CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES O'REILLY NATIONALS HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SUNDAY, APRIL 11, 1999 FIRST ALL-CAMARO PRO STOCK FINAL SINCE 1987; KURT JOHNSON WINS HIS SECOND TITLE OF SEASON KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES O'REILLY NATIONALS HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SUNDAY, APRIL 11, 1999
FIRST ALL-CAMARO PRO STOCK FINAL SINCE 1987; KURT JOHNSON WINS HIS SECOND TITLE OF SEASON
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, won his second title of the year, defeating Mike Edwards in the Dewco Sales Camaro Z28, in the first all-Camaro Pro Stock final since 1987, when Jerry Eckman eliminated Bruce Allen in Englishtown, N.J. In the semifinal Kurt had a problem, but won the round anyway, as his opponent Mike Trumble broke after his burnout.
KURT: "In the first two rounds today we were looking pretty good. We ran a .94, .93, and came out and had some problems in the semifinals. We were lucky to win that round after that burnout deal. We came back in the final setup, like yesterday, and it was so balled up there. But we were lucky enough to put enough numbers together to win that thing by five thousandths (of a second), and it was a great day for Chevy to have two Camaros in the final." WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SEMIFINALS? "I was paying attention to what Dad was doing out there and after I looked it wasn't much, but Edwards ran a 7 flat and Dad ran a 6.95 and I was looking for Edwards' win light, since I didn't see Dad's, so I looked for Edwards, and I thought I saw Gary, he's the racemaster (the NHRA official who directs the cars at the starting line), he must have turned or grabbed his hat, and I was so intent on cutting a good light -- a .490 or .475 -- today. I knew that wouldn't be enough to win today, but I was more intense today than I have been in a long time. I knew I had the car underneath me. If I did my job I knew I could win this race. I must have seen him grab his hat or do something and I was doing my burnout because there was nobody on the track, and then all of a sudden everybody jumps out in front of me and I clutched and I guess when I clutched it, I must have seated the clutch tremendously, and it just locked up on the run. It shook and it was a mess. I lost lane choice going into the final, but luckily we put enough numbers together at the far end to win this thing today." DID YOU SEE EDWARDS THE WHOLE WAY IN THE FINAL? "Oh no. I saw him for a little ways, I kind of turned my head so I wouldn't see him, but he was ahead by about three thousandths (of a second) at the 1000 ft. mark and I'm not one to look over and see what's going on over there. I had my best light of the day in the final, a .465, which is close to average. It's not great, but it's good enough to win." IS THERE MORE PRESSURE BEING THE POINTS LEADER? "Actually, it kind of pumps you up, because you know you're good enough to be up there and have enough round wins to be on top. There's nothing really like it that I've ever experienced. You just have to keep focused, that's the biggest thing. We know we've got the power, we know we have the equipment, that's the best part about it. We know if we keep our heads screwed on straight that we can get this Camaro down the race track and make the runs good enough to beat all these people out there, we hope."
MIKE EDWARDS, DEWCO SALES CAMARO Z28, qualified here for the first time this season, as he continues to struggle to develop his new Rick Jones chassis and Camaro Z28 body. He qualified No. 12. Edwards eliminated four-time Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson on a holeshot advantage in the semifinals today, then faced the other half of the racing Johnson family in the final.
EDWARDS: "I'm happy. I'm disappointed that we lost, but I'm happy with the progress we made. Hopefully we can take this and build on it and get better. The good Lord willing, we will win a race before long. That will help everybody, our sponsors, Chevrolet for one. It had to be pretty neat to have an all-Camaro final."
ON BEATING WJ: "I didn't really expect it. When you are running him you know you are at a disadvantage, that's why we pull up there and race. You have got a chance. He's always fast so you always have to do what you can to take an advantage. We got lucky and got a good light. He didn't have such a good light. We beat him by two thousandths and then I got beat by Kurt by five thousandths. If I had another five thousandths I'd be up there in the winner's circle."
ON THE RUN WITH KJ: "He was right there at the end. That's where he got me. I really thought we had him. We made the worst run of the weekend that run. We should have run a 6.96 or .97. We ran 6.97 in the heat. We knew we were capable of winning the race, we just didn't do it. I feel good about our progess. It's better than going home on Saturday night as we have been doing the last three races. Maybe we can build on this and get better."
DOES THIS CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT THE NEW CHASSIS? "Definitely not. I'm going totry to take the information from both of these cars and make one of them the best race car there is."
THIS IS THE FIRST RACE YOU QUALIFIED IN ALL YEAR, AND YOU WENT TO THE FINAL: "That's pretty amazing in itself, I guess."
AT WHAT POINT IN THE WEEKEND DID YOU FEEL YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WIN? "When we went 6.96 in the third session Saturday morning, first pair off. I thought we are on the right track now, maybe we are headed in the right direction with this Camaro. We came back the last session, we were seventh for the session, we were pretty pumped up going into today. We thought we had a chance to go a couple of rounds. We didn't really think we would go this far. That's why we race, to see what happens. I'm disappointed with the results, but I'm happy with the progress."
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, was defeated by Del Worsham in the second round, 5.187/267.59 for Whit, 5.083/303.09 for Worsham).
WHIT: "We had a problem in the first round that we found in servicing the car for the second round. We fixed that problem, the team addressed it and it didn't seem to have an effect. It dropped a cylinder in the second round, but it was still a good run. I never saw Del. At 900 ft.the Camaro got hot and it pretty much quit running. The performance was way down and I was very concerned that we would actually blow the car up. I drove it hurt for quite a while, and I still didn't see him, and then he finally passed us right at the finish line. It just wasn't our turn to win."