Joliet II: GM Racing final summary

Line Makes A Season Sweep With Win at Chicago, Enders A History-Maker In Her Chevy Cobalt Pedregon Puts Chevy in Second Consecutive Funny Car Finals JOLIET, Ill., Oct. 2, 2005 - Pontiac GTO driver Jason Line posted his fourth Pro Stock win of...

Line Makes A Season Sweep With Win at Chicago, Enders A History-Maker In Her Chevy Cobalt

Pedregon Puts Chevy in Second Consecutive Funny Car Finals

JOLIET, Ill., Oct. 2, 2005 - Pontiac GTO driver Jason Line posted his fourth Pro Stock win of the season at today's Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, but his final round opponent made the most news as Erica Enders advanced to her first career Pro Stock finals in her Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevy Cobalt. It was the furthest a female driver had advanced in eliminations in the NHRA Pro Stock class, but Enders and her team had to rush to the starting line after making an engine change before the finals and Enders had a red-light foul. Line, NHRA's 2004 Rookie of the Year, had his quickest elapsed time of the day in the finals with a 6.719 e.t. at 205.88 mph.

"She's tough and she's only going to get better," said Line about Enders. "That team's getting better. We would've waited on them no matter what. I don't want to win on a single, and the rest of the team, absolutely nobody would go for that at all. We like to race fair and square.

"Since Englishtown we've been in a slump and struggling. I guess Reading kind of finally snapped us out of it a little bit. The car started running better, and the driver, well he still needed a little work. At least this weekend we didn't beat ourselves. That's half the battle for us."

Line entered today's eliminations with his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO qualified in the No. 2 spot with an elapsed time of 6.663 seconds at a track-record speed of 208.17 mph., and he improved his elapsed times in each round today. He defeated Greg Stanfield in Round 1 with a 6.756 e.t., defeated Kurt Johnson in Round 2 with a 6.746 e.t., and bested Dave Connolly in the semifinals with a 6.742 e.t. before facing Enders in the finals. Line made it a clean sweep of Route 66 Raceway in 2005 after his win here earlier in June.

"I love this place. We need to race here every weekend. I wish I knew the answer and I'd put it in a bottle and bring it to Dallas with us, but I don't know why. I like coming here, I'm comfortable here. I just like coming here. The track's good and the surface is really nice. It's just a good place to race."

Enders was the highest-qualified Chevrolet for today's eliminations, placing her Chevy Cobalt at a solid No. 5 on the grid with an elapsed time of 6.670 seconds at 206.48 mph. She defeated Ron Krisher in Round 1, Mike Edwards in Round 2, and Warren Johnson on a red-light foul in the semifinals to face Line in her first finals.

"We had an issue with our motor and decided to swap it out. We put it in and everything was rushed. We went to start it and had a crank trigger go bad. We put a new crank trigger in and they told me I needed to suit up because everybody was waiting on me, so I got in the car while the car's still up on jackstands and they're still changing parts. They fire it up and I put my helmet on, we come up to the staging lanes and roll right under the tower, we don't even stop. I'm human, I make mistakes, and I just dropped the clutch early. It happens. I've done it before and I'll do it again. Could've, should've, would've, but you can't say anything now. If I could've had a couple of seconds, I would've been able to gather myself a little bit, but that's just part of this game and you need to be ready under pressure. We'll get it next time.

"This team's something else and we're going to be there. We're going to get that Wally one of these days. Hopefully it will be next weekend, or Vegas or Pomona before the year's over, that would be great, but if not, we're going to be killer in 2006. This Chevy Cobalt's been awesome to me and Slammers Ultimate Milk has been great joining up with this team. We would've really liked to have won, but it's great to make it to the finals and Jason's a great driver. This team's really come together. We've got great chemistry, and we've got awesome guys in our engine-development program and the horsepower's really coming along. We're going to be pretty competitive for the rest of this year, and we're going to be a Top Five player next year. We're going to get our win one of these days soon."

Just two weeks ago at Reading (Pa.) Enders became only the second woman to ever win an NHRA Pro Stock round, and today she took her history-making two rounds further to reach her first career Pro Stock finals.

"I know my being a girl is a point of interest for the general public and for the media. Me, I don't think that stuff in my head because I don't consider myself any different once we put the helmets on. I don't think about the whole girl factor, but it is pretty cool as we're getting more and more successful we're making some history at the same time."

For the second event in a row, four GM-branded cars driven by Jason Line (Pontiac GTO), Warren Johnson (Pontiac GTO), Kurt Johnson (Chevrolet Cobalt) and Dave Connolly (Chevrolet Cobalt) advanced to the semifinals of the Pro Stock eliminator.

Tony Pedregon drove a Chevy Monte Carlo to the Funny Car finals for the second consecutive race after capturing his first win as a team owner two weeks ago at Reading (Pa.). He matched his brother, Cruz, in qualifying for the top spot with an elapsed time of 4.680 seconds, but Tony was relegated to No. 2 with a slower speed. In eliminations Pedregon defeated Tony Bartone in Round 1, Eric Medlen in the quarterfinals and points leader Gary Scelzi in the semifinals before facing Ron Capps in the finals. In those rounds Pedregon ran solid, consistent elapsed times of 4.809 seconds, 4.829 seconds and 4.770 seconds. In the championship heat Pedregon faced Ron Capps, but his consistency came to an end as he striked the tires early in the run and slowed to a 7.369 e.t. and 138.50 mph. Capps had an elapsed time of 4.760 seconds at 327.82 mph to capture his second win of the season.

In the Sportsman classes, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Pontiac driver Frank Manzo captured his second consecutive win with a final-round win over Mick Snyder. Jeff Taylor of Lumberton, N.C., was also a winner in his '05 Pontiac Grand Am in Comp Eliminator, and Peter Biondo from Maspeth, N.Y., won Stock Eliminator in his '69 Camaro.

The next stop on the tour is the rescheduled 20th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, on Oct. 6-9. It is the 21st race on the 23-event NHRA POWERade schedule.

-gm racing-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Ron Krisher , Greg Stanfield , Peter Biondo , Jason Line , Mick Snyder , Eric Medlen , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards