Atlanta: Larry Nance preview

Catch 22 Racing Larry Nance: Driver And Team Owner Marine Corps Pro Stock Oldsmobile Cutlass NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series Olds a thing of the past after Atlanta. COMMERCE, Ga. - - The countdown is down to one race, the NHRA Summit Racing...

Catch 22 Racing
Larry Nance: Driver And Team Owner
Marine Corps Pro Stock Oldsmobile Cutlass
NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series

Olds a thing of the past after Atlanta.

COMMERCE, Ga. - - The countdown is down to one race, the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac, at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta.

The event, which will be contested this weekend, marks the end for the black U.S. Marines-backed 1995 Olds Cutlass and signals the beginning of the next era for former NBA all-star turned drag racer Larry Nance, from Akron, Ohio.

Immediately following this weekend's event, Nance will take delivery on the latest and greatest Chevrolet Cavalier from the chassis shop of Jerry Bickel in Moscow Mills, Mo. Decked out in Team Marines red, this Cavalier should enable Nance to compete on equal footing with his peers in the Pro Stock class on the NHRA POWERade® Drag Racing Series.

Nance, who was born and raised in nearby Anderson, S.C. and played college basketball at Clemson, just up I-85 from Atlanta Dragway, hopes the Marine Corps Olds has one more qualifying run that will put him in the field for the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac.

"We ran pretty good at last weekend's race in Bristol and would like to do the same this weekend here in Atlanta," said Nance. "I will have a lot of friends and relatives from just up the road in South Carolina here and I want to do well for them. We don't plan to change anything on the car for this race. We'll run it the way it qualified in Bristol and make necessary adjustments for the track and weather conditions.

"Personally, I think this Marines Olds Cutlass has one win left in it. It would be a fitting end to a car that has been a work horse for me to win Atlanta on the weekend of the Kentucky Derby. It may sound like a dream, but stranger things have happened."

On Thursday, just prior to the event, as part of his marketing partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps, Nance will be conducting leadership talks and basketball clinics at two Atlanta area high schools - - Benjamin E Mays High School (9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.) and F. Douglass High School (1:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.).

Nance played in the National Basketball Association for 13 years. He was drafted #1 by the Phoenix Suns in 1981 and played for the Suns for six and one-half years. He was then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and played another six and one-half years for the Cavs until knee injuries forced him to retire. Upon retirement, Nance refocused his competitive nature from the basketball hardwood to the quarter-mile asphalt of NHRA drag racing.

Highlights of Nance's NBA career include being named to the NBA all-stars three times (1985, 1989, and 1993), winning the first slam-dunk contest (1984) and holding the record for the most shots blocked by a forward (2,027). He scored 15,687 career points , averaged 17.1 points per game, and pulled down 7, 352 rebounds.

On January 30, 1995, during the Cavs 22nd home game, the Cleveland Cavaliers retired Nance's #22 uniform, which now hangs from the rafters of Gund Arena in Cleveland. The Phoenix Suns were the opponent for that game.

-lnr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Nance