ROCKINGHAM, NC (November 5, 2000) -- The CARQUEST Auto Parts Top Fuel Dragster with driver Paul Romine captured the IHRA Top Fuel championship Sunday at the rain-delayed CARQUEST Auto Parts Autumn Nationals at Rockingham Dragway near Rockingham, N.C.
The IHRA Top Fuel season finale was memorable as Romine, 52, of Indianapolis, and competitor Clay Millican brought the battle for the IHRA Championship to the final round of the final race of the season. Romine's CARQUEST-sponsored dragster entered the final with the clear advantage as Millican had to establish two new records and win the event to take the $200,000 championship.
Entering the event, Top Fuel competitors, Romine, Millican, and Bruce Litton were separated by a mere 32 points, first to third.
In qualifying, Romine ran the quickest and fastest Top Fuel pass in IHRA history to earn the top qualifying position. Romine drove his Clayton Harris-tuned CARQUEST dragster to a 4.676-second, and career-best 320.43 miles-per-hour pass.
In the opening round of eliminations of the CARQUEST Autumn Nationals, Romine, Millican, and Litton, plus Jim Head made it through unscathed to produce a dream semifinal round.
The semifinals saw Millican drilling a tire-smoking Litton with a 4.706/322.81 pass that set a new IHRA speed record and backed up his 4.679 e.t. from qualifying -- a new IHRA e.t. standard that would last about three minutes. In the other half of the semifinals, Romine left on Head and slowly drew away to a fifty-three thousandths of a second margin of victory. Romine's 4.720 e.t. backed up his qualifying pass of 4.676, erasing Millican's record before the ink was dry.
In the CARQUEST Autumn Nationals final, it was Romine vs Millican for the title. Not only did Millican have to beat Romine, but he also had to recapture the IHRA elapsed-time record. In a fierce tire-smoking pedaling contest, Millican won the event, but did not set a record, allowing Romine and the CARQUEST Auto Parts / CARQUEST Filters / CARQUEST Brakes / Duragloss / Prolong Super Lubricants sponsored team secure their third IHRA Top Fuel Championship in four years and take home the $200,000 IHRA Top Fuel Championship paycheck.