The Parts America Nationals final eliminations, held over after a rain-out two weeks ago, were nearly rained out again today, and completing this event looked bleak until 6:05 p.m. CDT, when the clouds moved out, the track was dried off and the...
The Parts America Nationals final eliminations, held over after a rain-out two weeks ago, were nearly rained out again today, and completing this event looked bleak until 6:05 p.m. CDT, when the clouds moved out, the track was dried off and the sun made a cameo appearance. As the temperatures dropped, racing action began.
PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28
KURT JOHNSON, AC DELCO CAMARO Z28, second in championship points, was ousted in the first round by Mark Pawuk (7.075/195.18 for Pawuk, 7.386/192.67 for Kurt). This was Kurt's first first-round loss since he was eliminated in the first round by Steven Schmidt at the Autolite Nationals on July 26. While most cars had trouble in the right lane, Kurt's defeat came in the left lane, where he got out of the groove.
KURT: "It was nasty. It took a hard move, started shaking in second (gear), and it was guardrail to guardrail all the way down the race track. Why we don't know, the Camaro made a perfect straight run yesterday in that lane. I was either on a bad spot on the race track or we got something underneath the tire. The Camaro has never really done that. It just got out of the groove and when the track is only 60 degrees you have to be where the rubber is and we just made a terrible run." ON THE POINTS RACE: "Jeg (Coughlin) Jr. will gain 20 points on me, but we're still in second. This was a run we shouldn't have lost. The only good thing about it is the No. 3 and No. 4 drivers (in points) behind me (Jeg Coughlin and Jim Yates) are on the same side of the ladder so one of them is not going to go to the final." HOW DID THIS WEATHER DELAY AFFECT YOU?: "You go up there determined to do what you have to do to win. I had a .426 light, which is excellent and left on him by four hundredths (of a second), and should have won the race. I had to go 7.11 to win the race and I went 7.38. This kind of day gets kind of dragged out, and the worse part is going to race on a race track that everyone is having problems with. We had to tune our Camaro to get down it, just like everybody else, but it's an unfair situation to run on a track that's got water underneath it."
LARRY MORGAN, RAYBESTOS CAMARO Z28, was also eliminated in the first round, losing to Mark Osborne (7.008/196.24 for Osborne, 7.044/195.31 for Morgan) in the undesirable right lane. Morgan once again ran the headlights on his Camaro, holding true to his promise to run them every time he qualifies or races at night the rest of the year.
MORGAN: "We were so loose down the track, it's a wonder that I didn't crash. The rain probably hurt us quite a bit. Downtrack the track is terrible. I spun the tires through third gear and I lost all my momentum. I was ahead until the one-eight mile (mark), and the Camaro got loose and there's nothing you can do about it." ON THE RIGHT LANE: "What happens is that the water from the rain gets under the rubber and just peels it up, and there's no rubber for the tires to adhere to and it wouldn't stick. Night racing is real hard, because of the lack of traction and you can't see very well, although they do have very good lighting here." DID YOUR HEADLIGHTS HELP? "Only on the return road." YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU WOULD RACE AT NIGHT, ARE THE LIGHTS ALWAYS READY TO BE TURNED ON? "We keep the small auxiliary battery for the lights in the Camaro all the time, so in order to run the headlights we just have to plug in a wire under the hood and then I hit a switch inside the car."
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28
All three Camaro Funny Cars advanced to the second round, although one will have to go in the second round, as RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, faces WHIT BAZEMORE, TEAM WINSTON CAMARO Z28 in that round. CHUCK ETCHELLS, KENDALL/MA MA ROSA'S PIZZA CAMARO Z28, will face Jim Epler.