Myers Story & ProStock Motorcycle Notebook (PRO/BIKE)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NHRA Communications MYERS CONFIDENT HEADING INTO PRO STOCK BIKE TITLE SHOWDOWN POMONA, Calif. -- John Myers is one of the most humble champions in NHRA Winston Drag Racing, so it was a bit surprising to hear...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NHRA Communications MYERS CONFIDENT HEADING INTO PRO STOCK BIKE TITLE SHOWDOWN

POMONA, Calif. -- John Myers is one of the most humble champions in NHRA Winston Drag Racing, so it was a bit surprising to hear the words coming from his mouth a week before the Winston Select Finals.

"It's looking good," Myers said. "Well, it looks like we're going to get it . I know my team is working as hard as they can."

It's hard to blame defending NHRA Winston Pro Stock M otorcycle champion Myers for being confident. Titles aren't won with doubts, especially when the biggest showdown of Myers' career looms ahead.

Myers, from Birmingham, Ala., leads archrival Dave Schultz by just 22 points entering the 32nd annual, $1,416,000 Winston Select Finals, Oct. 24-27 at Pomona Raceway. Schultz must gain three more points in qualifying and advance one round further than Myers to win the championship.

Myers' confidence was buoyed Oct. 6 by his performance at an AMA ProStar race at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Ohio. He won the event and recorded a low elapsed time of 7.367 seconds. That pass was quicker than any in NHRA history, and ProStar uses the same rules as NHRA for Pro Stock Motorcycle.

That power could help Myers win his fourth NHRA Winston championship on the Snap-on Tools Suzuki GSXR in one of the best title chases in Pro Stock Motorcycle history. Myers and Schultz never have been more than 82 points apart all season, as Myers took sole possession of the lead for the first time by winning the U.S. Nationals in early September at Indianapolis.

"It would be the best one yet, because we've had to fight even harder to get on top," Myers said of winning the championship. "Plus it would be first time we've repeated as champion."

WINSTON SELECT FINALS PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE NOTEBOOK

--Untimely loss: Dave Schultz lost in the first round at the Sears Craftsman Nationals last month at Topeka, Kan., on the Sunoco Suzuki GSXR, his earliest loss since losing in the first round to Steve Johnson in June 1993 at the Oldsmobile Springnationals in Columbus, Ohio.

Schultz entered the event with a 60-point lead over John Myers but left trailing Myers by 22 points. Myers capitalized on Schultz's problems by winning the race.

--Showdown: If past history is any indication, there's a very good chance that Dave Schultz and John Myers will race in a head-to-head showdown to determine the NHRA Winston champion at this event.

Pro Stock Motorcycle's dynamic duo has an uncanny knack of meeting during eliminations, as they have raced each other at six of 11 events this season that include the bikes. They are tied, 3-3, in their matchups this season.

--High praise: Just about everyone who watched the Pro Stock Motorcycle final at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals last month at Reading, Pa., was impressed with Angelle Seeling in her victory over five-time NHRA Winston champion Dave Schultz.

Even Schultz.

"If there is any lapse, she makes it up with her tenacity," Schultz said. "She's a tough little competitor."

--End of an era: John Myers knows that the days of he and archrival Dave Schultz dominating Pro Stock Motorcycle are ending soon.

Myers and Schultz have traded the NHRA Winston championship this decade, with Myers winning in 1990, 1992 and 1995 and Schultz in 1991, 1993 and 1994 . But the emergence of outstanding rookies Matt Hines and Angelle Seeling will create quite a crowd near the top of the NHRA Winston standings next season.

Hines has won two races this season on the Vance & Hines Suzuki GSXR, the only rider other than Myers and Schultz to win more than one national event in a season this decade. Seeling has one victory in just five national events since debuting in July at Denver as a teammate to Myers on the Star Performance Parts Suzuki GSXR.

"I don't think it will be just a John and Dave show next year," Myers said. "I think that if these guys and girls get a good start next year, I think it will be fun. But I sure don't want to change the number plate on my bike."

--Sizewise: While many Pro Stock Motorcycle riders must shave weight from their machines to approach the minimum weight of 600 pounds with rider, Angelle Seeling faces a unique problem.

She is just 5-foot-1, 100 pounds, so the Star Racing team must add nearly 70 pounds of lead to her Suzuki GSXR to make weight. Lead is bolted everywhere on the bike frame. Even the foot pegs where Seeling places her feet during a run are filled with lead.

"It's an advantage in some ways or a disadvantage in others," Seeling said of her weight. "It's a disadvantage because I don't have as much weight as some of these heavier guys.

"Take Rick Ward, for example. He's got a 200-pound body driving his bike. If he veers toward the wall, he just leans a little bit and pulls it back. If I do, and I lean over, the bike just laughs at me and keeps going toward the wall. So I have to use so much more of my body weight and fight it so much more."

But there is one big advantage to Seeling's petite frame.

"I'm so small on the motorcycle that there's no wind resistance," Seeling said. "When I tuck in, I've had fans and the NHRA Safety Safari say the bike comes down track, and there's no one on it."

--Performance prediction: It's almost certain the elapsed-time track record for Pro Stock Motorcycle at Pomona Raceway will fall during this event, John Myers said.

Myers set the record of 7.496 seconds during the 1995 Winston Select Finals.

"The bikes are going a lot quicker than last year," Myers said. "It looks like we're about a tenth quicker. So if the weather permits, I think you can see a high .30, and I'd love to be the guy to do it."

--Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 24, one of only two professional qualifying sessions held on a Thursday this season. Qualifying will continue with a session at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25, and finish with sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 26. Final eliminations start at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 27. Sportsman competition starts at 8 a.m. Oct. 24.

--Tickets: Tickets are available for the Winston Select Finals. Call NHRA at (818) 914-4761 for ticket information. Tickets also can be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets throughout Southern California. To order through Ticketmaster, call (213) 480-3232, (714) 740-2000, (805) 583-8700 or (619) 220-TIXS. Ticketmaster online information can be obtained on the World Wide Web at http://www.ticketmaster.com.

--On TV: The Nashville Network (TNN) will televise 60 minutes of live final -round competition from the Winston Select Finals at 4:30 p.m. (PST) Oct. 27 . TNN will televise the Budweiser Classic live from 4-5 p.m. (PDT) Oct. 26.

--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, driver biographies, audio files and video clips. -30-

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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