Big name entries added to Rockingham

Big Name Late Entries Added to Next Weekend's Nicko's NY Style Pizza Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway Gary Densham, John and Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Cory McClenathan Join Already Impressive eMax Drag Racing Series Nitro Fields NORWALK,...

Big Name Late Entries Added to Next Weekend's Nicko's NY Style Pizza Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway

Gary Densham, John and Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Cory McClenathan Join Already Impressive eMax Drag Racing Series Nitro Fields

NORWALK, Ohio (April 14, 2006) -- Gary Densham enjoyed his first IHRA event so much he is coming back for more in Rockingham, N.C. Densham, who won the Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car Ironman at the eMax Drag Racing Series season opener at San Antonio Raceway, will look to drive his Racebricks '05 Monte Carlo to a second straight victory at the Nicko's NY Style Pizza Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway April 21-23.

"I had such a great time in San Antonio, and winning the race made it even better," Densham said. "I would like to run all the eMax events, but I can't this season. Hopefully we can come to Rockingham and win some more money. I think we have just as good a chance as anyone to win, and that's what we're setting out to do."

Rhonda Hartman-Smith is making her return to competition after taking last season off for the birth of her son, Dylan. Hartman-Smith has three career eMax Drag Racing Series national event victories, has appeared in seven career final rounds and has finished as high as second in world championship points standings (to Doug Herbert in 1995). Hartman-Smith, who will field the Hartman Enterprises Craftsman Tools dragster, was the runner up at the IHRA World Finals in Rockingham, falling to Clay Millican to close out the 2003 season.

"After taking the time off to have Dylan I have wanted to get back in the car," Hartman-Smith said. "I bought a bunch of new parts I want to test. Rockingham Dragway is one of my favorite IHRA tracks, so I figured I could go out, test and compete at the same time."

Rhonda's husband John Smith, IHRA's 2003 "Rookie of the Year" will come to Rockingham to make his Nitro Funny Car debut in his Paul Smith Racing Craftsman Tools entry. After competing in Top Fuel during the 2005 NHRA season, he sees this as a fitting track to make his entry into Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car competition.

"We've always done pretty well at Rockingham, so it feels good knowing we'll be returning," said Smith. "I've grew up around Rockingham over the years and raced with my Dad there in the late 70s. It's always been a dream of mine to race Nitro Funny Car, and I'm happy to see that dream come true at Rockingham."

Cory McClenathan will also make the trip to Rockingham, bringing his Carrier Boyz FRAM Boost Top Fuel Dragster. McClenathan, who raced at the past two IHRA events at Norwalk Raceway Park, finished as runner up to Clay Millican at the 2005 Skull Gear World Nationals.

"I love to run IHRA when we can. If it were up to me, I would race every weekend," said McClenathan. "It's a lot of fun and the fans are always good to us at Rockingham. I heard Rhonda will be returning to competition, so it'll be nice to compete with her, Millican, and the rest of the Top Fuel field."

While happy to return to IHRA racing, McClenathan suffered a major wreck during his last Top Fuel race at Rockingham in 1993.

"I've had a checkered past at Rockingham," said McClenathan. "I crashed pretty hard there in '93 and ended up in the burn center for a few days. I have been back since, but not in a Top Fuel dragster, so it'll be an interesting weekend from that perspective."

-ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Doug Herbert , Clay Millican , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Gary Densham , Cory McClenathan , Paul Smith