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As published at http://www.nhra.com

By Rob Gieger:

I spoke with Fred Simmonds, the man in charge of everything related to drag racing from General Motors, as he returned from a business trip to St. Louis Friday afternoon. Among other things, Fred was in St. Louis to check on the progress of the GTO Pro Stock cars currently under construction at Jerry Haas' and Jerry Bickel's shops.

Fred tells me we'll only see one GTO in Denver and that it will be driven by current points leader Greg Anderson. GM has a long-standing policy of getting new cars to race teams in order of their standings in the points, which at the time the first batch was ordered would have meant Warren Johnson got the first one. But it appears his car, which was ordered first from Haas, won't be done until at least a couple weeks after Denver, most likely by Brainerd, where we'll also see the GTO debuts of Jason Line, Mike Edwards, and Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk. Anderson's car is being built by Bickel.

"I want to stress something to race fans," Simmonds said. "The NHRA is not like NASCAR in that almost every team has an in-house chassis builder. Over here, we have two or three shops making chassis, and they're not just making GTOs. They're making Cobalts and Stratuses and a bunch of different Sportsman chassis. It's a six- to eight-week process, and they're working double time. As they're completed, we'll put them into use. It's just very hard to introduce a new car midseason, but we're very excited about this new GTO, so we're getting them in front of the fans as quickly as possible."

Simmonds also reports that Bruce Allen and Jim Yates should have their new GTOs by Indy.
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