Billy Huff, Bunny Burkett stories

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications (423) 764-1164 June 13, 1997 President's Cup Release ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications (423) 764-1164

June 13, 1997

President's Cup Release #2 Huff looking for a win in IHRA Pro Stock return

BUDDS CREEK, Md. -- Now that Billy Huff has all the formality of those 'we're glad you're back handshakes' out of the way, he can get down to business. It's been over two years since he visited victory lane. That'll be top priority as the IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series visits Maryland International Raceway this weekend (June 20-22) for the 6th annual Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals. Huff, who took nearly a two year leave-of-absence from IHRA to pursue other racing opportunities, is glad to be home. In his official return to IHRA mountain motor Pro Stock racing at the recent Spring Nationals, the two-time IHRA Pro Stock champ had little trouble returning to competitive form. He established a new Bristol Dragway elapsed time track record (6.79 seconds), was the division's top qualifier and advanced to the final round before losing to Angelo Alesci on a holeshot. Huff says he didn't expect to come back with such a bang. "Honestly, I was very concerned with just making the race," he said. "After my first and second qualifying attempts were pretty bad I was extremely concerned. But on that third pass it felt really smooth. I knew I was in the program. But when I found out it was a new track record I was stunned." The Shepherdsville, Ky. driver says MIR is one of his favorite racetracks, and that should help in his quest to add to his 10 IHRA career victories this weekend. "At Budds Creek you can really run some numbers," said Huff, a winner at MIR in 1994. "There's always good air there, so the potential to set some records will be great, especially in the nighttime qualifying session." Saturday's Maryland Lottery Night of Fire qualifying session traditionally produces big numbers -- both on the racing surface and in the stands. Budds Creek fans are known throughout the drag racing world for their intense love of side-by-side doorslammer racing. With IHRA's Pro Stock, Pro Modified and Top Sportsman categories, MIR's fans will have a supercharged plate full of nitrous-injected fun. "That's one thing that you can count on when you go to the Creek," said Huff, whose red 1997 Pontiac Firebird is sponsored by Auto Ventshade and Ohio Valley Raceway. "The fans there are outrageous. They really get into what we're doing. Plus, they're very knowledgeable about drag racing. It's definitely a lot of fun to race there." In other professional categories, Ashland, Va.'s Scott Weis will attempt to build on his Alcohol Funny Car points lead while Todd Tutterow of Lewisville, N.C. remains on top in Pro Modified by 40 points over Spring Nationals winner Rickie Smith. Special exhibition features will include "Hell on Wheels," the wheel-standing tank, as well as 300 mile per hour jet dragsters "Chicago Rush" and "Damn Yankee." Eight divisions of sportsman competition will complete the event. Maryland International Dragway is located on State Route 234, seven miles east of US 301. (-end-)

