Team Sonoma ready for action at Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 9, 2000) - Having had a respite since the Winternationals in Ponoma, Calif., last month, GMC Sonoma drivers John Lingenfelter, David Spitzer and Rick Jones head to Gainesville for the second race on their 14-event ...

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 9, 2000) - Having had a respite since the Winternationals in Ponoma, Calif., last month, GMC Sonoma drivers John Lingenfelter, David Spitzer and Rick Jones head to Gainesville for the second race on their 14-event series schedule. All three GMC Sonoma Racing competitors are currently in the Top 10 of the points standings with Lingenfelter in the fifth position with 54 points, Jones is seventh with 52 and Spitzer rounds out the Winston Top 10 with 33 points. After their February trip to Pomona, Sunnen/Dynagear GMC Sonoma driver David Spitzer has been working and testing non-stop during the last month. Building on their pre-season test results in Bradenton, a strong run at the season opener and their more recent test sessions in Gainesville, Spitzer and his teammates are ready to leave the late winter cold breezes in Indianapolis behind and head to the sunnier climate of Florida. "We've done more testing so far this year than what we did last year at this point," said Spitzer. "But it's become necessary because we're a half-step behind and we need to get caught up so we can run with the top three to five trucks. I think that right now we have a top-half truck if we make a good run, so we just need a little bit more so we can play with the top-five guys for sure. "We've done pre-season testing at Bradenton and we actually just got back last week from Gainesville, so we had a chance to tie up a bunch of stuff," contiuned Spitzer. "The Sonoma really looks promising, especially after we ran within a couple hundredth's of Brad Jeter who had the fastest times during testing. We really look pretty good. We tested a lot of things and went in the wrong direction on most of it, but at least we know that some of the stuff that we thought might work in Gainesville didn't. We have one of our old motors back up and running pretty good so I'm feeling pretty confidant right now. I think we're going back to Bradenton right before Gainesville to do some more testing, so we'll be ready for race weekend. "It feels good to be in the Top 10 going into the Gatornationals, and we definitely want to stay there. We need to start going some rounds, at least getting to the semifinals. It would be nice to go that far in Gainesville, so we'll just have to wait and see. Our goal right now is to go some rounds and get into the Top 5." "We've been working on the truck non-stop the whole time since Pomona with chassis developments and the new engine," notes Country Motor Trailer Sales driver Rick Jones. "I've done a lot of laps at Gainesville, not only with my Country Motor Trailer Sales Sonoma, but especially in the past when I helped people tune their cars. The many, many years I've spent down there has given me a vast amount of information and experience to use for myself." Jones advanced to the second round in his GMC Sonoma at Pomona before losing to Greg Stanfield. Even though he didn't make it to final eliminations, the Galesburg, Ill., native is confident that his team is making strides in the right direction. "We really look forward to heading down to Gainesville because we have a lot better momentum built up this year. I feel that you need to start the year just like a drag race, by coming out of the gate very strong. I think we have that for an independent team, and we've had a really good start for the year. If we can just carry that momentum forward and stay in the Top 10 in points, I think we'll have a good season." Jones explains that even though the three GMC teams are independent of each other, there is a cross-referencing of information to boost the Sonoma's overall performance. "Each of the three GMC Sonoma trucks pretty much do their own thing," commented Jones. "There's a little difference in the front grill area compared to an S-10, but John (Lingenfelter), and I are real close and I get along with David (Spitzer) real well. John and I do trade notes and we talk quite a bit. But even though I was really excited and happy to see all three trucks make it in the show at Ponoma, I'll tell you what, I want to be the first one to get a win for GMC. "We sure hope that even better things are still to come. Just as long as we get some really good horsepower, which I have high hopes with the Reher-Morrison engines, make some good runs and as long as I can keep driving well, I think at least we can come out with a win this year and probably even more." In 1998, Summit Racing GMC Sonoma driver John Lingenfelter finished the season second in the NHRA Winston points. If his performance at the Winternationals is any indication, Lingenfelter will be a strong contender for the 2000 Pro Stock Truck championship. Lingenfelter put in one of the Sonoma brand's best qualifying efforts since its introduction into the NHRA Pro Stock Truck series by qualifying at Ponoma in the No. 6 position with an elapsed time 7.577 seconds at 177.88 mph. After ignition problems put an end to his day in round two, Lingenfelter reflected on his efforts. "We went a round at Pomona and going in we may have been one of the favorites to win," said Lingenfelter. "We're happy with where this program is headed right now. Our goal is to constantly improve and with the team we have in place, I think that by midseason, and maybe even by Gainesville, the Summit Racing Sonoma will be very competitive." The 31st annual Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway is the second race on the 14-event NHRA Pro Stock Truck championship tour. Television coverage of final eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, March 19, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern. Qualifying highlights can be seen on Saturday, March 18, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Brad Jeter , John Lingenfelter , Greg Stanfield