CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES AUTOZONE WINTERNATIONALS POMONA RACEWAY NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SATURDAY, FEB. 5, 2000 PRO STOCK TRUCK CHEVY S-10 STEVE JOHNS COLLECTS HIS FIRST NO. 1 STEVE JOHNS, CASTROL SUPER CLEAN CHEVY S-10, claimed...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES AUTOZONE WINTERNATIONALS POMONA RACEWAY NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SATURDAY, FEB. 5, 2000
PRO STOCK TRUCK CHEVY S-10
STEVE JOHNS COLLECTS HIS FIRST NO. 1
STEVE JOHNS, CASTROL SUPER CLEAN CHEVY S-10, claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position in his fifth career Pro Stock Truck event. Johns, winner here at the NHRA Finals last November, posted a 7.527-second pass at 178.99 mph, outrunning defending Winston champion BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10 by eight one-hundredths of a second (7.535/178.80 for Panella).
JOHNS: "It's a pleasant surprise. The competition is pretty intense and Bobby Panella came on strong the last session and it's going to make an interesting eliminations. Not just because of Bobby, but the other competitors as well." ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU'RE NO. 1? "Yes, it's somewhat of a surprise. I knew the Kessinger Motorsports team has some great equipment with the Chevy S-10, and teaming with Rob Slavinski and the Castrol brands. It's quite a team. I'm real happy that Rob moved up the ladder in the last session (Johns' teammate Slavinski is No. 9, 7.594/178.05). I think it's a great start for our team this year." WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT HOLDING ON TO NO. 1? "Absolutely, I was. With the unfavored right lane, that was a spectacular run that Panella made the last session. He's going to be a tough competitor along with a few others." ON RUNNING A WEEKEND SCHEDULE ALONG WITH THE OTHER PROS: "I'm looking forward to this. I hope it makes our class a part of the whole show." IS THIS YEAR CRUCIAL FOR THE PRO STOCK TRUCK CATEGORY? "I hope so. It went through a building stage in the first year or so. You might call this a first year. I think it will be real crucial for the success to have the possibilities to attract better sponsorship for all the guys." WILL THIS GIVE YOU THE FAVORITE'S ROLE FOR ELIMINATIONS TOMORROW? "Theoretically it should. Sometimes that puts a bulls-eye on your back also. That gives you a little added pressure to do well." DID YOU EXPECT THE FIELD TO BE SO TIGHT? "I expect to see them get even tighter." WHAT'S THE KEY TO WINNING TOMORROW, GOING FAST OR BEING CONSISTENT? "It's staying on your game. The crew chiefs will be doing their role, hopefully I can be relaxed enough to do my role. I pretty much see it as a one-lane race track. When they print the time slip it's a bunch of numbers. I don't think of the other guy at all. If you can control what you are doing, hopefully it will be the best you can do."
TIM FREEMAN, SPEEDCO TRUCK LUBE CHEVY S-10, who took over from LARRY KOPP for the 2000 season, while Larry recuperates from shoulder surgery, did not qualify. He's 17th with a 7.607/177.25 pass.
FREEMAN: "I'm very disappointed for our Speedco Truck Lube Chevy S-10 to be 17th. We're one thousandth (of a second) out of not racing on Sunday. We just somehow ended up off track. We ran really well in the first qualifying run, in the two middle ones we struggled, made a decent run in the last qualifying session, but it wasn't enough. We kind of lost track in the middle two qualifying runs. I don't know why we didn't run better this morning. That really got us. The weather was 300 feet better than this afternoon. We should have run better this morning. It's real disappointing to have this happen in my first race with Larry and Speedco and the crew, Jon Little and Jeff Taylor. But we will be back in Gainesville ready to go again." ON THE TIGHT FIELD: "There's no room for error anymore. There are a lot of good trucks not in the field. Unfortunately, we made a couple (of errors) this weekend. The driver made one. I made a mistake on the second qualifying run on Friday and that really hurt us. The S-10 rolled through the lights. It was my fault, I wasn't paying attention."
RANDY DANIELS, defending Winternationals Pro Stock Truck champion and recipient of the 1999 Chevrolet"Like a Rock" award, voted on by his peers, did not qualify for the first time in the two years of this category. He's No. 19, 7.612/178.59. In the final round, the S-10 veered violently left and right.
