GMC Atlanta Preview

ATLANTA DRAGWAY THE NEXT STOP FOR GMC SONOMA RACE TEAMS COMMERCE, Ga. (May 7, 1999) After three races in his Dynagear GMC, David Spitzer continues a torrid pace of improvement and looks ahead to the 19th annual Advanced Auto Southern Nationals...


COMMERCE, Ga. (May 7, 1999) After three races in his Dynagear GMC, David Spitzer continues a torrid pace of improvement and looks ahead to the 19th annual Advanced Auto Southern Nationals on May 13 - 16 at Atlanta Dragway. Since jumping into his new Sonoma race truck, Spitzer has qualified handily at the last three races. In his first at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., Spizter qualified in the No. 9 position, and then at Houston in one of the largest Pro Stock Truck fields in NHRA history, he qualified 13th. But the 30-year-old Spitzer had his best weekend to date at Richmond where he started final eliminations from the No. 9 position and posted a career-best elapsed time of 7.562 seconds. Although he lost in his first-round match up with Bob Panella, Spitzer's Dynagear Sonoma has taken giant leaps since the beginning of the 1999 campaign with the team on the verge of their best outing yet. "It sounds like the same old story, but the more runs we make down the race track with this Dynagear Sonoma, the better we're going to be," Spitzer said. "We keep working at it and the whole setup really seems to be coming around. Even though we ran our career-best elapsed time in Richmond, I was a little disappointed because I felt that we should have gone a tick quicker in qualifying. That would have given us the all-important lane choice and could've resulted in our first round win of the year. We're continuing to sneak up on it but unfortunately, after our showing in Richmond, we're not going to be able to sneak up on too many people for too much longer. "Our goal going into Atlanta is to make as many runs down the racetrack as possible - hopefully eight in all. You can test all day, but nothing beats running on a national-event racetrack. The information you gain from a situation like that is invaluable to the advancement of our truck program. Our disadvantage is that a lot of these teams have a year under their belt racing in national-event conditions. Once we get that same kind seasoning, we're going to be very competitive." Dynagear GMC Sonoma owner Steve Schmidt was also impressed with Spitzer's performance in Richmond. "We were tickled to death with how well our GMC Sonoma Pro Stock Truck ran in Richmond," Schmidt said. "It made a lot of progress on race day and David did a nice job driving. But again, the lane bit him when he didn't have lane choice. In the final qualifying session he was the fourth quickest truck in the field, so that tells me that we can race with the best of them. We'll just have to do a little better job on down the road if we want to get to that winner's circle." Rick Jones is looking to qualify for his first race after a dramatic improvement in performance at the Pennzoil Nationals in Richmond. A career-best 7.654 seconds in elapsed time in the RJ Race Cars Sonoma was only good enough for the No. 21 qualifying position, but was a testament to the increased competitive- ness of the Pro Stock Truck class. "In Richmond, we were able to pick up the pace a little bit, and I think that the testing that we did in Louisville the week prior really helped us in that respect," Jones said. "We made some changes to the RJ Race Cars Sonoma before the final qualifying session that we felt would help us out, but unfortunately we went the wrong way. Even though we didn't make final eliminations, we were able to learn a lot in Richmond. That's what it's going to take for us to be competitive - more runs down the racetrack. "This class is starting to tighten up and this is not a division for the faint of heart. There's a lot of fast trucks out there at every race now and they actually get down the track better than a Pro Stock car. In that sense this class may be the most competitive the NHRA has at this time. The game plan before Atlanta is to try and go test somewhere, somehow. We'll try and make some more horsepower and by the time we show up at Atlanta Dragway, we'll be ready." The 19th annual Advanced Auto Parts Southern Nationals on May 13-16 at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., is the fifth race on the 14-event NHRA Winston Pro Stock Truck championship tour. Same day television coverage of final eliminations can be seen on Fox Sports on Sunday, May 16, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern. Qualifying highlights can be seen on Speedvision on May 15 and May 16 (times to be announced).

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Steve Schmidt