CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
AMALIE MOTOR OIL NHRA GATORNATIONALS
GAINESVILLE RACEWAY AT GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA
POST-RACE DRIVER QUOTES
SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK COOLANT & MOTOR OIL/REPUBLIC SERVICES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier; 148th career Funny Car win; eighth Gatornationals victory and first since 2001):
Q: WHAT DOES THE SONG OF VICTORY SOUND LIKE?
JOHN FORCE: “(Teammate) Robert Hight fixed my old hotrod; he fixed me on the throttle. I should have listened to him earlier. “We’re going to do some damage this year. We have the heart.”
SHANE GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, GRAY MANUFACTURING TECH CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 6 qualifier, sixth career Pro Stock win):
Q: HOW SWEET IS IT FOR A GUY WHO WE THOUGHT RETIRED AT THE END OF LAST SEASON?
SHANE GRAY: “This isn’t supposed to happen; I was just going to run a few races with my son (Pro Stock rookie Tanner). We’re having fun, there’s no pressure and we’re kind of using this car as a test car. Racing Greg (Anderson, in final) is always awesome.”
DAVID BARTON, who won three of four School of Automotive Machinists & Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown events in 2016 in his GMPartsNow.com Chevrolet COPO Camaro, prevailed in the first of five events this season. Barton posted a pass of 8.131 seconds in the final to give Chevrolet the opening-round victory.
“I knew coming to this race it would be a struggle with so many great drivers,” said Barton, the top qualifier. “We planned to bring out a new Camaro, but didn’t want that pressure right off so we brought out old faithful and won.”
BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 4 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “We had a few battles of our own coming here. We put a new front half on (the car) and made quite a few changes in the cockpit. That affects everybody and me as a driver. To be able to go out with a new front half and go down the racetrack three runs in qualifying was pretty outstanding. It may not look like our best day, but we got some good runs in and some information to set us up for Vegas. We went out early in the second round, and that’s obviously not what we wanted. We wanted to come back here and win this race because we did it last year. We’re going to put all our energy, all our momentum, everything we know into Las Vegas in a couple weeks and go after the win there.”
ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “I was definitely excited coming into today and for good reason. We had low ET of the first round of the whole event and top speed. That was a stellar run. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) thought that he had backed it off enough for second round, because it’s warm, and the motor was just too high and it blew the tires off. I have a lot of confidence leaving here and it’s not like we are looking for a combination. We know we can run fast and quick, we just have to do it consistently. We made some great runs in qualifying and the two previous runs we were low ET of the session. So we will take a lot of good things away from the weekend.”
COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 4 qualifier; fell in first round): “It certainly was a tough loss for our Advance Auto Parts team. That is not the kind of run we were looking for. I’m actually pretty surprised and frustrated to have the car perform like that. But you just have to get back at it. Our crew chiefs are trying to wrap their heads around it and figure out how we can fix the problem as quickly as possible so we are ready to go at Las Vegas. Really, we just have to take this thing back to basics and get it running like it did at Pomona and during the off-season. Looking deeper into this at the things we might have changed, even the small things that we can change back to get it more consistent like we had it before. We are at least having good ETs. For the most part, we know we are on the right path. We just have to get this car running more consistently, especially on a heated track like this, especially with the hot part of the season about to kick off. There are going to be a lot of hot races coming up. Definitely a little bummed out for our Advance Auto Parts team. But we have a great car with this Chevy Camaro. We will just keep pushing it hard.”
GREG ANDERSON, SUMMIT RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 5 qualifier; fell in final): “I’m not sure if I hit the (rev limiter). Either way, it was a good race against Shane Gray, my buddy.”
JASON LINE, SUMMIT RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier fell in semifinals to teammate Greg Anderson): “We didn’t make the kind of run we were hoping to make, that’s for sure. I’ve said it before, you can make one mistake maybe, but you definitely can’t make two. I just didn’t do a good job, but you’ll have days like that, and I’ve had plenty of them. That’s what makes you strive to do a better job the next time.”
BO BUTNER, BUTNER AUTO SALES, JIM BUTNER CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier, fell in quarterfinals): “I know I have a great car and we should be winning. It just takes time. I do feel like it’s coming. I feel like my driving is better now than it was when I first started racing in Pro Stock. It’s just a matter of time. So far this year, we’ve been really consistent. I also didn’t make the run I wanted to make (in quarterfinals). We ran 6.49 in the first round, but it should have been quicker. I’m not sure why we fell off so much in the second. I certainly wasn’t counting on that.”
ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, ELITE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “(Teammate) Jeg (Coughlin Jr.) and I both have something wrong with our race cars. We are going to stay tomorrow and test. It will be good to test on a hot race track that has been prepared for a national event so we can get good data. It is disheartening because we came in here with two really fast Chevy Camaros that had every capability of winning this event. I let the clutch out at the starting line, and had him (Shane Gray) by two one-hundreths so it was game over if we had gone down the track. We will figure it out. The good part about this team is we always hold our heads high and get back to work.”
JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM ELITE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 4 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “Looks like we had way too much power for the track and the conditions. We certainly didn’t expect that. We fought some issues in Q4 and came back in E1 and had a similar situation but got by the round with that .52. We should have run in the high .40s in Round 1 without question and that could’ve changed the fate of the day but shoulda, woulda, coulda gets you nowhere. It was a good weekend. We had our best qualifying effort at No.4. The team has really come together well and we are making great, great horsepower, which is a key ingredient in successful Pro Stock racing. That’s going to show us where our next opportunities are as we come further into the season.”
TANNER GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 9 qualifier, fell in quarterfinals): “I just made a rookie mistake and double-clutched it. I shouldn’t have done it and there is really no excuse for that. I feel bad for all the guys because we struggled a little bit through qualifying and we got good data off the last run, we knew what we needed to do, I knew what I needed to do and I just didn’t get the job done.”
CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 7 qualifier, fell in semifinals): “We feel really good after that semifinal round. We almost had it against Shane and we both were shaking in our Chevrolet Camaros at the same time. We both tried to get back in it and I just couldn’t get mine back into gear quick enough. Overall, it was a real good day for team Harlow Sammons and we’re definitely headed in the right direction heading to Las Vegas in a few weeks.”
VINCENT NOBILE, MOUNTAIN VIEW RACING, MOUNTAIN VIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 10 qualifier; fell in first round): “We struggled a bit on Friday during qualifying. On Saturday, we seemed to get a hang of the car. We continued to run good on race day against Chris McGaha, but unfortunately he got the better of that race. At the end of the day, I have all the confidence in my guys and I know we will be good to go in Las Vegas.”