Pomona: GM Racing finals notes

PRO STOCK TRUCK Randy Daniels (Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10) - "We worked an awful lot during the offseason on a brand new truck and it didn't work out for us like we would have liked. We raced back home and put everything back in our old...

PRO STOCK TRUCK

Randy Daniels (Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10) - "We worked an awful lot during the offseason on a brand new truck and it didn't work out for us like we would have liked. We raced back home and put everything back in our old truck like we left here in the fall with. We're still behind that yellow truck (Bob Panella) a little bit. We're going home from here to do some more testing on our Chevy S-10. We have about a month off before we go to Gainesville, so we're going to be working real hard to try a little extra kick to win that race. We won there last year and it would be nice to get us a little streak going. We're going to give the new truck another shot because it's faster when we can get it to go down the racetrack. If we could've qualified for last year's race here, the points chase may have been a little closer than it was. We started a race behind everyone else, and that hurt us, but I don't know if we could've beat Panella or not. It's early in the season and I can't say that this puts any pressure on anybody. We just want to win races when we come out here and then the points battle will take care of itself."

PRO STOCK

Kurt Johnson (ACDelco Chevrolet Cavalier Z24) - "The margin was 17 thousandths at the finish line, and he was right on my bumper. When I staged, the sun was in my eyes, but I pulled off a .450 reaction time, my best light of the day. It was perfect. We're exceptionally happy about the new Cavalier. My hat's off to GM for putting this project together. You never know what to expect from a brand new car, especially when the track conditions start changing like they did today. My hat's off to my team, Jeff Perley and Joe Caudle, for making the right decisions. This season is going to be the toughest ever. Whoever works the hardest is going to be ahead when we come back here in November."

Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Grand Am) - "Overall I'm very pleased with the performance of this new Pontiac considering that it has relatively few runs on it. We got some data on the new chassis and had the opportunity to test under warm conditions, so we have a lot of things to work on before the next race. In the first round, we got a little aggressive on clutch - no, we got a lot aggressive. We haven't run this car on a hot racetrack before, but it seems to be pretty immune to tire shake. We went back to our qualifying engine for the second round and backed down the clutch, and the result was a nice, smooth pass. In the third round against Darrell (Alderman), the transmission came out of gear. We did a lot of testing on that transmission down in Florida, probably 35-40 runs. It just came out of gear for an instant, but that was enough. But a semifinal finish isn't a bad way to start the season. We're just going to get some more runs on the chassis, and we'll flog our new Haas car, too. We have two different approaches that we can explore. I'm optimistic about our prospects this season."

FUNNY CAR

Bruce Sarver (e.moola.com Pontiac Firebird) - "Coming here we felt like we had a pretty good hot rod, and it is so fun to drive. When we got a handle on the car, and then Alan's power, clutch management, and all that, it made it so easy to drive. It was actually making a fool out of me for awhile. Like in the second round today that computer fell off of my car and fell on the track and nobody saw it. It was right in the right-hand tire groove and I knew what I had to do. Alan (Johnson) thought I was heading for the wall, but I just drove around it like I was going around a corner and put it back in the lane and went right down there.

"You know, coming here we had good expectations. We went out last night and said we felt like everyone had to come to us. We tuned it up a little bit and just didn't want to beat ourselves. The run in the semis was actually a better run than a 4.90 flat since we had a cylinder go. Racing Tony in the finals felt just like racing John (Force). You look over there and see the Castrol car, then I actually see John and he's over there shooting me bullets before the race. But we went up there and Tony's car was out there on me a little ways and I could see about a car length, and then I caught up with him but it seemed like forever to get down there. Fortunately this time I drove around him instead of him driving around me. What was neat today, too, was when I won my race in Reading last year, Joe Amato won, Kurt Johnson won, and I won. So we did it all again, theoretically, even though Joe wasn't in the seat it was his car that won, Kurt Johnson and myself. I can't wait to see those guys again.

"It's going to be a long season, and there's a lot of hype here with the first race and the 50th anniversary season, so to win the first one is nice. But by no means am I going to go out there and run my mouth and say we're going to beat John Force. He's the 10-time World Champion for a reason, and it's a real pleasure to be chasing him, but I think we can honestly give him a run for his money. We just have to be consistent and stay focused."

Chuck Etchells (Kendall/Matco Tools Chevrolet Camaro) - "For the Kendall/Matco Tools Chevrolet Camaro it was a good weekend - it turned out good anyway. As far as the two-car effort goes, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but at the same time, a lot of opportunities. It felt good to get back in the car, it really did. When you get to the semifinals you want that victory - that's just the way it is, that's why we're here. I love this racecar. I'd never driven a Terry Manzer tuned car before -- the car almost talks to you. I knew on that run there that at halftrack that we weren't going near as fast as we needed to be. When you feel that, when the motor goes one to one with the clutch, you're going to spin the tires. I knew it was going to happen before it happened and I almost grabbed the brake. Then I thought, 'maybe it won't.' I was foolishly optimistic. We just have a few runs in the car, and to feel that good and communicate the way I do with Terry, that gives me a lot of encouragement heading into Phoenix."

Whit Bazemore (Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird) - "Our Matco Tools Pontiac Funny Car team had a good day and it certainly is very satisfying to come out with the results we had. We are a new team and we didn't come here 100% prepared due to Lee Beard's late arrival. In light of that, what an awesome debut for this Don Schumacher-led team. Beating John Force in the first round is good, but this is a long year. It's no doubt that their team is one of the best and we still have a lot of work to do. It's also very good for this Funny Car class to leave Pomona and not have John Force leading the points, and we leave here knowing we are the ones that put him out. It's a long year and they are the team to beat.

"Our Matco Tools Pontiac repeated every lap and I have to thank Lee Beard, Dan Olson and the entire Schumacher Racing team. Going into the semifinals we were a little nervous about that right lane and were a little apprehensive about stepping it up. We knew Alan Johnson and Bruce Sarver had potential. It was a good run in the heat of the day, their run was just a little better." -GM Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Bob Panella , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Joe Amato , Randy Daniels , Chuck Etchells , Don Schumacher