Indianapolis: GM Racing pre-event notes

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 1, 2004 - The 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will be held this weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Professional category time trials begin on Friday, Sept. 3, with a single, evening qualifying session, two qualifying ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 1, 2004 - The 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will be held this weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Professional category time trials begin on Friday, Sept. 3, with a single, evening qualifying session, two qualifying sessions slated for both Saturday, Sept. 4, and Sunday, Sept. 5, and final eliminations scheduled for Monday, Sept. 6, beginning at 11 a.m. local time.

* After 17 national events, Pontiac leads the NHRA Manufacturer's Cup standings with 2,880 points. Chevrolet is in second place with 2,340 points and Dodge is third with 740 points.

* No. 140 and counting - Pontiac Grand Am driver Jason Line picked up his third Pro Stock win of the season two weeks ago at the O'Reilly Mid-south Nationals in Memphis, Tenn. It was Pontiac's 15th victory this season and the 140th all time in NHRA Pro Stock competition, the most by any manufacturer in the 50-plus year history of the series.

* After losing a first-round matchup to Ron Krisher at the Mile-High Nationals, Chevy Cavalier driver Dave Connolly has reached the Pro Stock final at the last four events. Connolly was runner-up to Greg Anderson at Seattle and Sonoma, (Calif.), defeated Anderson at Brainerd, (Minn.), and then lost to Anderson teammate Jason Line in Memphis. Connolly's victory at Brainerd was Chevrolet's 119th all-time win in NHRA Pro Stock competition.

* GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am driver Warren Johnson will be making his 29th appearance at the NHRA's premier event. Johnson drove a Chevy Camaro in his professional debut at Indy in 1971, and in his previous Indy appearances the six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion has captured six U.S. Nationals victories (1984, 1992-95, 1999) in eight final rounds. Johnson has also earned low qualifying honors at Indianapolis on eight separate occasions (1982, '88, '90-91, '93, '95, '98, '99).

* Warren Johnson also has the most U.S. Nationals Pro Stock wins (6) among active, full-time drivers.

* Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson raced in his third final round of the season two weeks ago at Memphis scoring a runner-up performance. It was Wilkerson's second final-round appearance in the last three races and comes after his most recent win during the first weekend of August in Sonoma.

* Wilkerson is the defending Funny Car champion at the U.S. Nationals. The 43-year-old resident of Springfield, Ill., defeated Johnny Gray in the final round of last year's race. Wilkerson earned low qualifying honors at IRP and was runner-up to Whit Bazemore in 1998.

* Wilkerson's victory at Sonoma was the fifth Funny Car win this season for Chevy Monte Carlo.

* Chevrolet-branded Funny Cars have compiled 69 all-time wins in NHRA competition and competed in 142 final rounds.

* Chevrolet's first U.S. Nationals victory came in 1959 with Harold Ramsey's title in Top Stock eliminator. Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins gave Chevrolet its first victory in Super Stock in a Camaro in 1967. Ray Allen piloted a Vega to Chevrolet's first Pro Stock championship in 1972. In 1978, Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen drove a Corvette past Don "The Snake" Prudhomme in the finals to give Chevrolet its first U.S. Nationals Nitro-Funny Car win.

* Chevrolet's most recent Funny Car win at Indy was in 2000 when Jim Epler defeated Whit Bazemore in an all-Camaro final round.

* Jim Wangers gave Pontiac its first win at the U.S. Nationals in Top Stock Eliminator at Detroit in 1960. Wangers drove a Royal Pontiac-prepared Catalina powered by a 389 Super Duty V8 engine, and posted a winning time of 14.14 seconds at 102.04 mph.

* Pro Stock points leader and Pontiac Grand Am driver Greg Anderson is the defending U.S. Nationals champion. Anderson is a two-time winner of the race (2001, '03) and was runner-up to Warren Johnson in 1999. Last year, Anderson's GM DRCE-powered Pontiac set the IRP top speed record in Pro Stock at 205.01 mph.

* Jeg Coughlin Jr. is the most recent Chevy Cavalier driver to win in Pro Stock. Coughlin defeated Jim Yates in the 2002 finals to collect his second U.S. Nationals victory to go along with his first Indy Pro Stock triumph in 2000.

* Current Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock drivers who have previously won the U.S. Nationals include Greg Anderson (2001, '03), Warren Johnson (1984, '92 - '95, '99) and Mike Edwards (1998).

* Current Chevy Cavalier Pro Stock drivers who have won the U.S. Nationals include Jeg Coughlin Jr. (2000, '02) and Kurt Johnson (1996-97).

* Kurt Johnson holds the IRP elapsed-time track record in Pro Stock set last season in a Chevy Cavalier at 6.778 seconds.

* Nine Pro Stock competitors racing GM-branded cars occupy a spot in the POWERade top 10. Greg Anderson leads the championship battle in a Grand Am with 1797 points, Anderson teammate Jason Line is second in a Grand Am with 1245 points, Chevy Cavalier driver Dave Connolly is third with 1129 points and Kurt Johnson is fourth in the ACDelco Chevrolet with 1081 points. Jeg Coughlin is sixth in a Chevrolet with 826 points, Bruce Allen is seventh in a Pontiac with 779, Steve Johns is eighth in a Chevrolet with 752, Warren Johnson is ninth in a Pontiac with 669 and Rickie Smith is 10th in a Chevrolet with 641. Mike Edwards is 12th in a Pontiac with 582 points, Jim Yates is 13th in a Pontiac with 526 and Ron Krisher is 15th in a Chevrolet with 433.

* After 17 events, only five Pro Stock drivers remain standing who have qualified for every race this season. They include Greg Anderson (Pontiac), Bruce Allen (Pontiac), Kurt Johnson (Chevrolet), Jason Line (Pontiac) and Larry Morgan. Anderson has the longest consecutive qualifying streak in Pro Stock at 41 races. Bruce Allen has qualified in 23 straight events, Kurt Johnson in 19 and Jason Line in 17.

* Current Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car drivers who have previously won the U.S. Nationals include defending champion Tim Wilkerson (2003) and Cruz Pedregon (1992, '94-95). Don Prudhomme, team owner of the two Skoal Racing Chevy Monte Carlos driven by Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr., is a four-time winner of the U.S. Nationals (1973-74, '77, '89).

* Five Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car drivers occupy a spot in the POWERade top 10. Del Worsham is in fourth place with 1076 points, Tim Wilkerson is sixth with 987 points, Phil Burkart is eighth with 883 points, Tony Pedregon is ninth with 866 points and Cruz Pedregon is 10th with 818 points. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in 11th place with 675 points and teammate Ron Capps is 13th with 625 points. John Force leads the Funny Car standings with 1321 points.

* The U.S. Nationals is the 18th race on the 23-event NHRA POWERade tour. Qualifying highlights will be telecast on Saturday, Sept. 4, beginning at 5 p.m. Additional qualifying highlights will be carried on ESPN on Sunday, Sept. 5, beginning at 1 p.m., and then again on ESPN2, with coverage of the Skoal Funny Car shootout starting at 5 p.m. Early coverage of eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 on Monday, Sept. 6, beginning at 11 a.m. with final-round coverage starting at 7 p.m. (All times Eastern)

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs 325,000 people globally in its core automotive business and subsidiaries. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in more than 190 countries. In 2003, GM sold more than 8.6 million cars and trucks, nearly 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's consumer website at www.gm.com.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Cruz Pedregon , Don Prudhomme , Bruce Allen , Tim Wilkerson , Phil Burkart , Johnny Gray , Jason Line , Rickie Smith , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Steve J , Tommy Johnson Jr.