Darlington Tune Up Should Bring Big Numbers

Big Pre-Season Numbers Are The Norm For Groundhog Warm-up DARLINGTON, SC-- If tradition follows true to form, the third annual, The Groundhog Warm-up will be a star-studded and performance oriented event in 1999. Darlington International ...

Big Pre-Season Numbers Are The Norm For Groundhog Warm-up

DARLINGTON, SC-- If tradition follows true to form, the third annual, The Groundhog Warm-up will be a star-studded and performance oriented event in 1999. Darlington International Dragway’s annual, pre-Winter Nationals test and tune session, which also features a race for both Pro Stocks and Pro Modifieds, has been known for producing some of the quickest times registered during the ensuing season.

The Pro Stocks stole the show in last year’s event. Many of the top entries swam in uncharted waters as they dipped into the 6.6 second zone. Former Pro Stock World Champion Doug Kirk nabbed the largest headline with his 6.626/207.94 in his swoopy, Dodge Avenger Pro Stocker. The defending world champion Floyd Cheek stepped up to the plate behind him and scored one for Ford’s blue oval brigade with a 6.653/208.23. Chevrolet fans weren’t disappointed as Steve Williford carried them across the threshold with a 6.694/206.69 in his Monte Carlo.

The year before, it was four of Pro Modified’s more colorful contingent stealing the show in what appeared to be a battle between two of the class’ more prominent, two-car teams. It also marked the first time nitrous entries were in the 6.4 second range. Scotty Cannon was the headliner in his supercharged, OnSat 1963 Corvette by dipping as low as a 6.42, just one- hundredth off of his world record. The real story came as the nitrous entries of Shannon Jenkins in the Parsons Brothers-owned, 1941 Willys, Tommy Mauney’s Red Line Oil-backed, 1963 Corvette and the Cable TV Plus entry of Brad Jeter all dipped into the 6.4 second range.

While there are many unofficial entries, names such as the formidable Ford duo of Chris Holbrook and Stu Evans, Sunoco Pro Showdown titlist Angelo Alesci, former world champions Jon Yoak and Floyd Cheek, Tom Lee, ron Miller, Steve Speiss and Dwayne Rice are listed as the Pro Stock contingent expected to make an impressive showing.

The Pro Modifieds are expected to make a bang as well with such names as the Johnny Rocca entry driven by Australian Troy Critchley, Mike Castellana’s new 1957 Chevy, Wally Stroupe’s Trim Parts-backed, 1963 Corvette and the classic, Ford entry of Ben Jones.

The Groundhog Warm-up will take place on February 17-20 and feature unlimited testing runs on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Drivers are given free testing under the condition that they compete in an open race on Saturday. Qualifying for the race will begin with sessions on Saturday at 10 AM and at Noon. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at 1:30 PM.

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Series Drag
Drivers Johnny Rocca , Brad Jeter , Scotty Cannon , Dwayne Rice , Shannon Jenkins , Troy Critchley