Madison: Billy Harper preview

Harper heads to Gateway - Holcim (US) Inc. adds extra strength. PADUCAH, Ky. (June 26, 2002) - Billy Harper has waited long enough for his 2002 racing season to begin. When the Pro Modifieds roll into the St. Louis area this weekend for the ...

Harper heads to Gateway - Holcim (US) Inc. adds extra strength.

PADUCAH, Ky. (June 26, 2002) - Billy Harper has waited long enough for his 2002 racing season to begin. When the Pro Modifieds roll into the St. Louis area this weekend for the running of the Sixth Annual Sears Craftsman National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals at Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway, many of Harper's competitors will have already competed in as many as five NHRA events this season. Despite his lack of track time in 2002, Harper feels his team has a good as shot as any for the trophy.

"We completely overhauled our Dodge Viper," explained Harper. "We put on a new rear end and put in a new engine and changed out the transmission. We have had a chance to test our efforts and we are very pleased with our performance."

Harper is also pleased to have the support of Holcim (US) Inc., the team's sponsor for this weekend's event. Holcim (US) Inc. is one of the nation's leading manufacturers and suppliers of cement and mineral components. Hopefully, the strength of the cement manufacturer will add the extra force needed to power Harper to victory lane.

Harper competed in the 2001 NHRA event held at Gateway International Raceway and put his mark on the track. After completing the four rounds of qualifying in last year's event, the Dodge Viper sat in the sixth position for the final show down. Harper was eliminated in the first round of the finals.

Despite the outcome, the experience the team gained should prove to be helpful in this year's event. In addition to his 2001 experience, Harper and his team traveled to St. Louis earlier this month to refresh their memory of the 1/4-mile dragstrip. The times from Harper's test passes are competitive with last year's winning times.

This weekend's activities kick off on Friday with two rounds of Pro Modified qualifying scheduled for both Friday and Saturday. The final rounds of competition will be held on Sunday.

ESPN2 will broadcast the AMS Pro Modified event from Gateway International Raceway on July 20 beginning at 9:30 p.m. EST.

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Series NHRA