CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES CSK NATIONALS FIREBIRD INTL RACEWAY NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SATURDAY, FEB. 27, 1999 FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28 WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL MOTOR OIL CAMARO Z28, is No. 3 qualifier, 4.908/306.12, set in today's first...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES CSK NATIONALS FIREBIRD INTL RACEWAY NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SATURDAY, FEB. 27, 1999
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL MOTOR OIL CAMARO Z28, is No. 3 qualifier, 4.908/306.12, set in today's first session.
BAZEMORE: "I'm comfortable in this Camaro. I haven't had to fight it a lot yet, and when I have, it's won. But when this team gives me a perfect car, which they do almost every time, it's the easiest car I've ever driven. It's just a matter of making some more laps in it, and getting use to what it does when it gets in trouble. I know with this team we're not going to be in trouble often, but it's important that if you have a problem, you can save the run, because that might be one or two rounds that you win throughout the year that you otherwise wouldn't have. It's just a different car, and I'm not quite at home with it yet. If you think about it, when trouble comes in one of these cars you only have one or two hundredths of a second to make a very important decision, so it's got to be second nature to you. You can't think about it or second guess it."
RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, is No. 9 qualifier, 5.000/295.34, also set in today's first session.
CAPPS: "We're still playing with the 5-disc clutch and Roland's (Leong, crew chief) philosophy is always be safe first, and he's had me shut the Camaro off at 1000 feet, until we're comfortable with the tune-up. We're not going out there and get stupid, smoke the tires and not learn anything in the run. I think we will be just fine tomorrow. With the ladder the way it is, we have Al Hofmann in first round. And we know that if we win and Force wins his first round our Camaro is going to race Force's Mustang tomorrow. That's what we want."
NOTE: Last year's race here saw the first all-Camaro Funny Car final in NHRA history, when Ron Capps and Chuck Etchells (Bazemore's car owner this year) faced off. Etchells took the victory.
PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, is No. 2 qualifier behind his dad Warren, 6.934/198.79, set in today's first session.
KURT: "We're pretty pumped up. This is the best we've ever run in Phoenix, making three good runs. We tried something new in the last run and ran into some violent tire shake. We're going to put the Camaro back the way it was and go out there tomorrow and see if we can run them low 6.90s again. I've been driving good, with .440s on the tree and if everything falls together we should be in good shape and see if we can earn some points here early in the season."
MIKE EDWARDS, DEWCO SALES CAMARO Z28, is still struggling with his new Camaro and did not qualify. His 7.060/196.19 was good only for No. 27. Both of Mike's runs today were 7.06 seconds.
EDWARDS: "We're just really messed up right now. That's the first two times I got down the track all year long, in two races. At least that's a plus, but we're still very bad. I'm going to get way behind as far as the points go. This new chassis is just putting me very behind. It's something I'm not familiar with. It's different from anything I have ever done. We pretty much have to test, test, test. Hopefully we can figure something out before Gainesville."
ON DIMINISHING THE VIOLENT SHAKING: "We helped the shaking a bunch. We were getting the Camaro to get down the track at least. That part is better, we have just a long way to go to get this car to think about racing on Sunday. It's one thing to qualify and another thing to run races on Sunday. That's what we're used to and what we want to get back to. With Chevrolet behind us and our new sponsor Dewco Sales we had high expectations; it's disappointing to start this year off like this."
WHAT NOW? "We are going to take the Camaro back home and change some mor things and we're going to go to Darlington at the end of this week or next week and stay there until Gainesville and figure something out. Thank goodness we have two full weeks off. Pretty soon we're going to have races back to back and if you gt behind there you are pretty much wiped out."
FEDERAL MOGUL DRAG RACING SERIES
JAY PAYNE, VALVOLINE CAMARO Z28 Funny Car, did not qualify for the first time in two races.
PAYNE: "We made the first two runs with the other two dragster motors (470 cu.in.). We went to a Funny Car-style motor (512 cu. in.) and transmission and we changed everything and then we had an electrical problem. We're going to go home and take everything apart and go through it. A week from this weekend we will run Orlando, Fla., and then go to Gainesville. In the first few runs it was the driver and crew that had to get used to what we were doing. We're still not proficient at it. Now we have to step up the pace and try to win a race, because that's the goal for our Camaro team."