CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES -- PENNZOIL NATIONALS Virginia Motorsports Park -- Richmond, Va. -- Sunday, April 26, 1998 FINAL ROUND -- FUNNY CAR CHUCK ETCHELLS, KENDALL/MAMA ROSA'S PIZZA/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, wins his second straight Pennzoil...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES -- PENNZOIL NATIONALS Virginia Motorsports Park -- Richmond, Va. -- Sunday, April 26, 1998
FINAL ROUND -- FUNNY CAR
CHUCK ETCHELLS, KENDALL/MAMA ROSA'S PIZZA/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, wins his second straight Pennzoil Nationals title today, defeating Tim Wilkerson in a tire smoke-filled final. Both cars smoked their tires, resulting in a pedaling match to the finish line, with Etchells taking the win light in 6.019 seconds at a top speed of 238.79 mph. Wilkerson trailed to the finish with an elapsed time of 6.381 and a top speed of 212.06 mph.
ETCHELLS: YOU DIDN'T HAVE LANE CHOICE, DID YOU THINK THAT WOULD BE A PROBLEM? "Not really. We knew the groove in the left lane is narrower. But we saw (Joe) Amato go down there and he did a 4.69. So we figured as long as we kept the Camaro in the groove we were in good shape. We were more concerned with his (Wilkerson's) dominating performance. He stepped on it a little bit. We thought the track would get better, but it didn't. The one thing that might have messed us up was the semifinals. The Camaro was on a tremendous run, we might have done better than a 4.89 if we hadn't smoked the tires a bit. They (Wilkerson's team) probably looked at those numbers and knew we had more left if we hadn't smoked the tires." ON THE RUN AGAINST WILKERSON: "We smoked the tires first. I saw a little of his color go by. We recovered first and got there first. We knew we had to put a light on him. His lights were not as good. His were in the .530 range, ours were in the .490 range. We really felt the starting line was important, but it ended up not mattering." ON BEING IN THE POINTS LEAD: "I have never been in the points lead. I don't have any feeling about it whatsoever. I think it's way too early. I always said right along, let's see what it looks like after Sonoma. One encouraging thing, going back to Ron (Capps) and Wilkerson tied in fifth in points, if you look from there forward there's a lot of guys bunched in tight. You're starting to see a little gap developing after the No. 5 driver down. It's going to be tough for them to move up. When you have five cars and drivers to deal with rather than one or two, it's easy to make strides. The guys who are falling behind are going to have their work cut out for them to win the championship."
* This is the third event victory for a Camaro-bodied Funny Car this season (Capps in Pomona, Etchells in Phoenix and Richmond).
* In all, Camaro-bodied Funny Cars have now won five national events since Chevrolet returned to NHRA competition in 1997.