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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications More information: (423) 764-1164 June 20, 1997 IHRA Raybestos Summer Nationals to blast off at Cordova Dragway Park CORDOVA, Ill. -- The IHRA Snap-on Tools ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications More information: (423) 764-1164

June 20, 1997

IHRA Raybestos Summer Nationals to blast off at Cordova Dragway Park

CORDOVA, Ill. -- The IHRA Snap-on Tools Championship Drag Racing Series will make its western- most stop July 4-6 at Cordova Dragway Park for the 18th annual Raybestos Summer Nationals presented by Parts Plus Auto Stores, Giant and Whitlock. The race will be the fourth of eight national events on the IHRA Snap-on Tools Championship Drag Racing Series. The legendary facility, which plays host to the World Series, drag racing's longest running event, has undergone major improvements since being purchased by Scott Gardner and Dick Bullers in early 1996. It will be the first IHRA event held at the quarter-mile facility, located slightly north of the Quad Cities.

Four professional categories, eight sportsman divisions and exhibition jet dragsters will complete the race program. Record entries are expected in all classes. Headlining the professional categories will be Top Fuel, which features some of the most impressive machines in drag racing. Exceeding speeds of 300 miles per hour, Top Fuel dragsters can cover a quarter-mile dragstrip in less than five seconds.

Snap-on points leader Paul Romine of Indianapolis will look to rebound from a devastating 'blowover' at the recent Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals, Bristol, Tenn. Other Top Fuel title contenders Shirley Muldowney, Doug Herbert and Jim Bailey will be in the hunt as well.

Another well-known driver in the division, Tommy Johnson Jr. of Ottumwa, Iowa, will be making his first IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series appearance in over two years. Johnson will be driving the Drost Equipment Co. John Deere dragster in the event.

In the wild and unpredictable Pro Modified division, points leader Todd Tutterow of Lewisville, N.C. will campaign one of many 1963 split window Corvettes. Spring Nationals winner Rickie Smith, Winter Nationals champ Shannon Jenkins, defending IHRA World Champion Scotty Cannon and Cordova Dragway Park record holder Gary Shearer will be among the top contenders in the division.

In Pro Stock, 18-year-old New Orleans racer Richie Stevens will look to increase his points lead in his Roy Hill's Drag Racing School Ford Thunderbird. Angelo Alesci, Iowa's Ed Machacek, defending title winner Jon Yoak and two-time IHRA Pro Stock world champ Billy Huff will be among the top contenders in the division.

Alcohol Funny Car will be a war when top contenders Scott Weis, who leads the Snap-on Series point standings in his Sherwin-Williams Paint sponsored machine, Jimmy Rector, four-time IHRA champion Mark Thomas, defending world champion Von Smith and world record holder Jim Lape take to the track.

Gates open on Friday at 8 a.m., and sportsman qualifying begins at 8:30. Professional qualifying sessions are scheduled for 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Friday. Action begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the first professional time trial set for 1 p.m. Saturday's Champion Spark Plugs

Night of Fire, IHRA's popular qualifying finale under the lights with lasers and fireworks, will begin at 8 p.m. Final eliminations will begin at 12 noon on Sunday. Cordova Dragway Park is located three miles north of Cordova on state route 84. For more information contact the track at (309) 658-2846, or IHRA at (423) 764-1164. (-end-)

General Information

*Schedule: Gates open at 8 a.m. Friday, July 4 for the 18th annual Raybestos Summer Nationals presented by Parts Plus Auto Stores, Giant and Whitlock. Sportsman qualifying will begin Friday at 8:30 a.m., while professional qualifying rounds will take place at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sportsman qualifying will start at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, and will be followed by a 1 p.m. professional qualifying session. The Champion Spark Plugs Night of Fire will feature the final professional qualifying session, and is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Final eliminations will begin Sunday at 12 p.m. (noon).

*Tickets: Tickets are available for the 18th annual Raybestos Summer Nationals presented by Parts Plus Auto Stores, Giant and Whitlock. Regular admission is $15 Friday, and $25 Saturday and Sunday. Children 10-14 $10, under 10 free. Reserved seats are $5 per day, adult or child. Advance tickets Friday $15, Saturday and Sunday $20. Call Cordova Dragway Park at (309) 654-2110 or IHRA at 423-764-1164 for additional ticket information.

*On TV: The Raybestos Summer Nationals presented by Parts Plus Auto Stores, Giant and Whitlock will be shown on ESPN2 on July 26 at 3 p.m., again on July 27 at 3 a.m. and also on July 30 at 12 a.m. Half-hour sportsman coverage will precede the July 26 and 27 professional telecasts, and will be shown at 1 a.m. on July 30.

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Mark Thomas , Doug Herbert , Shirley Muldowney , Scott Weis , Scotty Cannon , Angelo Alesci , Shannon Jenkins , Rickie Smith , Von Smith , Tommy Johnson Jr.
Teams Williams