Patton Makes History at Nitro Nationals (May 26, 2001) Red Bluff, CA --- The 3rd annual IHBA Nitro Nationals is known as the richest drag boat race in the world but today during qualifying it also became the quickest drag boat race in the world...
Patton Makes History at Nitro Nationals
(May 26, 2001) Red Bluff, CA --- The 3rd annual IHBA Nitro Nationals is known as the richest drag boat race in the world but today during qualifying it also became the quickest drag boat race in the world after Dwayne Patton, of Visalia, CA made the quickest pass in drag boat history covering the liquid quarter mile in 4.551 seconds at 219.60 mph in his Top Fuel Hydro.
"I can't believe it. I want to get out there again and see if that is really how quick we went. Everyone was telling me how quick that pass was and I just want to back it up within in 2 percent so it is an official record. That was our first full pass with the new twin prop set-up. It was a lot quicker than we every expected," said an excited Patton following the 2nd qualifying session. "We really wanted to make another pass in the afternoon but on the first pass we caught on fire when a fuel tank seam burst. It took us a while to find the problem and it is the kind of situation you have to take your time and fix it right before going out again. I just want to apologize to all the fans who wanted to see me run again today. We just ran out of time."
In Top Alcohol Hydro Troy Ferry, of Vallejo, CA, grabbed his first career number one spot with a 5.506 second pass at 214. 94 mph. Ferry's pass was aided by near the perfect racing conditions of the fresh river water pumped into Red Bluff Lake.
"I've never been the number one qualifier before but this crew really came through for me today. I just get in the boat and drive. They do all the work to get the boat ready. If it runs good they should get all the credit. Tomorrow is my birthday so hopefully I'll get a good present. The boat pulled good all the way down the track. We have been consistent lately we are just looking for a little luck," said Ferry.
Johnny Heidemann, of Tacoma, WA, captured his second number one qualifying position of the 2001 season with a solid run of 6.866 seconds at 167.62 mph. Heidemann also referenced the cool water temperatures as a positive sign for his performance today.
"The boat drove like it was on rails today. It was like driving a Cadillac. These were good water conditions with a little chop you could get on top of an ride out for a super pass. If the water is too rough you can't stay in it but when it is like it was today you can really lay down a solid pass. When I was on the rope I thought it might be a little too rough but as soon as I took the tree I knew it was going to be fine. Once I got started it was smooth as silk," said Heidemann.
Second year Pro Mod racer Lonnie Mills, of Bakersfield, CA, is sitting atop the Pro Mod class for the first time in his IHBA career. His pass of 7.029 seconds at 163.68 was closest to the 7.000 index.
"We switched to a blown motor for 2001 and it has made a big difference. In Phoenix it was our first time out and we qualified 10th and made it to the semis. In Bakersfield we qualified 3rd and made it to the semis. Hopefully we will be able to go all the way in Red Bluff from the number one spot. The river was a little choppy but that little bit of ripple created some friction that held us on the pass. We are looking for our first IHBA national event win and hopefully we'll get it tomorrow," said Mills.
Final eliminations begin at 8 a.m. with Top Fuel Hydro eliminations starting at 10:30 a.m.
The International Hot Boat Association (IHBA) is the premier sanctioning association for drag boat racing in the United States. The IHBA is dedicated to producing top-level motor sports events across the country by sanctioning 16 events at the national and divisional levels. The 2001 IHBA national series is a twelve-event tour covering California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Carolina, and Georgia, with a $1.5 million purse, reaching over 300,000 fans, and culminating with the crowning of the IHBA World Championship at Firebird International Raceway in November. Beginning July 1st Speedvision will begin a 52-week television schedule covering the IHBA. Log onto the IHBA website for more information www.ihbaracing.com
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