Clermont Pro Bike notebook

U.S. NATIONALS PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE NOTEBOOK *Remain calm: The U.S. Nationals is the richest race of the season for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, as a rider could earn a weekend paycheck of $35,000. The winner of The Wax...

U.S. NATIONALS PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE NOTEBOOK *Remain calm: The U.S. Nationals is the richest race of the season for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, as a rider could earn a weekend paycheck of $35,000. The winner of The Wax Shop Pro Bike Dash will earn $15,000, and the U.S. Nationals winner will earn $10,000. Any rider who sweeps both events will take home a $10,000 bonus from NHRA. Myers just missed pulling off the sweep last year, winning the U.S. Nationals for the second time but losing to Matt Hines in The Wax Shop Pro Bike Dash final. Despite his close call in 1996, Myers insists that money isn't the primary motivation for him to win both races at Indy. "When I'm on the starting line, I don't worry about money or prestige," Myers said. "If I get too excited, then it affects my concentration. Nothing motivates me any more at one race than another. I just want to win." *Memories of fallen friends: While John Myers tries to keep a level emotional keel during the prestigious U.S. Nationals, he admits that might be a difficult task while he defends his title this year due to his memories of the two competitors who died in crashes at last year's event, Top Fuel driver Blaine Johnson and Top Fuel Motorcycle rider Elmer Trett. Johnson died during qualifying, Trett during an exhibition run. "I think of those guys a lot, anytime I think of Top Fuel," Myers said. "They were both leaders in their field, they were innovators. They were both great drivers and knew what they were doing. "That race, yeah, we won last year. But I didn't know whether to be happy or sad after it was over." *Strike out: Racers often say that they don't worry about what they can't control. The recent UPS strike is out of Dave Schultz's control, but he sure is worried about it. Schultz planned to unveil a new engine at the Champion Auto Stores Nationals, Aug. 14-17 at Brainerd, Minn., but that most likely won't happen due to the UPS strike. Key components of the engine were in transit to Schultz's shop via UPS when the strike began. "Parts of the new engine are lost in UPS," Schultz said. "I don't care which side has to do it, but I sure hope somebody will settle so we can get our parts." It's unlikely that Schultz will have time to build the engine even if the strike ended before the start of the race, as the new components must be machined to exacting tolerances. Schultz isn't the only top rider affected by the strike. John Myers's turbo-engine business, JM Turbo Specialties, also has been hit hard by the UPS strike. *On time: NHRA Winston Pro Stock Motorcycle racing has become so competitive this season, as many riders are creeping up on the performance levels once only enjoyed by perennial standouts Dave Schultz and John Myers. That performance depth places even more importance on strong reaction times to the starting light, Myers said. "The most important thing now is that you've got to be the first one to leave," Myers said. "After that, everything else takes care of itself." Myers doesn't work with a practice tree to sharpen his starting skills. "I practice it all in my mind," he said. "It's all up there." *Expo: Many top drivers in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series will appear with their race cars in downtown Indianapolis during the Western Auto Parts America "Thunder In The Streets" motorsports expo Aug. 27. "Thunder In The Streets" is a street festival with a motorsports theme presented by Western Auto Parts America, the National Hot Rod Association and Indianapolis Raceway Park in nearby Clermont, site of the 43rd annual NHRA U.S. Nationals, Aug. 27-Sept. 1. The expo, open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., will take place at Monument Circle, located on Meridian and Market Streets. Admission is free. More than 10 interactive displays, NHRA race cars and race-car transporters will be on display for fans. Many top NHRA drivers will sign autographs, including John Force, Kenny Bernstein, Shelly Anderson, Randy Anderson, Gary Scelzi and Whit Bazemore. *Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 7 p.m. Aug. 29. Qualifying will continue with sessions at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Aug. 30-31. Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. Sept. 1. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 27.. *Dash schedule: Elimination rounds for The Wax Shop Pro Bike Dash are scheduled for noon, 2 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. Aug. 30. *Tickets: Tickets are available for the U.S. Nationals. Call NHRA Ticketing at (800) 884-6472 for ticket information. Tickets also can be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets. To order tickets by phone from Ticketmaster, call (317) 239-5151. *On TV: The Nashville Network (TNN) will televise three hours of live semifinal- and final-round competition from the U.S. Nationals at 3 p.m. (CDT) Sept. 1. TNN will televise the Big Bud Shootout live from 4-5 p.m. (CDT) Aug. 31 and The Wax Shop Pro Bike Dash live from 4-5 p.m. (CDT) Aug. 30. -30-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Kenny Bernstein , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Shelly Anderson