NHRA: Brainerd NHRA Friday Notes
22 August 1998
VISIONAIRE NORTHSTAR NATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES BRAINERD INT'L RACEWAY FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 1998
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28
RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, is No. 1 qualifier tonight, 5.003/266.42.
CAPPS: "We had a .879 60-ft. time. That's awesome for a Funny Car. You look at the stat sheets and this Camaro has always left hard at first launch. We have set records this year with the quickest 60-ft. times because the car launches real hard. The .879 time if almost as good as some of these Top Fuel Dragsters. The Camaro has been like that all year long. When it leaves that hard it has a lot of momentum and you're able to carry it all the way through."
ON TEAM CHEMISTRY: "We have awesome chemistry. You have to have a good car, you can't win the Kentucky Derby with a mule. You can put the best driver in the world in a car that isn't so good, and the driver will not be so good. All the crew chiefs have now caught up to Austin Coil (John Force's crew chief). This team started last year. In the first half of the year we had another crew chief, Tom Anderson. The Camaro would not go down the track. The ratio of times it went down the track compared to not (going down the track) was ugly. We didn't have good chemistry. Then 'Snake' (team owner Don Prudhomme) brought in Roland Leong, another legend in the sport as crew chief. It was half way through the season. It took me from 20th in points to fifth in points by the end of the year. You don't go out and win these races without being pretty good. We started off this year with him as the crew chief, we won the first race, we struggled, won two more and we're right back in it. I trust them (the crew), they trust me. Sometimes we look at each other and we know what we're going to say. It just clicks."
WHIT BAZEMORE, TEAM WINSTON CAMARO Z28, is No. 6 qualifier, 5.148/298.11. He set this e.t. in today's first session, which was good enough for No. 1 at that time. In the second session Whit shut it down early. BAZEMORE: "It was us. We had too much power at a point on the track where we didn't need more power. That caused us to spin the tires a little bit and so instead of pedaling it and going through all that headache, we just shut it off. Could we have run better than a .14? Probably so. It would have been close, with that tire shake. We feel real good. We made four runs last week at Indianapolis testing and that really helped us. We're doing what we have to do to get more competitive and we're there. The big question tomorrow is what the weather is going to do, hopefully it won't rain and we can make more runs."
CHUCK ETCHELLS, KENDALL/MA MA ROSA'S PIZZA/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, is No. 12 qualifier, 5.332/279.06.
ETCHELLS: "We're having a problem with our brakes. It actually showed up during the morning warmup, so we changed calipers, the master cylinder and went out for the first round. We were lucky to make the run, because it wouldn't back up or drive forward. We had a soft setup in the Camaro, so we would probably have only run a 5.25 if the brakes didn't drag. We worked on it some more between rounds and took some parts off our back-up car to put it on the main car, and warmed it up, and it did the same thing. So, with little time to get to the lanes for the nighttime session, we rerouted the brakes from the front to the back, and adjusted the pressure real low on the front, and took it to the lanes. But the brake handle was so far back that once I climbed in with my firesuit on, and got completely strapped in, the handle pulled all the way to the frame rail, so I didn't have any leverage to control the car. So we had no other choice than to cash in our chips, turn around and come back to our pits. It will be another long night for the Kendall Camaro crew, but we'll get it ready for tomorrow morning, and see if we can put it back in the top half."
PRO STOCK -- CAMARO Z28
LARRY MORGAN, RAYBESTOS CAMARO Z28, is No. 10 qualifier, 7.077/193.34, set in the second session.
MORGAN: "We made a pretty good run other than we had a miss in high gear and lost a couple of hundredths (of a second) at the end of the track. I think we ran pretty good for today. I think it will be pretty good tomorrow morning if it doesn't rain. If it rains I think we will all be in trouble. Hopefully we can stay in and win a race." ON THE FIRST RUN: "We just shook the tires real bad. We got off the transition from the concrete to the asphalt and blew the tires off it. It happened to a lot of cars so I attributed it to that. We made a 4-link change and it obviously helped."
TOM HAMMONDS, WINNEBAGO/MAC TOOLS/KENDALL CAMARO Z28, is No. 12 qualifier, 7.084/194.13, set in the second session.
HAMMONDS: "That wasn't bad. As a professional basketball player and a professional racer, it could always be better. You are never satisfied. Everything considered, we're extremely happy. That run could have been faster, we were probably 50 pounds too heavy on the clutch. But overall I think it was a good run, we have a good baseline going into tomorrow morning. It should be a good session tomorrow morning, the track will be cooler, cooler than it was this afternoon. But we still have improvement in our Camaro. If we go out and get the job done we should be in good shape. If we look at the track conditions and see what the altitude is, and adjust the clutch accordingly we will be all right."
ON THE ENGINE SITUATION AFTER SEATTLE (where the engine was damaged and he was unable to compete in the second round of final eliminations): "We had to fly the engine from Seattle on Monday in order to have enough time for Finish Line Racing Engines to go through the whole engine to make sure everything was o.k. They had a lot of work, they not only had my engine but a lot of other engines (to work on). I wanted to make sure mine got in there first and got it all taken care of. My spare is getting worked on, this is the race engine, the only one we've got right now. If we break this one I will sell everything I have to get another one. Larry Morgan has offered me one of his motors and from a Chevy guy to a Chev guy I really appreciate that." ON ERIC LUZINSKI'S LEAVING THE TEAM: "One man doesn't make a team and I think he got a pretty good offer from Jeg's and, hey, I told him to go for it. I appreciate everything he's done for my team, but at the same time that's what a team is. You pick up where someone else has left off and you get the job done. We will do everything ourselves. Charles Burnett will assume the clutch duties. Tim Roberts and I will do the rest. We have a lot of runs on the car, setting the clutch is not rocket science, you just have to make good decisions."
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
CRISTEN POWELL, TEAM REEBOK TOP FUEL DRAGSTER, who established a track record at Seattle International Raceway two weeks ago, 4.590 e.t. at 299.80 mph, making her NHRA's "Quickest Woman in the World," was No. 1 qualifier in the first session today, then dropped to second in the next session, 4.661/299.20.
LARRY DIXON, MILLER LITE TOP FUEL DRAGSTER, is No. 9 qualifier, 4.753/307.90.