be up against GMC and my teammate (Jeff Gracia). If we can both get to the finals it would be a great day for us. We're sure going to try and do it."

Sam Tompkins (Tompkins Motorsports Chevrolet S-10) - "We went back to our old stuff with everything. That's what we needed to do just to go back and start from the bottom line. We know it isn't the motor. It's a Panella engine and it's great. With the kind of mile-per-hour we got we should've been able to step it up. But I did set my career-best elapsed time and speed so I am pleased with that. We can only go forward from here."

Randy Daniels (Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10) - "The track really got good today after the nitro guys got on it and the field just got closer. We knew we had to come out and do our job this morning and we did. Depending on the weather, if we get to race, we should see someone set the national record. We got real close today with the weather conditions, if the temperature just goes down a couple degrees, then it would be perfect. I just hope this S-10 is a part of that. It still feels good to be the top dog. I never get tired of being the No. 1 qualifier. We're the only team out there that can go undefeated and we're sure going to try and keep that up. We're excited about the possibilities that are in store for our team this year."


Kurt Johnson (AcDelco Chevrolet Cavalier) - "I'm not happy with today. We should've run faster then we did. The track changed drastically right before the session and we just didn't compensate at all. The car is a little bit different then it used to be so we really don't have a complete handle on it like we did the last race. We're just going to have to keep digging at it."

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier) - "We couldn't get it to 60-foot so we lowered the chip way down. We still didn't have a real good 60-foot but it didn't shake going into second gear. We could have this Cavalier No. 1 if we could figure this thing out. I know Mike (Edwards) is having problems at the 60-foot line too. Hopefully we'll be able to get it figured out and run really good tomorrow."

Mike Edwards (Young Life Chevrolet Cavalier) - "We're having problems getting it to run at 60-foot. It runs the back-half of the track great. We're just still learning about these cars. I've got to get the car to run good at the 60-foot. I need to get Ron's (Krisher) to run better at the 60-foot line too. If we could get that figured out we'd be running really good. We're just going to keep working on it and keep plugging away."

Troy Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier) - "That was the first full pass that we made all weekend in my new Cavalier. Not making full passes every time down the track puts you behind the eight ball. We made the best of the weekend during the final session in my car. We just needed to start run like we did today right out of the trailer. We have been running a new engine in my car all weekend and we are more comfortable with it after the progress that it showed today. We will be ready for battle when we pull the Jeg's Chevy Cavalier out of the trailer in Houston next week."

Jeg Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier) - "This weekend has had a lot of similarities of the weekend that we had at the 2000 U.S. Nationals. We walked away with a win that weekend from the No. 16 qualifying position," said Jeg with a grin. "We made an engine change after the third qualifying session and it proved to be the right call. When we roll the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier out of the trailer on raceday we just need to start where we left off today and we can put this new Cavalier in the winner's circle."


Larry Dixon (Miller Lite Dragster) - "Well, I guess looking back on it, it was a big deal getting that one (4).58 in. On every particular run we had different things happen. The first run we were running on seven cylinders, the next run we ran a .58. On our first run today it was really hot and there was a little bit of oil and it was kinda slick down towards the top end so we spun the tires. Tonight, the cloud cover came over and the rainstorm was coming in and it just hopped the air up and our engine just made a ton more power than we were prepared for. The air changed 400 feet from the time we left the pit area to the time we fired the car up, so its hard to compensate when the weather changes that much, but you are not as panicked about it when you have a good run under your belt."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Darrell Alderman , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Greg Stanfield , Tom Martino , George Marnell , Rickie Smith , Mike Edwards