Gary Gardella Will Compete In 2005 With Ecotec-Powered Chevy Cobalt -
GM Racing Announces Factory Support For Chevy Cobalt Phase5 Programs
DETROIT, Jan. 17, 2005 - Chevrolet will bolster its sport-compact drag racing roster in 2005 with the addition of perennial powerhouse Gary Gardella. The Gardella Racing team will compete in the NHRA HOT ROD and NDRA Pro 4 Cylinder classes this year in an Ecotec-powered Chevy Cobalt and will receive factory and technical support from GM Racing. The Gardella Racing team represents the future of GM in sport-compact drag racing, and by 2006, GM Racing will fully transition from a factory team into a team-support role.
"Getting into Chevrolet, and racing the new Cobalt with Ecotec power and the Hydra-Matic 4T65 transmission, are moves we feel will take our program to the next level," Gardella said. "I've been one of those fans watching the GM team make changes and improvements to their engine and transmission, and it's remarkable to see what they have been able to do with a production-based powerplant and drivetrain.
"Even though the GM Racing team has been one of our biggest competitors over the last three race seasons, I've grown to become one of their biggest proponents. The research and development and the technical expertise that has gone into the GM Racing program will be invaluable for our race team, and with the Ecotec engine, we will now have a motor that is powerfully consistent and extremely competitive."
In 2004, the 26-year-old New Jersey native had his finest year in the NHRA HOT ROD category, capturing one national-event victory at Atco (N.J.), and a runner-up at Denver for a career-best second-place finish in points. It was Gardella's second straight top-five in HOT ROD. He also posted a career-best elapsed time of 8.086 seconds in May at Englishtown (N.J) to earn his second low-qualifying award at that venue and took the NDRA Pro 4 Cylinder win at Maryland International Raceway.
"We don't like to lose," said Gardella. "Second place isn't good enough for us. We've been fighting for the championship for the last three years, and this season, with the technical backing from GM Racing combined with the experience of Gardella Racing, we plan on getting the job done. As an independent team, working as hard as we do, I think we've proven that we can be competitive, that we are dedicated and that we can make the commitment to do what it takes to be champions in this sport."
Gardella won his first career event at Gainesville (Fla.) in 2003 and later that year in October at Englishtown, he ran the first 8.4-second (8.459), 180 mph (180.31) lap in the history of the HOT ROD category. With the switch to the new Chevy Cobalt, Gardella is anticipating one of his best seasons ever as a competitor in NHRA HOT ROD and NDRA Pro 4 Cylinder.
"GM Racing and Chevrolet are proud to support Gardella Racing in their 2005 race program," said Carmen Smith, GM program manager for sport compact drag racing. "Gary and his team have worked hard in sport compact drag racing and have represented the sport well. They clearly have the desire to win, and we hope to help them get there."
Also in 2005, two Chevy Cobalt Phase5 drag racers will compete with drivers Erica Nocita and Brittany Kindle in classes such as NHRA Quick 16 and NOPI Chic. The purpose of the Chevy Cobalt Phase5 is for GM Racing to further grow its research and development capabilities, bring the advantages of Ecotec to more racers, and most importantly, provide an affordable, high-performance alternative for sport-compact enthusiasts.
"Through the success of our Pro FWD and HOT ROD teams, GM Racing has demonstrated the reliability, durability and high-performance capabilities of our production-based components," said Smith. "The introduction of the Cobalt Phase5 drag racers will show how a GM vehicle, coupled with both factory-engineered and aftermarket parts, could be built and raced at an attainable level. The GM Racing pit area will continue to serve as an 'open-book' of technical information supplying on-site support to any racer running Ecotec, a Cobalt Phase5 drag racer, or any GM-branded cars including Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn. We want to bring the feasibility of racing to more and more sport-compact enthusiasts and grow awareness of GM production-based racing components. Racers will definitely want to check out our expanded Ecotec build-book that will be out in May."
Kindle is a 22-year-old Texas native who now makes her home in New York City. She got her start in the sport two years ago bracket racing at local racetracks on the Eastern seaboard, and she began competing professionally after attending just four events. Kindle is a popular driver in the NOPI Chic series where during the past two race seasons she has captured four victories, competed in eight final rounds and advanced to no less than the semifinals 13 times. The Kindle Racing team is the only program to attend all NDRA events since the beginning of the 2003 season, and she is proud to proclaim Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., as her home track.
Nocita, a 20-year-old California native and a second-year biology major at Citrus College, attended the Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing in 2002 and obtained her competition license in 2003, enabling her to drive any car capable of running a quarter- mile in 7.50 seconds. She currently races a Chevy II every Thursday night at Irwindale Drag Strip in Irwindale, Calif., and holds the title of the "Fastest Girl at Irwindale" after posting a best e.t. of 5.88 seconds at 116 mph in the eighth-mile. Nocita hopes to eventually work her way up to a seat in a Top Fuel dragster. She will compete in the Chevy Cobalt Phase5 at West Coast events while Kindle will concentrate on East Coast races.
In 2005, the GM Racing team will compete in select NHRA and NDRA events. By 2006, GM Racing will transition completely out of its role as a factory team and will move fully into a team-support model.
General Motors (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide, and has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
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