CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES MATCO TOOLS SUPERNATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK SATURDAY, OCT. 31, 1998 FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28 WHIT BAZEMORE, TEAM WINSTON CAMARO Z28, is No. 3 qualifier, 4.850/313.04, after his...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES MATCO TOOLS SUPERNATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK SATURDAY, OCT. 31, 1998
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28
WHIT BAZEMORE, TEAM WINSTON CAMARO Z28, is No. 3 qualifier, 4.850/313.04, after his third qualifying pass. This was Whit's career best e.t., set in a rerun after his second encounter with Vicky Fanning during today's morning qualifying session. Vicky took off before the lights came on, and Whit was allowed a rerun. In the final qualifying round he ran a 4.889/310.80.
BAZEMORE: "It was good. We're a little disappointed it didn't run quicker, after running our career best today. But we're certainly not disappointed that we ran our career best. We expected to run quicker. We have blown up three motors, we didn't blow that one up. We made some progress in that area. We've got a good, raceable Camaro for tomorrow, in two weeks from now and all next year. We are making a statement, I just hope it isn't too little too late. This team wants to stay together and it deserves to stay together and I refuse to believe that we won't have something good soon. I rally don't know where it's going to come from. I'm not one to give up, ever, and I'm not going to give up now."
NO SPONSOR YET, SAYS BAZEMORE. ""There are a lot of rumors going around about our sponsorship. I want to set the record straight so everyone has the real facts. Winston on July 18 informed us that they would not sponsor a Fuel Funny Car next year. Since that time my team and several other people have actively pursued other sponsorship. We came very close to signing a worldwide manufacturing company last week and at the last instant the deal fell through, mainly because of the financial problems in the world economy right now. This company's earnings were very flat in the third quarter, and probably are going to be flat in the fourth quarter. This company could not expand their motorsports activities at this time. Some people said we had a done deal. We had as close a done deal without signing a contract. It's frustrating, it put us in a position where we are literally fighting to stay afloat to keep this business going out here."
"I wanted to let the media know and the people involved in our sport know, so that there are no misunderstandings that we are fully funded for next year, because we are not. We are talking to several companies. The timing now is very critical. Most large companies have their budgets set the first of August. As does R. J. Reynolds (Winston). That's when they made their decision about next season. RJR is a class company. They have been such a big part of my entire career, ever since I was a sophomore in high school. They helped me achieve my goals in racing. I owe them a lot. They're looking at ways they can help us next season. I hope they can, because our backs are against the wall for me and my team to stay in business."
"Without major corporate funding I will not be racing next year. We are still a very aggressive team. We tested last Monday in Dallas in spite of the fact that we have nothing set for next season. My goal has always been and will continue to be to win an NHRA Winston Championship. I have accomplished some of my goals,but I have a lot left."
ON THE VICKY FANNING SITUATION: While Vicky didn't apologize for what happened last night, (her team) explained they had a problem with the brakes on the car. I said come over, I have a spare set of brakes we will loan you. Let's make the car right so this doesn't happen. Steve Gibbs (acting competition director here) gave us the option of not running (her) the rest of the weekend. I wanted to do that, the team wanted to do that. They're here to race,the NHRA has accepted their entry, and gave her a license and it is not my position to judge (her) ability. I told Gibbs I was more than happy to race opposite (her). These things happen. I don't care if she is a woman or a guy, to me a driver is a driver. (John) Force says you can't get mad at a woman. We have all gotten angry with each other on occasion, we have words about it, and we move on. It's the way of the sport."
ON THIS LAST RUN WITH VICKY: "She didn't stage very quickly. I let her stage first, she didn't go right in and then I was not going to put my car on the fuel system on the high side until she was staged. I was going to be a little slower than I normally am, but not enough to cause a problem at all. Maybe she's rattled."
NOTE: Vicky was given a bye run in the final qualifying session, but failed to qualify.
CHUCK ETCHELLS, KENDALL/MA MA ROSA'S PIZZA/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, is No. 6 qualifier, 4.930/309.27, set in the final qualifying session.
ETCHELLS: "After our (clutch) problems on Friday, we went out and bought some clutch discs to see if that would help. Besides Whit Bazemore, I believe we were the second quickest car our here today, which gives us some optimism going into tomorrow. We have Glenn Mikres in the first round, who has a brand new car with all the best parts in it, so they could pull one out and nail you. If we get by Mikres, we would most probably have to face Bazemore. The bottom line is that it's going to be another long, tough day, where anything can happen. At the last few races, we've been in the thick of things, with an opportunity to win the race, and just didn't do it. Tomorrow we hope we get another opportunity, and mabye a litte luck to go with it, so we can get the Kendall Camaro Z28 in the Matco Tools Supernationals winner's circle."
RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, is No. 7 qualifier, 4.944/299.90, set in the first qualifying session on Friday. The gremlins this Halloween weekend have affected this team. In this final round he ran his second best elapsed time, 5.015.
CAPPS: "The Camaro left great, it was running good, and it got out there and locked the clutch up and started putting a couple of cylinders out. I just lifted, I didn't want to burn anything up. It was something Roland (Leong, crew chief) wanted to do with the fuel system out there. He didn't like it. He's very good on first rounds on Sunday, so I'm not worried a bit. We race Al Hofmann in first round and every time you race Al you know it's going to be a tough race, so we will have our work cut out for us."
PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28
KURT JOHNSON, AC DELCO CAMARO Z28, holds on to the No. 1 qualifying spot, with his 6.920-second pass last night in the second qualifying session. His top speed in qualifying was a 199.46 mph.
KURT: "This was a perfect time for it to happen (qualifying No. 1 as the points chase for second is tight). To score eight points in qualifying with two races left, and have the car right in front of me (Jeg Coughlin Jr.) end up 13th, means we were able to put seven points on him (Coughlin was 26 points ahead of Kurt coming into this event), so the spread is only 19 points right now. The guy behind me, Jim Yates, ended up third, so we also gained a point on him. Things are looking good so far, and we hope to go some rounds tomorrow." HOW IS THE CAMARO WORKING? "Pretty good, except for that last run when we fell off a little bit, when it was bouncing and carrying on. It just doesn't like that left lane over there. So, we're going to try and stay out of there tomorrow. We'll stay in the right lane and set sail all day long."
LARRY MORGAN, RAYBESTOS CAMARO Z28, failed to qualify.
Team Chevrolet member Larry Dixon, Miller Lite Top Fuel Dragster, is No. 5 qualifier, 4.584/318.02.