"Quickest Female on Earth" earns career-best elapsed time at the 3rd Annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals

JOLIET, Ill., September 28, 2003 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith, driver of the FRAM Filters Top Fuel Dragster, posted her career-best elapsed time during the first round of Top Fuel eliminations at the 3rd Annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at the Route 66 Raceway.

Hartman-Smith was off the line first over opponent, David Baca, and earned the win light with a 4.523-second elapsed time (319.75 mph) over Baca's 4.643-second elapsed time (303.09 mph). She advanced to the second round of Top Fuel eliminations against Larry Dixon, the current NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion. Dixon crossed the finish line first with a 5.669-second elapsed time at 193 mph over Hartman-Smith's 9.237-second elapsed time at 101.16 mph.

"What an exciting weekend for our team," comments Hartman-Smith. Hartman-Smith continues, "Not only did I run my career-best elapsed time today, but my husband ran his second-best elapsed time (4.542-seconds) yesterday during qualifying. We have a great tune-up for this racetrack and earned career best's here in the spring."

Rhonda earned her previous career-best elapsed time (4.562-seconds at 316.23mph) earlier this season at the Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Illinois where she earned the title of "Quickest Female on Earth." She secured her prior career-best elapsed time (4.578-seconds) last season at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at the Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania. In addition, Rhonda earned her career-best speed of 323.66 mph earlier this season at the SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The other half of the husband-and-wife Top Fuel team, John "Bodie" Smith, posted a close second-best elapsed time of his career -- 4.542-seconds -- during Saturday's Top Fuel qualifying. He earned his career-best speed (325.77 mph) earlier this spring at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (Joliet, Illinois). He posted his career-best elapsed time of 4.540-seconds (318.77 mph) at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at the Houston Raceway Park. Smith made his first final round appearance at the MAC Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, against Brandon Bernstein.

The NHRA record-holding couple raced against each other four times this season during Top Fuel elimination rounds at the MAC Tools Gatornationals, the SummitRacing.com Nationals, the O'Reilly Spring Nationals and Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals. Rhonda earned the win light three times over John's one victory.

Both team-owned Hartman Motorsports Dragsters showcased bold graphics of the legendary Steve Miller Band and recognizable Pegasus logo while retaining major signage for the teams primary sponsors, FRAM Filters and Prestone Products. The "his and her's" Dragsters were unveiled to the public on Wednesday, September 24th at the Chicago Mack Sales and Service Inc., the largest Mack Truck dealership in the United States, located in Summit, Illinois.

Hartman Motorsports is a family owned and operated automotive race team competing in the Top Fuel category of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Virgil Hartman is the team owner/tuner; daughter Rhonda Hartman-Smith drives the team's primary car (FRAM Filters Top Fuel Dragster) and son-in-law John "Bodie" Smith drives the second team car (Prestone Products Top Fuel Dragster).