CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES WINSTON FINALS POMONA RACEWAY, POMONA, CALIF. NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SUNDAY, NOV. 15, 1998 FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28 -- Final Eliminations CHUCK ETCHELLS WINS HIS THIRD TITLE OF YEAR, THE EIGHTH FOR CAMARO;...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES WINSTON FINALS POMONA RACEWAY, POMONA, CALIF. NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SUNDAY, NOV. 15, 1998
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28 -- Final Eliminations
CHUCK ETCHELLS WINS HIS THIRD TITLE OF YEAR, THE EIGHTH FOR CAMARO; CAMAROS WIN BOTH POMONA EVENTS OF YEAR
* ETCHELLS, in the Kendall/Ma Ma Rosa's Pizza/Superwinch Camaro Z28, captured his third title win of the 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series season today, defeating Dale Pulde with a 5.119-second pass at 308.21 mph, to Pulde's tire-smoking 9.570/94.41. Etchells posted wins over Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson and John Force on his way to the final.
Note: Camaros have won the most Funny Car titles this year, including both Pomona events (see bullets below).
ETCHELLS: "It was a really great win for this Kendall Oil/Ma Ma Rosa's Pizza/Superwinch Camaro Z28 team. Any win is good, but winning the Winston Finals is special, and I've now done it twice (in 1992 also). This time was a little better, because we had lights (the final was run in the dark both times). But it certainly wasn't easy. We went through three engines in the first three rounds, and we haven't had a chance to look at the fourth. Looking at our ladder, I feel like we ran four finals today, with opponents like Ron (Capps), Tim (Wilkerson), and of course John (Force). But we were lucky to even make it to the finals, because we nearly burned the car to the ground in the second round against Wilkerson when it threw the rods out at about 500-600 feet and I kept driving it. As for the run against Pulde, I really wasn't surprised when it shook the tires, because it had acted the same way on Friday when it started to get col. I was ready for it, and was able to catch it right away. I would guess I've done that about a thousand times. But it's a great way to wrap up the year, and it will make the winter a whole lot easier, and a whole lot shorter."
* WHIT BAZEMORE, TEAM WINSTON CAMARO Z28, was defeated by Dale Pulde in the first round, 5.059/302.52 for Bazemore, and a surprising 4.893/305.60 for Pulde.
* RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO 28, was eliminated by Chevrolet teammate CHUCK ETCHELLS, KENDALL/MA MA ROSA'S PIZZA/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, in the first round: 5.022/294.69 for Etchells, 12.322/79.35 for Capps. Capps continued to have problems getting down the track.
CAPPS: WHAT'S GOING ON? "I don't know. I was looking at the computer with Roland (Leong, crew chief), and we saw something really funny with the driveline. We never smoke the tires that early or that quick in a run, so it's probably some kind of clutch malfunction. It's hard to tell what's wrong, but our clutch pressure was not right. It was off. It wasn't normal. That usually tells you it's some type of a malfunction in the clutch." ON THE RUN FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP AT THIS EVENT: "It's been a hard weekend. We had a lot of pressure to win the championship. We weren't trying to set a national record, because you usually get in trouble trying to do that. We had a lot of weird things happen. Sometimes you have a good weekend and sometimes it's not your weekend. In this case it's not our weekend. We're very happy that we were able to put the Copenhagen Camaro into second place in the championship and to take (John) Force all the way to the final race of the year. It's going to be fun standing on the stage on Tuesday next to Force as No. 2, because we're proud to be there."
PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28
* KURT JOHNSON, AC DELCO CAMARO Z28, was ousted by Richie Stevens in the second round. A loss by two-time series champion Jim Yates in the same round assured Kurt of a third-place finish in the Winston point standings.
"Well, we finished third in the points again, so at least we don't have to put new numbers on the car next year," Kurt said with a smile. Kurt's Camaro will carry the number "3" again in 1999; Kurt has finished in the Top 5 in the championship standings for six straight years.
"The tires spun, and that was the end of it. We backed off the clutch pressure a little because we wanted to be conservative after running a 6.92 in the first round. The tires spun even harder, so apparently the track changed more than we expected. We made a poor run, and Richie just outran us. I got a .460 reaction time, which is about my average. I didn't get the .420 or .430 we needed. He made a good run, and you've got to give his team credit. He ran 6.95, and that's as fast as anyone out here. He has a car that could win the race."
* Chuck Etchells, in the Kendall/Ma Ma Rosa's Pizza/Superwinch Camaro Z28, won his third Funny Car title of the year today at the Winston Finals in Pomona, Calif., the final round of the 22-event 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
* Etchells' win marked the eight title victory for the Camaro brand of the 1998 season, which is more than any other brand, in only the Camaro's second season in Funny Car competition. Ford has won five, Pontiac six, and Dodge three.
* All three Camaro Z28 Funny Car drivers finished in the top five in Winston Championship points: Ron Capps, Copenhagen Camaro Z28, is second; Etchells is fourth; and Whit Bazemore, Team Winston Camaro Z28, is fifth (Whit switched to Camaro in June).
* Ron Capps is the winningest Camaro Funny Car driver, with five wins this year. Etchells has won three. Capps has won a total of seven Funny Car events in a Camaro in his two years of Funny Car competition.
* Camaro Funny Cars have won both Pomona events this year: Ron Capps won in February, Etchells in November.
* Camaros have won 10 professional NHRA races this year, including two by Kurt Johnson in the Pro Stock category with his AC Delco Camaro.