FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 LONE STAR NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK *Respect: Bruce Allen's respect for top NHRA engine builders like Warren Johnson, Steve Schmidt and Richard Maskin increased even...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761
LONE STAR NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK *Respect: Bruce Allen's respect for top NHRA engine builders like Warren Johnson, Steve Schmidt and Richard Maskin increased even more during the methodical, but sometimes frustrating return to NHRA Pro Stock contention by Reher-Morrison. "I think people overlook how good people like Steve Schmidt, Warren Johnson and Dick Maskin really are," Allen said. "They don't get enough credit for the amount of work and time they have put in to get where they are. "You have to be patient. But it's hard to be patient. This sport is something that will eat you up if you let it." *The big run: While any round of final eliminations can be considered the most important run of a race for an NHRA driver, Pro Stock standout Bruce Allen thinks the pass during Friday night qualifying is the most vital pass of the weekend. "Friday night qualifying is so big," Allen said. "If you miss it, you miss one run and you basically miss qualifying. Very rarely do you see anybody get in on Saturday, especially now when it's getting hot. We're concentrating on that." Friday night sessions usually provide optimal weather conditions due to cooler temperatures and crisp air. A Friday night session will take place at 7 p.m. May 2 at this event. Those cool, crisp conditions create an ideal environment for NHRA national records. Good weather, combined with the traction of the all-concrete track at the Motorplex, could help Warren Johnson break one of the last mythical barriers in NHRA Pro Stock racing at this event, Allen said. "It's a track that Warren could run 200 on Friday night," Allen said. Johnson recorded the fastest Pro Stock speed in NHRA history, 199.91 mph, at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in March at Gainesville, Fla. The first driver to break the 200-mph barrier will earn a $25,000 bonus from the NHRA Speed-Pro 200-mph Pro Stock Club. *Nance, Hammonds are back: Former NBA star Larry Nance returned to NHRA Winston Drag Racing in mid-April at the Fram Nationals in Atlanta with sponsorship from Summit Racing. Nance, from Akron, Ohio, failed to qualify with his pass of 7.076 seconds, 195.86 mph in the Summit Racing Oldsmobile Cutlass. He competed in seven events last season and two of the first four races this season before parking his car due to lack of sponsorship. Nance will be joined by Denver Nuggets power forward Tom Hammonds in the Pro Stock pits at the Mopar Parts Nationals, May 15-18 at Englishtown, N.J. Hammonds recently landed a sponsorship deal from Wendy's and Mac Tools, enabling him to compete in 10 NHRA national events between mid-May and mid-September, when Nuggets' training camp starts. Hammonds raced a limited schedule last year in his first season of NHRA Pro Stock competition. "I got a taste of what it felt like to run in Pro Stock last year, and it has been hard to get it out of my mouth," Hammonds said. *Sleep on it: Many top drivers think the first round is the toughest matchup of eliminations, as they fear a mistake or a mechanical glitch that would send them home early. Bruce Allen agrees, but there's another reason why he fears the first round: plenty of thinking time. "It would be a lot easier if we ran eliminations right after qualifying," Allen said. "You wouldn't have as much time to think about your opponent and have all of those anxious moments. Now, you have that night to sleep on it. "A lot of times you don't know who you're going to race in the second round because you're busy working on your car. Until somebody tells me, I don't want to know who I'm racing. You're really racing yourself and your lane. You can't do a thing about the guy in the other lane." *Plenty of power: After crew chief/engine builder Richard Maskin left the McDonald's Pro Stock team in late February, driver Jim Yates kept the potent Maskin engines that powered him to the Winston championship last season. But Bob Ingles, Yates' new engine builder, also is building strong engines that will be phased in Yates' program as Maskin's powerplants age. Yates used an Ingles engine at the non-points Winston Invitational in early April at Rockingham, N.C., qualifying No. 3 at 6.951 seconds. Yates lost on a holeshot to Warren Johnson in the quarterfinals. "We feel better losing the way we did at Rockingham than if we won with (Maskin's) engines," Yates said. "We now know we can win with Ingles' engines. The car was a rocketship." *Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. May 2 and continues at 7 p.m. that evening. Qualifying ends with sessions at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. May 3. Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. May 4. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 10 a.m. May 1. *Tickets: Tickets are available for the Lone Star Nationals. Call Texas Motorplex at (800) 668-6775. Tickets also are available at Ticketmaster outlets. Call Ticketmaster Dallas at (214) 373-8000. *On TV: The Nashville Network (TNN) will televise 90 minutes of live, final-round competition from the Lone Star Nationals at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) May 4. TNN also will show one hour of live, first-round racing during its "NHRA Today" show at 11 a.m. (CDT) May 4. *On the Web: The NHRA home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.goracing.com/nhra/ offers more information about NHRA Winston Drag Racing, including qualifying and eliminations results, news, point standings, statistics and driver biographies. -30-
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