Pro Stock notebook (PRO/BIKE)

>From: NHRA Communications FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE NOTEBOOK --Trailblazer: Angelle Seeling became the first woman to win a Pro Stock...

>From: NHRA Communications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE NOTEBOOK

--Trailblazer: Angelle Seeling became the first woman to win a Pro Stock Motorcycle title at a NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series national event with her victory at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals earlier this month at Reading, Pa.

"It's unbelievable," said Seeling, 26, a registered nurse. "This is an awesome feeling."

Seeling, from Americus, Ga., is the fifth woman to win a professional title at a national event. The others are Top Fuel drivers Shirley Muldowney, Lucille Lee, Lori Johns and Shelly Anderson.

--Record run: Angelle Seeling set a NHRA elapsed-time national record of 7.373 seconds on the Star Performance Parts Suzuki GSXR at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals.

Seeling, from Americus, Ga., broke the record of 7.386 set by Dave Schultz at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in March 1996 at Gainesville, Fla. Seeling earned $2,000 from the MBNA World Record Club.

"I didn't even think a record or a win would be possible this weekend," Seeling said. "I didn't even know what I had to do for the record. This was an incredible learning experience."

--The quickest: The final of the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals between Angelle Seeling and Dave Schultz was the quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle race in NHRA history.

Seeling finished at 7.373 seconds, Schultz 7.470. The previous quickest race came at the Pennzoil Nationals in May 1996 at Richmond, Va., where John Myers finished at 7.422 and Schultz at 7.449.

--High praise: Just about everyone who watched the Pro Stock Motorcycle final at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals 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."

--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."

--Nerves: Matt Hines insists that his stomach doesn't churn nearly as much in races against Pro Stock Motorcycle titans Dave Schultz and John Myers as it does against first-round opponents, who almost always are slower qualifiers.

"I probably have more butterflies in my stomach in the first round of eliminations than I do in the final round," Hines said.

--Performance prediction: The elapsed-time national record for Pro Stock Motorcycle at Heartland Park Topeka is 7.534 seconds, but don't expect that to last very long, Matt Hines said.

"I'd say somebody will probably break into the 40's," Hines said.

John Myers set the record at the 1995 Sears Craftsman Nationals.

--Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. Sept. 27 and is followed by a night-qualifying session at 7 p.m. that evening. Qualifying ends with sessions at noon and 4 p.m. Sept. 28, with final eliminations starting at 11 a.m. Sept. 29. Sportsman competition starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 26.

--Tickets: Tickets are available for the Sears Craftsman Nationals. Call (800) 43-RACES for ticket information. Tickets also can be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets.

--On TV: The Nashville Network (TNN) will televise 60 minutes of live final-round competition from the Sears Craftsman Nationals at 5 p.m. (CDT) Sept. 29.

--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 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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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Matt Hines , Shelly Anderson , Lori Johns