CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS
ZMAX DRAGWAY AT CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
SATURDAY, SEPT. 17, 2016
Chevrolet Drivers Well-Positioned for First Race of Countdown
· Chevrolet Pro Stock drivers secure top five positions and nine of top 10
· KB Racing back on top as Greg Anderson is No. 1 in Pro Stock qualifying
· Brittany Force earns No. 2 Top Fuel spot in Monster Energy Chevrolet
· John Force leads John Force Racing Funny Car trio as No. 3 qualifier
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2016) – Chevrolet Racing drivers are off to a quick start in the first round of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
Seven Pro Stock drivers qualified for the six-race playoff that starts this weekend at zMAX Dragway, and all qualified in the top nine heading into Sunday’s eliminations and finals. Greg Anderson’s pass of 6.578 seconds at 210.50 mph in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS in the final round of qualifying earned the No. 1 spot for the 86th time in his career.
KB Racing teammate Jason Line (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) was second at 6.581 seconds and 210.44 mph, while Vincent Nobile continued his strong showing by qualifying third in the Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS at 6.593.
Brittany Force, a three-time Top Fuel winner in the 18-race regular season in the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster, kicked off the Countdown with a pass of 3.729 seconds at 324.67 for the No. 2 qualifier spot.
John Force led the John Force Racing trio of Funny Car drivers by qualifying No. 3 at 3.881 seconds in the Advance Auto/PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS. Robert Hight was the No. 7 qualifier at 3.912 seconds in the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS. Courtney Force, driving the Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS, qualified No. 8 at 3.939 seconds.
CHEVROLET RACING POST-QUALIFYING DRIVER QUOTES
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK ANTIFREEZE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS FUNNY CAR (Qualified 3rd):
NOT A BAD POSITION TO START THE COUNTDOWN, WHAT IS YOUR GOAL FOR TOMORROW?
“We want to win. We have three good Funny Cars, we have a good Top Fuel car, and the goal is to win. We share and learn from each other. We share the tune ups and (crew chief Mike) Neff leads the pack. We are working on my team and we had to make some changes with (John) McCullough coming over there. I have a young kid Jon Schaffer who has been doing a great job and won two races. But we need to polish that car. We are getting some more help over there and I think we are going to be okay. Its early and (Ron) Capps has a little bit of a lead but we are trying to make that up and see where it goes.”
BRITTANY FORCE, NO. 2 QUALIFER IN MONSTER ENERGY TOP FUEL DRAGSTER, JOHN FORCE RACING (Qualified 2nd)
YOU GUYS HAVE ALMOST THE PERFECT STARTING SPOT FOR TOMORROW TO START THE COUNTDOWN, WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
“You know, sitting No. 2 is not a bad place to be. Especially because this is Charlotte and it’s the first race of the Countdown. I feel like it’s a place where we could gain a lot of momentum and points. Because once you get too far behind, you can never catch back up. We are sitting No. 5 in points and we just want to keep moving up and staying with the top of the pack and claim our title at the end of the season.”
PRO STOCK NO. 1 QUALIFIER GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 Qualifier):
YOU GUYS ARE STARTING THE COUNTDOWN OFF THE WAY YOU STARTED THE YEAR OFF
“Yeah, definitely a good start to be one and two. We recognize obviously that the competition has closed the gap and it’s going to be a tough battle here. It means a lot to come out the first race and start on top. Starting off 1-2 is proof that we have still been working hard and still trying to go forward. It’s going to take that the rest of the Countdown. You are still going to have to make gains with the performance of the car and the driver is going to have to drive great. There are a lot of guys out there that can win races. It’s a different ball game right now but I feel good about where we are at and we have a great chance tomorrow with both these Summit Chevys. And Bo Butner’s car is just a tick behind, so he has a great chance too.”
COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, TRAXXAS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier): “We got qualified in the number eight spot and we started pushing on those late runs. We didn’t have the conditions that we had last night in Q2 but I am excited that we have a pretty consistent car. We had a 3.93 and two of the passes were on a hot track. So I think we are in a pretty good position going into race day. It might not be exactly where we wanted to be qualified but we were able to pick up a bonus point yesterday and we will have lane choice going into race day tomorrow. It’s a huge race for our Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro team and we have a whole new paint scheme on the car which is exciting for the fans. I think hopefully its going to be a good weekend. It’s the Countdown to the Championship starting tomorrow and we are definitely looking to go some rounds so that we can start to create a little bit of a gap in the points. We definitely need to make it count tomorrow.”
ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 6 qualifier):
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL FOR TOMORROW?
