New two-car Pro Modified team formed by Carpenter, Doherty.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 29, 2003) -- Charlotte native and legendary Pro Modified driver Charles Carpenter is forming a new two-car Pro Modified team with fellow driver Pat Doherty. The duo intends to compete in the final nine events of the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) drag racing season, starting with the June 6-8 ACDelco Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va.
Carpenter, considered by many as the "Father of the Pro Modifieds," returns to the seat of his famous 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, the only car he has driven in more than two decades of drag racing competition. Carpenter has won three championships in his career, winning the Super Chevy title twice (1988, '89) and the 1992 United States Super Circuit championship.
Doherty runs a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, pairing two of the most popular Chevrolet models together in a "Bow Tie" dream team. He has won the Super Slammer championship twice in the past three years, and is owner of a construction firm in Londonderry, N.H.
"We definitely expect both cars to be extremely competitive in IHRA competition for the remainder of the year," said Carpenter. "Pat (Doherty) and I are out to prove that the nitrous cars are far from dead." The Pro Modified class is unique as the competitors can choose to run either nitrous oxide boosted engines or use a blower. These two engine combinations race side-by-side on equal terms adding to the fan interest in the class.
Carpenter has been sidelined the past two years due to a lack of sponsorship, though he has remained active in the sport as a consultant and color commentator. He was able to raise enough money to run once last year in the World Finals at Rockingham (N.C.) Dragway. Despite his car tipping the scales 150 pounds heavier than the competition, Carpenter posted career-best numbers in elapsed time (6.352 seconds) and speed (222.47 mph).
Since then, Carpenter has been working to reduce the weight disadvantage on "The World's Fastest '55." He has installed carbon fiber front-end, doors, wheel tubs and rear interior panels, titanium wheelie bars, Lexan windows and replaced the fire system. Carpenter estimates these changes have reduced the weight by approximately 125 pounds, a significant improvement when even a pound can make the difference between qualifying or going home early.
"The changes I've made to the car should help me reduce my time by a tenth of a second, perhaps even a bit more," explained Carpenter. "That should put me in a very competitive position in the field. Pat has himself a first-class operation and given me the kind of opportunity that only comes around once in a lifetime. I want to make the most of this chance while I've got it."
Carpenter owns a Charlotte-based auto repair shop, and lives in Harrisburg, N.C. with his wife, daughter and son who is a crew member on the team. For more information on this legendary racer and about "The World's Fastest '55" Chevrolet, visit www.fastest55.com.
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