Pomona 2: Jim Epler slots 10th, Chuck Etchells 15th

Etchells Racing Excerpts Final qualifying results from the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals Jim Epler slots 10th, Chuck Etchells 15th for Pomona mid-summer race Date: Friday, July 6, 2001 Location: Pomona Raceway, Pomona,...

Etchells Racing Excerpts
Final qualifying results from the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals

Jim Epler slots 10th, Chuck Etchells 15th for Pomona mid-summer race

Date: Friday, July 6, 2001
Location: Pomona Raceway, Pomona, CA

Qualifying for the Pep Boys 50th NHRA Anniversary Nationals was completed on Friday with Etchells Racing teammates Chuck Etchells and Jim Epler locking themselves into the 15th and 10th positions.

Epler completed a solid qualifying effort on Friday evening, powering his Rug Doctor/Matco Tools Camaro down the Pomona quarter-mile in 4.937 seconds, with a top speed of 309.91 mph. This bettered his previous best time by six hundredths of a second and set the stage for a first round encounter with No. 7 qualifier Bruce Sarver. Epler was quick to credit new crew chief Roland Leong for his contribution.

"This is the first time we've been able down the track four times in qualifying without smoking the tires. Roland was initially going to be more of an observer this weekend, but he's really catching on quickly. He made the calls on that last run and we went out and ran a 4.93, and he's got a good idea of how we can improve upon that, so it's got us pretty excited heading into tomorrow.

"Being able to run this 50th Anniversary event here at night in Pomona where the sport was born is very special. In addition, we have Rug Doctor on board, who was with me when I won my two races here, and we'd sure like to do a good job for them. With Roland, Terry (Manzer) and Larry (Meyer) working together we should be in pretty good shape."

Etchells was also able to improve upon his Thursday efforts in the heat of Friday afternoon by recording a solid 5.024-second elapsed time with a top speed of 302.55 mph. Fortunately, this proved enough to earn the Sunoco/Matco Tools Camaro a spot in Saturday night's final eliminations, as Etchells final attempt was cut short in a cloud of tire smoke. The Putnam, CT native will face No. 2 qualifier Scotty Cannon in the first round.

"Our first run this afternoon was exactly what Terry thought it would run. Of course, we were one of the early pairs, so we didn't have the luxury of watching anybody in front of us to watch what the track was going to do. Terry detuned the car in the lanes after looking at the track, because he didn't think it would hold a 4.95. He told me it would probably run a low 5.0, which we hoped would get us in and it did.

"Tonight we were just trying to run a low to mid 4.90, and it was set up a little softer than Jim's car, which ran a 4.93, so we're somewhat puzzled as to why it didn't get down the racetrack. The good thing is that we have the Sunoco/Matco Camaro in the field, and it can be anybody's race. The NHRA has done a great job resurfacing this track, and the lanes seem to be dead equal so lane choice should not be a factor. I believe we're capable of beating Scotty, even though he has run well here this weekend."

-ER-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Jim Epler , Chuck Etchells , Scotty Cannon