Paul Romine Darlington Preview

ROMINE RETURNS TO SUCCESSFUL SURROUNDINGS FOR IHRA SEASON OPENER DARLINGTON, SC (March 2, 1999) -- If Paul Romine has a favorite track on the IHRA Snap-on Drag Racing tour, it has to be Darlington International Dragway. In three IHRA National...

ROMINE RETURNS TO SUCCESSFUL SURROUNDINGS FOR IHRA SEASON OPENER

DARLINGTON, SC (March 2, 1999) -- If Paul Romine has a favorite track on the IHRA Snap-on Drag Racing tour, it has to be Darlington International Dragway. In three IHRA National Event appearances at the track, he has been in every final round, winning two.

Romine, an Indianapolis native, returned to the sport in 1997 at Darlington and with his Clayton Harris-tuned Dealer Engine Sales/Aerolite Racing dragster, and shocked the drag racing world. Romine broke the 9-year-old IHRA national record en-route in winning the Winter Nationals in his first drag racing outing in 15 years. Later that year, he returned to Darlington with CARQUEST as his primary sponsor and clinched the IHRA World Championship at the Snap-on Finals. Last season at the Southern Nationals, Romine reached the finals where he lost to Tommy Johnson, Jr.

March 12 --14, the IHRA Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals returns to Darlington, its home since 1977. Romine's two-time IHRA Top Fuel championship team enters the race with aspirations of a three peat and it is crucial to begin a championship run with a successful outing at the first race of the season.

"We didn't get a very good start last year, losing in round one at the Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals (in Bradenton, Fla.)," Romine said. "But we're hoping our Darlington luck continues and this year we can start the season like we did in 1997."

Romine returns to Darlington with the same '98 McKinney CARQUEST Dragster that carried him to the 1998 IHRA Snap-on World Championship. Clayton Harris will return as his crew chief and Prolong Super Lubricants, primary sponsor of the Winter Nationals, will be back as the team's primary associate sponsor.

The CARQUEST team made their '99 debut, Feb. 26-28 at the NHRA CSK Nationals in Phoenix, AZ and qualified 16th with a 4.738. Romine lost in round one to Joe Amato.

"Despite losing in round one at Phoenix, I was pleased with the progress of the team," Romine said. "Clayton is getting a handle on the new 5-disc clutch and I think we're going to have something for Darlington. We made three 4.7 second runs (at Phoenix) and there is still a lot left. If the track is good, I think we can better those numbers at Darlington with the right conditions."

The Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals kicks off Friday, March 12th with one round of professional qualifying. The professional qualifying continues Saturday, March 13th with two additional qualifying sessions with the final session under the light in the traditional IHRA Night of Fire. Final eliminations begin, Sunday, March 14th at 12 noon.

ESPN2 will provide tape-delayed television coverage of the Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals at a later date.

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Joe Amato , Tommy Johnson