Sonoma: Chevrolet final qualifying notes

SONOMA, Calif., August 4, 2001 - The professional fields are set for tomorrow's 14th annual Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals. In Pro Stock, there were no significant changes taking place in the qualifying order. Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier...

SONOMA, Calif., August 4, 2001 - The professional fields are set for tomorrow's 14th annual Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals. In Pro Stock, there were no significant changes taking place in the qualifying order. Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. held on to take his first starting-day pole position of the year after setting an elapsed-time track record on Friday night of 6.880 seconds at 199.14 mph.

"We were expecting our Chevy Cavalier to run a 6.91 or 6.92 in the last session today," said Coughlin. "We got too aggressive and got burned. We qualified No. 1 for the first time this year and Team Jeg's will carry that positive momentum into raceday. Our entire group would like nothing more than to end the West-coast swing on a high note and get another win."

Warren Johnson is qualified in the No. 2 position in a Grand Am, Kurt Johnson is third in the ACDelco Chevy Cavalier, Bruce Allen is qualified fourth and Mark Osborne is fifth. Ron Krisher drove his Cavalier to the No. 7 position.

In Funny Car, Ron Capps has the quickest running Camaro heading into raceday. Capps will start from the No. 5 position with a 5.005 elapsed time at 299.66 mph. Teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. has his Camaro qualified in the No. 6 spot.

Whit Bazemore leads all qualifiers in a Firebird, Dean Skuza is qualified second, John Force is third and Bruce Sarver is fourth. Chuck Etchells is qualified 11th and Jim Epler is 14th, both in Chevy Camaros

Pro Stock Quotes

Kurt Johnson (ACDelco Chevy Cavalier) - "We're real good to the 1/8th mile, and then the big tires slow us down from there because the car is absolutely hooked up. We've got the quickest e.t. in the first 60 feet, we're quicker to 660 feet than anyone, and last night we had the fastest speed to the 1/8th - but then it just dies. The tires are glued to the track and that's making the motor struggle. I was only .005 seconds off the quickest car this morning, so I'm not stressed. If we can make some adjustments to pick up the performance in the last 300 feet, we'll be right there. Our best run was in the left lane, and that's probably going to be the lane of choice tomorrow. We think the track will get worse tomorrow with the sun beating on it. Our biggest challenge right now is to improve the speed in the back half. Our game plan is to stay consistent, let the clutch out on time get through the first round, and then let the track come to us. If the sun is out we expect at least a 120-degree track temperature. I think a string of 6.91s will be good enough to win tomorrow. We won last year with a 6.97 on a 115-degree race track, so we would be shining with four 6.91s on Sunday."

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Chevy Cavalier) - "We were nervous this morning because we didn't have a baseline for the run. It was kind of an educated guess as to what on earth we were going to do. We could have done a little bit better but with what we had to work with from last night, I can't complain. We had absolutely no clutch last night. But that's because the first run was a throwaway run. I guess our Eagle One Cavalier was about as fast as anybody this morning. We're going to try something with some tires tonight that we thought about doing before we got here. Kurt's (Johnson) already running them. They're not going to take you to the top of the pack right now, but this racetrack tomorrow, if it gets hot, and it usually does, is going to be a beast. It's not going to be who's fast, it's going to be who gets to the other end. If they look like they're going to work then we'll run them tomorrow."

Funny Car Quotes

Ron Capps (Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro) - "Our first run today was more than decent considering our first qualifying lap yesterday was disallowed. Looking at the incremental numbers on that run, it was second or third quickest of the round. Instead of crying and worrying about it we just focussed on getting it done today. That first 5.04 this morning was pretty stout considering we weren't in the show, and the pressure of trying to get into the field. We got bumped out of the top half of the field, and going into the last session we realized we needed to step it up to regain lane choice. That five-flat was excellent and now we know we can get down that right lane at four o'clock in the afternoon when the final round is run - it could be exciting tomorrow. These lanes are very tricky and there was a tremendous amount of wind out here today. It wasn't exactly a headwind so it was kind of gusting around in different directions, and was moving cars around quite a bit. Once again, it's a good thing we have a lot of downforce on the front end of the new Camaro. It's helped me considerably in driving the car especially on days like today. This Chevy is a great racecar and we've done a lot of work in the wind tunnel which has really helped us this summer. These summer racetracks are where that downforce will come into play. We have Del Worsham in the first round tomorrow and the bright spot is that he's just ahead of us in the points. We try not to concentrate too much on that, but he's less than a round ahead of us and a win in that first round will allow us to pass him."

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro) - "We're in the hunt. We're not out in left field by any means. The biggest problem that's plagued us this season is consistency. This weekend we've taken care of that, but if we want to win we'll have to run just a bit quicker and that's well within the realm of what we're doing here. The Skoal Chevy Camaro is actually running in the five-ohs with a pretty conservative setup. We're trying some new things without trying to make giant moves. My car has a little bit different setup than Ron's (Capps) Camaro this weekend - we're trying some stuff for a change in effort to better both cars. If we can keep up the consistency and maybe pick it up by a half-tenth or a tenth of a second tomorrow then we'll be in the hunt. A low five-oh will probably win you a round or two, but when it comes down to the semifinals you're going to have to run in the 4.90s. Lane choice will be a factor, but if we lose it we know we can get down that right lane."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Jim Epler , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Ron Krisher , Bruce Allen , Tommy Johnson Jr.