Top drag racing stars eye Houston event HOUSTON (Jan. 7) - The best Pro Stock drag racers in the world will once again descend on Houston Raceway Park in Baytown on Saturday, Feb. 5, for the 13th annual Pontiac Pro Stock SuperBowl.
Top drag racing stars eye Houston event
HOUSTON (Jan. 7) - The best Pro Stock drag racers in the world will once again descend on Houston Raceway Park in Baytown on Saturday, Feb. 5, for the 13th annual Pontiac Pro Stock SuperBowl. The traditional big money race caps preseason testing for the National Hot Rod Association's brightest stars, who begin the 2005 POWERade Drag Racing Series the following week in Pomona, Calif.
Six-time world champ Warren Johnson, the most prolific Pro Stock racer in history with 92 national event wins, is the defending SuperBowl champion. The 61-year-old driver of the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am, who is widely known in drag racing circles as "The Professor of Pro Stock," is retiring from driving after 2005. His final year has been dubbed the "School's Out" tour, which begins with the Pontiac SuperBowl.
"The Pontiac Pro Stock SuperBowl is the first venue of the season where everyone gets together and tests under the same conditions, which allows you the opportunity to get a scorecard on the competition," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, the track and the conditions are so darn fast that it can give you a false sense of security.
"A few years ago numerous people made the first-ever runs in the 6.7-second range at this event, with career bests being set on virtually every pass. Two weeks later we raced in Pomona and six or eight of those cars didn't even qualify. Simply put, you can't take the tuning information from here and use it in Pomona, Phoenix, or even Gainesville. It's great for the ego to run that fast, but in reality it doesn't do a lot to help you get ready for the start of the regular season.
"However, it is still a competition, the first time we actually get to race, and any time there is a car in the other lane, you want to get to the finish line first. It's also important to put on a good show for the fans. They get a kick out of watching these Pro Stock cars fly, and we don't want to disappoint them, so we always go to Houston to win."
Former SuperBowl winners include two-time series champ Jim Yates, Texan Bruce Allen of Arlington, Allen Johnson, and Tom Martino. In addition to the top Pro Stock stars, many Pro Stock Bike and Pro Mod racers use the event to test their hot rods.
As an added bonus, this year's SuperBowl will mark the official public debut of Houston's own Erica Enders, who will become just the fifth woman ever top compete in Pro Stock. Enders, a student at Texas A&M, was the subject of the Disney Channel's most successful movie ever -- Right On Track -- two years ago after she completed her extremely successful Jr. Dragster racing career.
The title sponsorship of this event by Pontiac, the official car of Houston Raceway Park and NHRA, ensures that the very best drivers will participate as teams perfect their tune-ups prior to the season-opening 45th CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals on Feb. 10-13.
"Pontiac is delighted to be returning to Houston Raceway Park for what has become an ongoing preseason tradition in our sport," said Fred Simmonds, GM Racing group manager drag racing. "This is an exciting time of year for our sport. The slate is wiped clean and the competitors are ready to go. For the racers and their teams, the Pontiac Pro Stock SuperBowl provides a final opportunity to make adjustments before we begin counting points at Pomona. The fans are also treated to great times, fast speeds, and a chance to see some of the best drivers in the business."
Gates will open at 8 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, with time trials beginning at 9 a.m. There will be two rounds of qualifying at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. with eliminations beginning at 2 p.m. Tickets for the Pontiac Pro Stock SuperBowl are $18 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under and may be purchased at the gate or online at HoustonRaceway.com. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Pontiac Motorsports hat and a 2005 Pontiac Motorsports NHRA magnetic event calendar.
Houston Raceway Park is located off Interstate 10 East in Baytown. Fans should take the Hwy. 146 exit (No. 797) and turn right. Proceed to the first stop light, which is FM 565, and turn left. Houston Raceway Park is three miles down on the left.