San Antonio: Saturday, Sunday competition changes

TEXAS NATIONALS TO BE CONTESTED ON THE 1/8th MILE Sets Historic Mark for Nitro Jam Series SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 24, 2007) -- Due to unforeseen issues pertaining to the track surface at San Antonio Raceway, IHRA officials have announced the...

TEXAS NATIONALS TO BE CONTESTED ON THE 1/8th MILE
Sets Historic Mark for Nitro Jam Series

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 24, 2007) -- Due to unforeseen issues pertaining to the track surface at San Antonio Raceway, IHRA officials have announced the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts will be contested as an 1/8-mile event. This marks the first time in IHRA's modern-era that a Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam event will not be contested on a ¼-mile.

Late Friday night, IHRA officials discovered problems with the track's right lane, as the asphalt began to loosen and compromise the ability to safely run cars over it. Upon discovering this, the remaining qualifying rounds Friday were contested as single passes in the left lane only.

"In order to give IHRA racers the best racing surface possible, San Antonio Raceway officials decided several months ago to undertake a major track re-grinding process prior to the national event," said IHRA Vice President of Race Operations Skooter Peaco. "Unfortunately, our good intentions exposed a weak spot in the right lane asphalt, and after nearly a full day of cars going down the track, it came to a point where a few areas in the right lane were actually starting to need repair.

"The safety of our racers, fans and officials always comes first, so naturally, upon this discovery, we immediately ceased action in the right lane."

Instead of just patching the areas in question, officials and crews worked through the night to replace about 650 feet of the right lane, starting at about the 500-ft. mark of the track through the finish line. Saturday racing was rescheduled to begin at 11 a.m. with sportsman time-trials.

"The crews did an amazing job, working all night and literally putting in a new surface on a portion of the track," said Peaco. "It's amazing to think about the amount of work that was completed in such a short amount of time and the problem we had on Friday was totally fixed. There were no shortcuts taken on this project and the end result is basically a new right lane to ensure there are no additional issues."

Early Saturday morning, race officials decided to run the rest of the Texas Nationals on the 1/8-mile.

"We have consistently proven that we do not take unnecessary risks, period. Therefore, the decision to run an 1/8-mile race was made out of concern for the safety of our racers," said Peaco. "We fixed the ¼-mile and know we could contest the race that way, but we are erring to the side of caution and safety. It was a difficult decision, but considering the risk factors, it was a simple call."

Professional classes have two remaining qualifying sessions. The ¼-mile qualifying sessions already completed will be reset based on 1/8-mile incremental times for those runs.

Sportsman will run time-trials today scheduled for 12 noon. Qualifying was already completed and the fields will be set. Sportsman eliminations will begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

"At the end of the race, we'll actually be looking back at this event as a historical moment for Nitro Jam drag racing," added Peaco. "We've never contested a national event on the 1/8-mile. We're anxious to see how the fans and racers react to this format."

-credit: ihra

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