Romine wins Norwalkâ€™s undisputed Top Fuel World Championship Belt NORWALK, OHIO -- Norwalk (Ohio) Raceway Park, located between Toledo and Cleveland, hosted the match race of the year and possibly the decade Saturday, May 23, pitting the ...
Romine wins Norwalk’s undisputed Top Fuel World Championship Belt
NORWALK, OHIO -- Norwalk (Ohio) Raceway Park, located between Toledo and Cleveland, hosted the match race of the year and possibly the decade Saturday, May 23, pitting the CARQUEST Top Fuel dragster of 1997 IHRA Top Fuel World Champion Paul Romine against the 1997 NHRA World Championship dragster of Gary Scelzi.
Staged like a Las Vegas heavyweight championship fight, Romine and Scelzi raced at the CARQUEST Fox Hunt with the winner receiving a gold championship belt. The showdown took place approximately 10:30 p.m. local time with the two Top Fuel world champions escorted to their 6,000 horsepower nitro machines by police patrol cars and a helicopter.
Once the two nitro breathing dragsters were lit, the capacity crowd stood on their feet to see who would win Norwalk’s undisputed Top Fuel world championship. Romine and Scelzi staged, then the ‘tree flashed green and Romine drilled Scelzi with a left hook off the starting line, a .462 to a.522. Scelzi regained what he lost at the start, turning in a .846 60-foot time to Romine’s .905, but by the 330-foot mark, Scelzi machine went up in smoke and the CARQUEST dragster stormed to the finish line with a winning jab of 5.009/281.25 to Scelzi’s 6.689/128.71.
“This was just a good ole Saturday night drag race,” Romine said. “The stands were packed, (Bill) Bader had the event staged like a world championship fight with police patrol and fireworks, man what a fun night of racing, I wish we could do these type of events more often.”
With the win, Romine gains possession of Norwalk Raceway Park’s undisputed Top Fuel World Championship belt.
“I’ve gotta tell ya, me and Gary really wanted that belt and I’m just glad we got it,” said Romine after the race. “This thing is going to the front of my trophy case.”
Earlier in the evening at CARQUEST Fox Hunt, Romine faced 3-time Top Fuel World Champion Shirley Muldowney in the male vs. female portion of the event. Muldowney revenged her loss to Romine two weeks earlier at the Legends of Drag Racing event in Michigan, defeated him with a career-best elapsed time 4.821/287.72
A one hour program from the CARQUEST Fox Hunt will air later in the year on ESPN2. Highlights from the race will air on ESPN2’s Inside Drag Racing in the next few weeks. Check your local listings for dates and times.
Paul Romine results CARQUEST Fox Hunt, Norwalk Raceway Park Saturday, May 23, 1998 r/t 60’ 330’ 660’ mph 1000’ finish line round one (male vs. female) Shirley Muldowney .467 .866 2.186 3.197 244.96 4.041 4.821/287.72 Romine .451 .888 2.332 3.725 175.81 5.140 6.839/123.10
round two (undisputed world champion) Gary Scelzi .522 .846 2.363 3.647 179.92 5.044 6.689/128.71 Romine .462 .905 2.326 3.351 244.96 4.202 5.009/281.25