Darlington Warm-up Thursday Report

DARLINGTON, SC - When it is assumed that the majority of drag racers are anxious to end the off-season, one would be wise to accept this assessment as the gospel truth. Thus was the case as seven Pro Modified teams and one Pro Stocker showed up a...

DARLINGTON, SC - When it is assumed that the majority of drag racers are anxious to end the off-season, one would be wise to accept this assessment as the gospel truth. Thus was the case as seven Pro Modified teams and one Pro Stocker showed up a day early for what promises to be the largest full-bodied, professional test session in drag racing, the CompetitionPlus.Com Groundhog Warm-up presented by Majesty Homes in Darlington, SC. It took a few runs for the racers to get the feel of the track, but once they did, the big numbers followed.

Of the seven Pro Modifieds on hand, it was seven-time IHRA World Champion Rickie Smith that led the fray. The veteran drag racer from King, NC., pushed his nitrous-oxide injected 1963 Corvette to the quickest lap of the day, a 6.321/220.64. The late afternoon run stood as quickest and fastest of the group.

His tremendous lap overtook the previous leader, which was Mitch Stott. The Radiac Abrasives-sponsored driver hammered out a 6.338/219.99.

Chris Holbrook pushed the Stu Evans owned, BASF-sponsored entry to a best lap of 6.645/208.42.

There was some serious carnage within the Pro Modified ranks as Troy Critchley, piloting the Johnny Rocca-owned Ironhorse suffered serious engine damage on both of their runs. The current Pro Modified record holding team is expected to dip into the 6-teens. Another serious incident was a nitrous explosion encountered by the LeeBoy-sponsored entry of Quain Stott.

The official start for the event is tomorrow with five professional divisions contested at the CompetitionPlus.Com Groundhog Warm-Up presented by Majesty Homes. The classes contested will be Pro Modified, Pro Stock, 500-inch Pro Stock and Nitro Harley. The defending champions are Ronnie Hood (Pro Modified), Chris Holbrook (Pro Stock), Jim Yates (500-inch Pro Stock) and Steve Moore (Nitro Harley). The Pro Stock Trucks are welcome to test as well. The aforementioned categories are the only ones allowed participation.

The format is simple for this event. Darlington Dragway will provide free testing for any racer that competes in the aforementioned divisions on February 18 - 20, provided that they adhere to the following conditions. The racer must participate in a "Chicago Style" format on Saturday in which there will be three set sessions for runs. The first two attempts will determine the final round contestants, as the two quickest runs will qualify for the final round to determine the winner. The final round will be run during the third session. To qualify for the free testing, the racer must participate in all three days of the event.

Gates will open for the Saturday show beginning at 10 am with the first blast off at 11 and admission only $10.

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Series Drag
Drivers Johnny Rocca , Rickie Smith