CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES PROLONG SUPER LUBRICANTS NORTHWEST NATIONALS SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 1999 PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28 KURT JOHNSON WINS HIS THIRD TITLE OF YEAR IN CAMARO KURT ...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES PROLONG SUPER LUBRICANTS NORTHWEST NATIONALS SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 1999
PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28
KURT JOHNSON WINS HIS THIRD TITLE OF YEAR IN CAMARO
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, won his third title of the year today, the 15th of his career, and the fifth for the Camaro since the brand's return to Pro Stock competition in 1998. Kurt defeated Jim Yates with his 6.923-second pass at 200.44 mph, to Yates' 6.962 at 198.00 mph. Kurt had the edge in reaction times with his .450 light to Yates' .506. Kurt was No. 2 qualifier, Yates No. 4.
KURT: "We're still learning the combination on this Camaro. The Camaro is a year and two months old. It's just a combination of suspension, shocks and 4-link rear suspension setup. We can make the car go real fast, but it's on a real fine line. If I get the thing consistent so it dosn't shake the tires it goes down the track all the time, we have something we can tune. We made a really good hit right out of the box coming from Denver, that gave us a good baseline." ON RUNNING IN THE RIGHT LANE FOR THE FINAL: "I never doubt the Safety Safari out there, they always do an excellent job. We had been in the left lane all day. I felt real comfortable in the right lane, I had no problem. I felt the Camaro was going to go halfway straight, we made a really good call. The car made an absolute straight run." ON THIS TRACK: "This track has always been a great track, a driver's track. When you let the clutch out usually the car goes down straight. The track is really groomed, the rubber stays nice and thin." ON FIRST WIN SINCE HOUSTON IN APRIL: "At last, it's about time. After Houston things were going so well, we went to Virginia and set a record, qualified No. 1 in Chicago, then we didn't qualify in Englishtown. We lost five times in a row (four times in the first round, plus the DNQ). That was the biggest nightmare of my life. I knew it wasn't the car, it was the people working on it. We had to get our act together. For me it's trying to get points back. We were on a high in the first six races, we were no worse than third, then we slumped for five races." WAS THIS ONE OF YOUR BETTER WEEKENDS FROM START TO FINISH? "I'd say so. We really came back after that run last night when we shook the tires. I had to abort that run. That didn't really throw us off, but you really want to make it down the track every time in qualifying. We changed shocks, suspension in the first round, moved the ballast around and did an .87 in the first round. I told the guys that putting that Camaro in the lead in the beginning of the year didn't happen with our good looks. We ran into some problems in the middle of the year, now we have a good race car for the rest of the season." ON THE POINTS CHASE (Kurt is 142 points behind his dad Warren, 1066-924, and 131 ahead of Jim Yates, 793): "Anytime you can go and put some points on the leader always helps. We were on such a high at the beginning of the year and a hundred some points in the lead and then we were 80-some points out of the lead. It was a slap in the face. We had some bad luck. It was the ultimate to lead the points. Even though you lead it for 6-7 races you have to lead it at the end, when it counts."
PRO STOCK FUNNY CAR STANDINGS:
1. Warren Johnson 1066 2. Kurt Johnson 924 3. Jim Yates 793 4. Jeg Coughlin Jr. 731 5. Richie Stevens 663
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28
WHIT BAZEMORE MAKES IT INTO THE FINAL ROUND FOR THE SECOND RACE IN A ROW
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, was runnerup for the second straight event, and smoked the tires at the start in both. He was defeated by Del Worsham, 7.302/163.67 for Whit, 5.283/279.67 for Worsham.
* This was the third final round appearance for the Chevy Camaro Z28 Funny Car in '99. Whit Bazemore, in the Kendall Oil/Superwinch Camaro, is the only Camaro driver to have advanced to the final this year.
* There are only two Camaros in the Funny Car field, which compete at every event and which are supported by Chevrolet: Bazemore's and Ron Capps' Copenhagen Camaro. Chuck Etchells, Bazemore's team owner, competes with a Camaro body for Sickles Motorsports at selected events.
* In 1998, Camaros won eight of the 22 events, more than any other brand. Capps won five of those titles, Chuck Etchells the other three.
BAZEMORE: "That's a problem. I don't know why we smoked the tires tonight. We have a reasonably good idea why we smoked the tires in Denver. A lot of that was driver induced. Tonight it wasn't. It was just one of those things. It's still a good result for us. If you can lose to anybody, it's good to see Del win a race. He needed it. We need it too. It's really frustrating to not be able to win these final rounds. It dates back to last year, the three finals we were in last year. We won the first one in Chicago, runnerup in Sonoma and Houston and this year we have been runnerup three times. That's the last five finals we have been runnerup. It's frustrating. It's part of the game, I guess. We ran well, I don't know what to say. As long as we keep going rounds it's a good thing. You can't be too disappointed that we are runnerup. Our main competitor (Force) lost in the semifinal round and Tone Pedregon, who is second in points that we're chasing, couldn't get the car started in the first round. We made up ground there. It's all about making up ground and winning races. We have a good competitive car, the team is working very hard here. We went through a lot of parts this weekend, 6-7 motors. Despite that, I feel like we are doing way more things right than we are doing wrong and that's important. The guys worked awfully hard, it was a tough day for everybody. And every round today we had to change motors. I feel for the team more than anything else. This team deserves to be in the winner's circle. I feel it's my job to help put them there and we are going to get the job done soon." DID THE CAMARO BODY HELP YOU GET TO THE FINAL TWO TIMES IN A ROW? "The new Camaro has definitely been a big improvement for the car. Denver historically has been the most difficult race track on the schedule and after this weekend and after what happened here in Seattle the last two years I think a lot of people think that Seattle is the most difficult race on the schedule. There are an awful lot of team owners who are poorer after this weekend. There's a lot of carnage. That has a lot to do with the race track and the atmospheric conditions we have here. The point is because this race is so tough and Denver is tough the fact that we are running well and we had some low e.t.s we are very competitive. You have to say the Camaro is definitely helping us. There's no question that it is. The Camaro feels good to drive, we have more downforce, so that helps.