HOUSTON (April 2, 1999) After an auspicious beginning at the 30th Annual Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., the GMC Sonoma Pro Stock Truck program returns to competition at the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park on April 8 -11.
HOUSTON (April 2, 1999) After an auspicious beginning at the 30th Annual Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., the GMC Sonoma Pro Stock Truck program returns to competition at the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park on April 8 -11. David Spitzer will be back behind the wheel of his Dynagear Sonoma after qualifying in the No. 9 position at Gainesville, and championship Pro Stock chassis builder Rick Jones will enter his first race of the year rounding out the GMC tandem. Spitzer, the lone Sonoma competing at Gainesville Raceway and driving for team owner Steve Schmidt, qualified at Gainesville with an impressive debut elapsed time of 7.630 seconds. He was separated from as high as the No. 6 qualifying position by less than two-thousandths of a second.
David Spitzer (Dynagear GMC Sonoma) "We were happy with our Gainesville performance. We ran hard, had an opportunity to be competitive and with a break here or there, we might have advanced a little farther during eliminations. All in all, it was a great learning experience. We were just happy to get the Dynagear GMC Sonoma in the race and get that first round under our belt. This is one of those situations that we'll continue to get better as a team the more we race. By the time we get into the summer months and have had an opportunity to shake this truck down a little bit more, we'll be qualifying consistently in the top half of the field and advancing into the later part of eliminations. "Some of the things we will be working on to get better is the chassis, the aerodynamics and the air pan. I think those are still areas where we can improve. Houston could be a really good track for us because the conditions are very similar to what we had at Gainesville. The air is usually pretty good and the track usually gives you four good qualifying runs. We'll want to make a good pass right out of the box, develop a baseline and tune from there. I think we'll be pretty competitive and I'm looking forward to getting back to racing."
Fred Simmonds (Pontiac-GMC Motorsports Manager) "I can't tell you how proud we were of David and the entire Steve Schmidt Racing program at Gainesville. Not only did they get their truck qualified, but they did so with authority. Once they have an opportunity to compete a little bit more with some of the teams that already have almost two years of truck racing experience, they're going to be tough to beat. That team did a great job for their first race with the GMC Sonoma and we're confident that they will be a tremendous asset to the Pontiac-GMC race program."
Rick Jones (RJ Race Cars GMC Sonoma) "We wanted to be ready by Gainesville, but unfortunately with everything we had to do it just wasn't possible. This whole process has been a long, drawn out affair and our goal was to make sure we were 100% ready to go before we even put a truck on the racetrack. There's a lot of work that goes into putting a team together from scratch - from hiring the guys for the team, to painting the truck, to supplying the transporter with parts and equipment, and on top of that, we'll be moving into a new race shop and chassis construction facility next week. It's definitely been a lot of projects at once, but at the same time, my customers come first. They are the No. 1 priority because without them, none of this would be possible. "Our goal when we get to Houston is to be competitive and represent GMC and the Sonoma brand in a respectable manner. I've set my sights pretty high and I'm confident that we can be very competitive. There's not too much pressure right now, but I'm sure that when I get to the racetrack there's going to be a little bit. Next Monday and Tuesday we'll be in Atlanta testing and then we'll head over to Houston and get ready to race. I've got a good crew so that will make the first event much easier."
The O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park on April 8-11 is the third Pro Stock Truck race on the 14-event NHRA championship tour. Television coverage can be seen on TNN on Sunday, April 18, beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.