St Louis Chevy PS/PST Qual Note




KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, is back on top, as No. 1 qualifier, with a 6.932-second pass at 198.20 mph, in the final qualifying session. His e.t. is a track record.

KURT: "We came here last week and made 11 test runs, we got a good clutch combination to go down the race track. We came out here for the first run (Thursday), we were really on a good run, but we broke second gear in the transmission. We left it alone for the night session. We went from Point A to point B and qualified second with a 6.97. We were happy with that. I guess testing paid off. We put a little more bite in the car this morning, and it didn't like it. It's a combination we've run before. The Camaro just doesn't seem to be consistent lately. There is no reason it should not have gone down the track this morning. We came back tonight and put a little stiffer wheel on the car. It was something we ran last year, a little heavier. We didn't shake tires at all last year. I couldn't believe it when I let the clutch out. It was one of the smoothest runs I ever made. Maybe the last two months have just been a nightmare. Maybe we've been struggling just because of something that we thought would have been better. When you set the national record, win a couple of races and you're leading the points you know you think things are right. But obviously it just gradually caught up with us. Hopefully -- we won't know 'til tomorrow -- we will come out here and be consistent and duplicate. If I can let the clutch out, we know we have the power, the crew and our sponsors are behind us. We should be able to run a mile tomorrow and win this thing."

MIKE EDWARDS, DEWCO SALES CAMARO Z28, did not qualify. He's No. 21, 7.038/197.02.

EDWARDS: "Three letters, that's all you have to put down: Mike Edwards, DNQ. It slipped the clutch. The track just got a lot better than I thought it would. There's a lot of difference between the lanes on the clutch. I didn't run over there (left lane) since the first session yesterday and neither lane was too good that time. The left lane got a lot better than I estimated for the clutch and it slipped too much." DO YOU LIKE RACING AT NIGHT? "It's fine. I think it's fair for everybody to get two night sessions, I really like it. I just wish both lanes were just closer together. I would really have liked to race Saturday night. It's got to be a lot better for the fans, racing under the lights. It's cooler for them. I would think they would enjoy it. I would rather sit in the stands in 75-degree weather than 100-degree weather."

TOM HAMMONDS, WINNEBAGO/MAC TOOLS/KENDALL OIL CAMARO Z28, also failed to qualify. He missed it by one thousandth of a second with his 7.024-second run, at 195.79 mph on Thursday night. He's No. 18. Going into the final qualifying session, Tom was still in the field. However, he was on the bump.

HAMMONDS: "I thought we were in good shape, especially after the first two runs. But this session I looked at the time slip and the front-half numbers were pretty good numbers. But the Camaro didn't run any speed or any numbers on the back half of the track. That means we have a problem somewhere else. We've got to go over the whole car again and double check some things and get it figured out. It's encouraging that we came out in the second race and ran a lot better, now we want to take it to the next level." HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT THE TRANSMISSION PROBLEM? "That problem is behind us but, just like Pro Stock racing is, a new one pops up. That's just the nature of this sport. You fix something, something else gives up. You fix it and you keep going. We will get this Chevy Camaro straightened out sooner or later, hopefully sooner." ON SHIFTING IN PRO STOCK THIS YEAR: "These transmissions are working perfectly. They're pretty much the standard transmission that 95% of the Pro Stock guys run. I think a blind man could shift this transmission. It's just a nice, smooth piece. One thing about the air shifters last year, once you pushed the button it had to go through the air lines and then had to go through all the mechanisms to finally plug it into gear. But now when you manually shift it once you put it in second gear and it's in second gear. There's no delay at all, not even a thousandth of a second. You have to adjust that with your clutch and with your chassis setup."


Chevy S-10s hold the top six qualifying positions, with BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, leading the way with a track record e.t. and speed: 7.633/176.12, set in the final session. He's followed by MIKE COUGHLIN, JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10, BRAD JETER, JETER RACING CHEVY S-10, TIM FREEMAN, BLUEGRASS TRANSPORTATION CHEVY S-10, GREG STANFIELD, CHEVY S-10, and MARK OSBORNE, RCL COMPONENTS CHEVY S-10. This is Panella's second pole of the year.

PANELLA: "I think that,judging from our first run when we were No. 1 in the left lane, I knew when I got back to the left lane it had potential. When we got here to St. Louis I figured I could run a .63 or .64, but it took me to the last run to do it. I'd be lucky to stay in the left lane all day long, that would be to my advantage. Sometimes you make mistakes over there and get stuck in the right lane. It seems like I've got everything put together over there pretty well tonight. I hope we can do it four times more tomorrow and try to repeat like in Chicago. Obviousy we've got a little bit of horsepower advantage, or it seems so. All I've got to do is keep repeating and mayb everything will fall into place."

JETER (Jeter held No. 1 qualifying spot until the final session): "I'm just not making real good runs right now. We're working on it every run to try to get it there. We tried some things this afternoon that didn't work out too good." DO YOU LIKE THIS EVENT AND RACING AT NIGHT? "Oh, yes, most definitely. It's a whole lot better than a 4-day event. I definitely like racing with the rest of the pros. When it's real hot it would't bother me a bit to run at night. It makes it a little bit tricky to tune for the night conditions. I think we should be a little closer for tuneup at night because of the match racing we do because that's all done in the evening and at night. I think we will be ready tomorrow. We've still got our string going, we've qualified no worse than fifth. We would like to be No. 1, but we ended up No. 3." YOU USED TO SAY YOU DIDN'T WANT THE PRESSURE OF QUALIFYING NO. 1: "Now we're getting used to getting that $1500 check to start out the weekend, that makes things a little easier."

LARRY KOPP, SPEEDCO TRUCK LUBE CHEVY S-10, didn't qualify, for only the second time in his Pro Stock Truck career, the first time this year. His 7.757-second e.t. at 172.67 mph was good only for No. 19.

KOPP: "This is the second DNQ of my illustrious creer. We've got a problem and can't find it. What it is, I don't know. We'll probably take the motor out and run it in Jerry Haas' Chevy S-10 on Sunday or Monday." AND IF IT RUNS FINE? "Then we've got to go to the S-10 to find the problem. There's something in the truck that's throwing us a curve. Whether it's the motor, a component that we haven't changed, haven't touched, I don't know." HOW DO YOU FEEL? "How would you feel if it happened to you? It's just a big let-down for Chevrolet. I'm supposed to be doing something for them and I'm not doing it. And the people from Speedco are here and they're not seeing me qualify. That's not good. I hope they understand that we are going through a problem and we can't find it. You can't take the hood off and say there's the problem, you have to dig and find it. It's obviouslyy not an easy fix or we would have fixed it three races ago. Whatever the problem is we have had it since Englishtown. It's not the end of the world, but it is today. Next week it won't be. I will go home and see my dogs and Granny and I'll be fine. " ("Granny" is Larry's wife Susan's mom, and the dogs are Buster and his daughter Brandy.)

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jerry Haas , Mike Edwards