“To get better because we are going to have more of the same with the heat. We were trying some things for tonight which I think are going to pay off for tomorrow. Because it’s going to be hot. But anyway, it wasn’t that terrible. John’s (Force) car is running good and we all help each other and look at the data. So we are ready. Let the Countdown begin.”
BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER RACING, BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified seventh): “We went testing last week and I made eight runs, and they were all just fine. Today is a different deal. This is the first race in the Countdown, so what happened before this week doesn’t really matter. This would be a good time for us to get a little luck and for me to figure out a few things.”
VINCENT NOBILE, MOUNTAIN VIEW RACING, MOUNTAIN VIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier):
YOU HAVE HAD SPEED ALL YEAR AND WERE IN THE FINALS OF THIS EVENT LAST YEAR, WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR TOMORROW?
“Hopefully do the same thing. Well actually, not the same thing, we need to seal the deal this year. But you know, we just need to be consistent tomorrow. Honestly on this hot race track we have struggled a bit. We just can’t get a handle on the starting line for whatever reason. We have a really fast Camaro SS race car when the track is under 120 degrees. Once it gets above that we struggle a little bit. We are trying some new suspension things. This last round seemed promising we just have to go forward with that. Hopefully tomorrow we can figure it out and we can go four rounds. The ultimate goal…..at least in the Countdown is that you have to go at least two rounds at every race. That is my goal.”
ALEX LAUGHLIN, GAS MONKEY RACING CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 5 qualifier): “We’ve had a pretty strong weekend, coming out of Q1 in second. Ending up in fifth I can’t complain and we’re definitely on the right side of the ladder. We’d all like to have some green hats, but if you’re not first anywhere on the right side of the ladder is acceptable in my book.”
JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 Qualifier):
“This is a good chair to be sitting in. Unfortunately our other cars didn’t run as well, but we definitely know how to get them where they should be. It was a good run. I think there is probably a little more left; that is the good news. I will sleep good tonight, in my own bed. All in all a very good day.”
WITH HISTORY OF RACERS WINNING THIS RACE AND GOING ON TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP – HOW IMPORTANT?
“I think it’s a must win. I think I’ve won championship in the countdown format and I believe it was this race. I think it’s huge. You have to have a good showing here no matter what. Maybe you don’t have to win, but you at least have to get to the final round. It’s a huge deal and obviously starting off in a good qualifying position is best the way to start that. So I’m happy with today’s run.”
HOW MUCH DOES IT MEAN RACING IN BACKYARD?
“I going to be brutally honest – it means zero to me. It doesn’t matter. To win the championship you have to win this race no matter where it is at. It happens to be here and I love the fact I can race this close to home. I love living in North Carolina. It’s a great place to live. It’s as far as winning here, it’s great for the shop guys who usually don’t get to come out to the races so if we can win here for them that is really cool. Besides that, it’s just the right place to get a win for the countdown.”
DO YOU BELIEVE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU TESTED COMING INTO COUNTDOWN IS PAYING OFF?
“I think it’s going to. It’s very small moves. The cars are very fussy. The tune ups fussy. It’s very small moves. We learned some things that are going to pay off and hopefully tomorrow we’ll see that more.”
YOU DON’T OFTEN COME IN HERE AND SAY YOU RAN GOOD. YOU ARE YOUR OWN HARSHEST CRITIC. SO FOR YOU TO SAY…
“I haven’t seen the run yet, so I don’t know. There’s definitely some left, for sure. But yeah it was good run. Anytime you can outrun everybody else obviously, it was a good run. I can sound like Warren Johnson and whine about it, but when you’re number one, your number one. No matter what it was a good run. Was it perfect? Probably not, but it was a good run.”
SHANE GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE/NOVA SERVICES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 4 qualifier): “They reset the points for the start of the Countdown and all of us in the top 10 by just 10 points each so to make up six points in qualifying is very encouraging. We got ourselves a racecar and with this being our home track we’re feeling very comfortable being here and running our Chevy down this strip. There’s no question being at home and sleeping in your own bed every night is an advantage. We’re doubly blessed here because we have two national events in Charlotte every year so we’ll take it and run. We’re very excited right now.”
DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN RACING, RAY SKILLMAN CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier):
YOU SAID EARLIER THAT YOU HAD THE CAR TO BEAT, YOU JUST HAD TO GET IT DOWN THE TRACK
“Absolutely. We know we have the power, at least the exact same power that Shane Gray does. We just kind of got into left field with the car a little bit and my driving has not been good, since Brainerd really. We are coming back together as a group and we will be fine. Race day is what matters. So Sunday, we will just go round by round and take everyone on.”