President's Cup Release #3 Cannon is sticking with nitrous combination

BUDDS CREEK, Md. -- Scotty Cannon is determined to make his new nitrous combination work. So determined, in fact, that he's resisting the urge to bolt his supercharger back on the engine in his 1941 Willys. That would be the easy fix. Cannon and his Cannonball Racing Team have decided to use the new nitrous combination during the remaining 1997 IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series. The third of eight national events will take place this weekend (June 20-22) at Maryland International Raceway. Cannon, who qualified 15th and lost in the second round to Tommy Mauney at Bristol's Spring Nationals, will look to improve on his performance at the 6th annual Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals, Maryland's only sanctioned professional drag race. "We had a few problems at Bristol, but we found what was going on at a recent test session at Darlington," said Cannon, five-time and defending IHRA Pro Modified World Champion. "We run a combination for Budds Creek that's close to what we run at Darlington, and we went pretty fast there during that test. I think we'll be OK." Cannon has won three times at MIR, including victories in 1992, '93 and last year. He won all of those races with a supercharged motor. With as many as 55 Pro Mods trying to qualify for 16 spots, it seems the temptation for Cannon to revert to the blown engine might be great in a desparation attempt to qualify for the race. The Lyman, S.C. racer owns the track record at MIR in Pro Mod at 6.418 seconds at 219.13 mph. He set those performance marks last year with the blown engine. However, he says come rain or shine, he's sticking with nitrous oxide. "We've made up our minds," Cannon said. "We're going to run the nitrous motor and make it work. If we made a change, we wouldn't learn anything. We haven't used all our power yet. We're still trying to figure some things out. We'll be OK." Cannon says he enjoys racing at Budds Creek because the fans there are so doorslammer crazy. It's that kind of interest that has thrust Pro Modified into the limelight in drag racing. Cannon says the possibility of 60-65 cars showing up at an IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series event in the near future isn't out of the question. "It's definitely on an uphill swing," Cannon said. "Most divisions start to fade away after about 6-7 years. This category is just starting to smoke." Top Pro Mod contenders Cannon will have to battle to win a fourth Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals includes current points leader Todd Tutterow, Spring Nationals winner Rickie Smith, 1995 IHRA Pro Mod World Champion Tommy Mauney and season-opening Winter Nationals winner Shannon Jenkins. In other professional categories, Ashland, Va.'s Scott Weis will attempt to build on his Alcohol Funny Car points lead while New Orleans racer Richie Stevens maintains a 100 point lead over Spring Nationals winner Angelo Alesci in Pro Stock. Special exhibition features will include "Hell on Wheels," the wheel-standing tank, as well as 300 mile per hour jet dragsters "Chicago Rush" and "Damn Yankee." Eight divisions of sportsman competition will complete the event. Maryland International Dragway is located on State Route 234, seven miles east of US 301. (-end-)

President's Cup Release #4 Burkett makes IHRA return at President's Cup

BUDDS CREEK, Md. -- Bunny Burkett couldn't think of a better place to make her return to IHRA Snap-on Tools drag racing. She picked a track that's close to her Sterling, Va. home, and close to her heart. Burkett missed all of last season while she continued to recover from life-threatening injuries suffered as the result of a September 1995 crash at Pennsylvania's Beaver Springs Dragway. In a match race with Carl Ruth, Burkett swerved her Dodge Daytona after brief contact with Ruth's machine, which crossed the center-line during the run. Burkett then lost control of her famous pink flopper, which slid uncontrollably through the grass and into a thick wooded area. It took 14-hours of surgery to repair Burkett's broken body, and even more time for the healing process. However, after a more than a year of physical therapy, Burkett is back. She'll make her official return to IHRA competition at the 6th annual Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals, June 20-22 at Maryland International Raceway. The race is the third of eight national events on the IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series. "I'm just glad that I can get back in a race car and be an inspiration to all of my loyal and devoted fans," Burkett said. "Plus, I wanted to wait and make my return at one of my favorite tracks. (MIR Promoter) Royce Miller and his staff have been so good to me over the years. I know it will be an emotional time for me." During Burkett's recovery Maryland International Raceway played a big part in helping her raise funds to build a new race car. One example was a special 'Bunny Benefit' Alcohol Funny Car race, where the track donated a portion of the gate and most of the racers contributed their appearance and win money to her recovery fund. Last season, while she continued her recovery, she was a familiar face on the IHRA Snap-on Tools tour, selling souvenirs, talking with fans and signing autographs. "I really appreciate IHRA for allowing me the opportunity to keep my regular parking spot at the national events," Burkett said. "While that was a lot of fun, I'm really looking forward to getting back in the car and going racing." In other professional categories, Lewisville, N.C.'s Todd Tutterow holds a 40 point lead in Pro Modified over Rickie Smith while New Orleans racer Richie Stevens maintains a 100 point lead over Spring Nationals winner Angelo Alesci in Pro Stock. Special exhibition features will include "Hell on Wheels," the wheel-standing tank, as well as 300 mile per hour jet dragsters "Chicago Rush" and "Damn Yankee." Eight divisions of sportsman competition will complete the event. Maryland International Dragway is located on State Route 234, seven miles east of US 301. (-end-)

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Series Drag
Drivers Bunny Burkett , Scott Weis , Scotty Cannon , Angelo Alesci , Shannon Jenkins , Rickie Smith