Las Vegas: Etchells day one qualifying pit notes

Etchells & Epler Excerpts Notes from the first day of qualifying for the 2nd annual SummitRacing.com Nationals Friday's mixed hand in Vegas has Etchells & Epler hoping to reshuffle the deck on Saturday Date: Friday, April 6, 2001 Location:...

Etchells & Epler Excerpts

Notes from the first day of qualifying for the 2nd annual SummitRacing.com Nationals

Friday's mixed hand in Vegas has Etchells & Epler hoping to reshuffle the deck on Saturday

Date: Friday, April 6, 2001
Location: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV

Friday's first day of qualifying for the SummitRacing.com Nationals proved to be quite a challenge for the Chuck Etchells Racing Team as they battled their racecars and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The day's mixed results left both drivers determined to move up during the final two qualifying sessions on Saturday.

With lead singer Vince Neil on hand, Jim Epler debuted his new Motley Crue/Matco Tools/Orleans Hotel & Casino Camaro Z28 with a solid 4.954-second, 315.42 mph pass. However, his attempt to better this opening effort in the evening session was cut short by a mechanical failure. This placed the Phoenix, AZ resident 14th halfway through qualifying.

"Fortunately, we had a solid first run, which gave us the confidence to tune it up for the evening session.. Unfortunately, it broke the input shaft at half track, which is a freakish thing. That let the motor over rev, and we were lucky it didn't throw the rods out and cause an even bigger problem. We'll freshen it up and get after it tomorrow. We'll have to run a 4.80 right away and then really stand on it for the last session.

"It was great to have Vince on the starting line and to do well with him there. This is his first drag race in nearly twenty years (Note: Vince Neil did visit the team in Dallas last October, but that event was postponed by rain.), so it was really cool to see his expression when his car went over 315 mph. That was very satisfying."

Chuck Etchells, meanwhile, continued to battle mechanical maladies. As a result, his best effort of 5.197 seconds found the Kendall Oil/Matco Tools/Orleans Hotel & Casino Camaro Z28 outside the top sixteen at the Las Vegas qualifying midpoint.

"It dropped the No. 7 cylinder right at the hit on both runs, and then worked the other cylinders so hard that it blew the (blower) belt off. Obviously, you're not going to go anywhere under those conditions. This Funny Car deal is major league hardball right now. You have to run in the 80s to win, and that's what we're trying to do. We had a good test after Houston, but then we come here and the car doesn't want to run at all.

"The conditions are completely different, and it's obvious that we're not catching up with something. What's truly puzzling is that Jim's car didn't drop a cylinder in tonight's run, and was still slower than we were to sixty feet. Even though this has us all scratching our heads, we've got to work together to figure out the problem and fix it.

"I think it's going to be another record bump tomorrow, and you'll have to run a .93 or better to get in. That's a stout field. All I can hope is that the Kendall/Matco Camaro steps up and gets qualified in a good position."

-Etchells Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Epler , Chuck Etchells