DANIELS: "This is the first time we had to go home like this. The NHRA claimed the wheelbase was a little bit short. The S-10 hasn't changed from last year. I heard of things growing before, but this one was shrinking (according to NHRA). We hardly made a change to fix it; but we moved the 4-link suspension back a little bit. It cocked our transmission out of whack on it. I didn't get the pre-load set back in it. That's why it went left in the first run. In the second run we broke a transmission. This morning we were way, way light on clutch setup. When the transmission broke it destroyed the clutch. I put in a new disc this morning. I made sure I had plenty in it in the last run. And I did way too much." WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU WERE GOING SIDEWAYS ON THE TRACK? "You want to stay in it because you know you're fast enough to qualify, but you need to get out of it because you need to have a truck next weekend. We were a hundredth (of a second) ahead of everybody at 60 feet. Unfortunately, we are not racing to the 60-ft. mark. When I left home for this event the last worry on my mind was qualifying. Once you get that monkey on your shoulder, there's nothing you can do about it."
FUNNY CAR CAMARO Z28
JERRY TOLIVER, WWF CAMARO, is No. 2 qualifier, 4.916/310.05. Toliver's team purchased one of the new-generation Camaro bodies that were ordered by JCIT Racing for Cristen Powell in late 1999, before the team quit the series.
RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, is No. 6 qualifier, 5.016/296.24. The team changed engines between the last two qualifying sessions. Ron's only good lap was the 5.01 set yesterday.
CAPPS: "It's ironic when we warmed up for this last session we had a problem with the engine. We had to replace the engine and it was funny because I was talking to a fan, who asked 'are you guys going to make it?' I told him we will have it back together in 45 minutes. It was almost to the minute. At 38 minutes Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) told me to get in the car. We almost fired it up right on the money. So I don't have any problem worrying about the guys with the 75-minute turn-around rule. I will put my crew up against anyone else at any time. So tomorrow I'll worry more about what the Camaro does on the track. Obviously these guys showed today what they can do. That's the least of my worries. When we did the 5.01 yesterday Ace just backed everything down; he wanted to run around a five flat so we wouldn't have to worry about getting it into the field today. It takes a lot of stress off you. It worked out because we tried things today and they didn't work; it smoked the tires both times. I'm sure Ace and the guys will be ready to race first round tomorrow." YOU HIT THE SANDTRAP? "I was worried in the 5.01 run because I had a parachute that didn't come out. The Camaro rolled into the sand. I got it stopped just in time, it didn't catch the front lip like I thought it would. I didn't want to hurt the 2000 body." ON THE FUEL PUMP PROBLEM: "We had to put in a new fuel pump before the first round today. That changed the tune-up completely. So Ace was trying to find what the engine liked after changing the fuel pump. We sure knew what it didn't like the last few runs, but I think he has a pretty good idea of what to do tomorrow."
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 7, 5.017/305.36. In each attempt today, a loss of traction prevented Whit from improving his initial pass on Thursday.
BAZEMORE: "We obviously struggled a bit in qualifying, apart from our first run. We feel our backs are a bit against the wall right now, and I know Tim (crew chief Richards) is not at all happy with how this car is reacting right now. I'm sure he's going to make some major changes before the first round tomorrow. Personally, I'm not that worried. This Kendall Camaro team is a bunch of fighters. Qualifying is no longer the issue; we're seventh. Our job now is to advance through eliminations. The Camaro may not be running the way we'd like, but we hae some great minds on this crew and we'll get a handle on it in due time. This is all part of the game. Sometimes you're going to struggle. I will go out there tomorrow fully expecting to win the race. That's how we approach it. We're going to be aggressive, go for the throat and get this old hot rod running right."
PRO STOCK CAMARO Z28
KURT JOHNSON's ACDELCO CAMARO Z28 is the only Camaro in the 16-car field. In fact, the only other Camaro that attempted to qualify was V. Gaines' independent entry. V. ended up No. 18, and Kurt qualified No. 8, 6.909/199.05, recorded in today's first session. He had a wild ride in the final qualifying pass.
KURT: "I nearly crashed on that last run a couple of times! As I was looking at the guardrail, I thought, 'Man, I only have one car!' It was just about sideways, and then it decided to cooperate and straighten out. There's no apparent reason for what happened because it went n ice and sstraight this morning. We'll look at the video and make a few adjustments; it may be riding on one wheelie bar too hard."