Seattle Chevy Final Qualifying Notes




WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, is No. 2 qualifier behind John Force with his stellar run of 5.027 seconds at 290.32 mph. Whit had the lowest e.t. of both sessions today, including his 5.11-second pass this morning.

BAZEMORE: "Our Camaro is running well, and I think we have a handle on the race track. We know what we can and cannot get away with. We did well today in the heat. But you still have to look at our main competition (Force). They (Force and Tony Pedregon) didn't run well today, but that doesn't matter for tomorrow. We know they can come out and run any number in any type of conditions, which they have proven five or six times this year. This will be a very hard race to win. It's not the type of race where you can simply tune it up and set sail. The crew chiefs have to tiptoe down this track, and the drivers have to suck it up and know that the car is going to be loose at half track and start to skate around. In the first part of the track you have to pay close attention to the groove. You can't let the car move more than one or two feet either way out of the groove, or you're done."

RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, is No. 8 qualifier in his new Camaro, 5.178/276.18, which he posted in the final qualifying session. Ron's e.t. was the second lowest of the final session, behind Bazemore.

CAPPS: "We're very happy with our 5.17, but don't get me wrong, we're still disappoointed with how the car is running. We expect to be No. 1 or 2 with every run. We're working our way in that direction. It won't be long. We have the new chassis and the '99 Camro body. We have no excuses anymore. We feel it's one of the best cars out here. This is only the fourth run on the new chassis. It's a matter of getting used to everything. It's a good thing we have lane choice." ON THE NEW CAMARO BODY: "The body is very neat to drive because with these new injectors we have now, it's very hard to see around them. They're new carbon fiber injectors that most of the top teams are running now, much taller than the standard injector of years past. This new Camaro body seems to have a wider hood area and much lower hood area and it reminds me of the old days when the Funny Cars didn't have windshields and had huge engines that stuck out as high as the hood. The drivers couldn't see over them, they looked around them. The car looks wonderful. The paint scheme we have had since '97 loks fast just sitting still. On this body it looks even faster. On the last run today it made a bit of a move, the groove is very narrow in the right lane. You always have to fight to keep the car in the center of the groove. when it pushed over the centerline I gave it a jab and it came back pretty quick. That's a major accomplishment. When you put cylinders out you have to put it back in the groove. This is critical, especially for Sunday, because if you don't get it back in the groove you may as well write that round off. I don't have to worry about whether we have downforce. We have plenty; we will go to the GM wind tunnel and find some more."


MIKE EDWARDS, DEWCO SALES CAMARO Z28, winner here in 1996 and '97, was not in the field, as his first three qualifying passes were not quick enough to put him in the top 16. Edwards, of Broken Arrow, Okla., took delivery of a brand-new Jerry Bickle chassis two weeks ago and tested it at Woodburn, Oregon, this week. He originally did not plan to replace his Rick-Jones built Camaro until he was sure the new car was good enough to race. After the Woodburn tests, Edward opted to use the Bickle car here this weekend. He switched back to the Jones chassis for the final qualifying session in an attempt to qualify.

EDWARDS: "We went to Woodburn and ran the new car for a couple of days and thought it was as good if not a little better than the other Camaro. We came here and obviously it's not as good as we think it is. Right now we are not in, so we have nothing to lose. We teched both cars, so I had the availability to run either car if I needed to. So we're switching cars for the final run. Meanwhile after this race we'll test both cars through Thursday and we'll run whichever one we think is the best at Sonoma and stay in that car the rest of the year." WHICH CAR ARE YOU LEANING TOWARDS AT THIS TIME? "I don't know. I think the Bickle one is going to be really good, I just thought I had a better handle on it. Obviously, I didn't. I think we need to regroup to come back with something we're more familiar with. We'll run both in testing, see how they compare, and make a decision then." ON TESTING AT WOODBURN: "We made nine laps. We thought the track was part of the problem. I'm not so sure it was the track now. That's kind of a tough judgment to make when you go testing and there are no other Pro Stock cars testing at the same time. I made a decision to run the Bickle car, and right now I don't think it was the right decision. You never know. We might get a good run and squeeze in the field this afternoon. We pretty much shot ourselves in the foot, it looks like."

FINAL QUALIFYING SESSION UPDATE: Edwards failed to qualify with his 6.98-second pass at 197.25 mps and ends up in 19th spot, based on his e.t. in the first qualifying session of 6.980 seconds at 197.19 mph. EDWARDS: "Another DNQ. It's just a big mistake trying to run that (Bickle) car. I take all the blame, it was my decision. No doubt about it, tomorrow anybody has a chance to win because the track is so marginal. Right now the Jones car is better. We have more data, more information and more runs on it."

TOM HAMMONDS, WINNEBAGO/MATCO TOOLS/KENDALL OIL CAMARO Z28, failed to qualify. His 6.992/197.62 from the second session was good enough only for 20th position. His last ditch effort in the final session netted him a 7.04-second pass at 197.48 mph.

HAMMONDS: "We changed things we thought were in the right direction and we went slower. That's Pro Stock racing for you. Right now we don't know what to do as far as the car is concerned. We need to do a lot of testing. We'll test with other Pro Stock cars at Woodburn on Monday and Tuesday before Sonoma. We will run the race setup for Sonoma and hopefully we will learn something that will help us in Sonoma. We're like the Vancouver Grizzlies of NBA or the L.A. Clippers in the fact that we can't throw the ball into the ocean. We've got a lot of work to do and we have a short time to do it in." HAVE YOU CONSIDERED QUITTING BASKETBALL IN ORDER TO RACE FULL TIME? "I could quit basketball and do this, and be miserable ALL the time (laughing). If we had a chance to run all winter and test with these other guys I'm pretty confident we could run a whole lot better, but I'm not planning on quitting basketball just yet."

KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, is No. 2 qualifier, 6.909/200.35, behind his dad Warren. In the final qualifying session he slowed to a 10.66-second pass at 85.75 mph.

KURT: "We have been running the fine line and have been testing different shocks. This is just an experimental set of shocks we had on there and it didn't work in the left lane. We will have to get them off and get back to basics." ON ALMOST TAKING NO. 1 AWAY FROM WARREN FRIDAY NIGHT: "We know we should run as good as he does. The power is fairly close. When he ran the .90 yesterday, we ran the .93, but the car has been fairly conservative to make it down the race track. Well, we gambled last night, changed the suspension around. We know we have a faster setup and we ran a .90 last night. It kind of amazed me. It really was a straight run. We thought we really had something. So we left it alone this morning and ran a .91, which in the right lane was a pretty good run. It was five hundredths (of a second) quicker than everybody else. So, we missed the two good opportunities to be No. 1. But No. 2 is not bad, the way things have been going."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force