FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Motorsports December 8, 1997 Rocca earns Pro Modified title at Snowbird Nationals BRISTOL, Tenn. -- IHRA Pro Modified competitor Johnny Rocca finished the 1997 season with an impressive...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Motorsports
December 8, 1997
Rocca earns Pro Modified title at Snowbird Nationals
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- IHRA Pro Modified competitor Johnny Rocca finished the 1997 season with an impressive victory in the Snowbird Nationals at DeSoto Memorial Dragway in Bradenton, Fla. The early December race has become a popular wintertime escape for many drag racers, seeking a venue to test and tune or get some off-season competition. Rocca, of Leesburg, Va., drove his popular 1949 Mercury 'Ironhorse' to round victories over Ed Hoover and Quain Stott before nipping 'Tricky' Rickie Smith in a photo-finish final round. Rocca used a holeshot to get past Smith's 1963 Corvette, which ran a quicker 6.49 in the final. Rocca covered DeSoto's quarter-mile in a personal best 6.51 seconds at 211.83 miles per hour. "I've been on cloud nine since Sunday," Rocca said. "What a way to end the season. This team has worked so hard during the year and came up short so many times. We really needed this. Especially the way we got it. We beat two IHRA national event runners-up to get to the final and then beat a two-time IHRA national event winner in the final. It was hard coming from the number eight qualifying spot, but it turned out to be a great day." Rocca, one of many drivers expected to utilize the recently approved helix supercharger with 34-percent overdrive in 1998 IHRA Pro Modified competition, says he used last season's IHRA combination to get the win. Like many in the IHRA community, Rocca is excited about the prospect of returning to DeSoto Memorial Dragway for the 1998 season opener. "The track is excellent," he said. "Both lanes are fairly even. The facility has a lot of personality and will make a neat addition to IHRA's group of national event tracks. With the right weather conditions it will make one heck of a Winter Nationals." The season-opening IHRA Winter Nationals will be held at DeSoto Memorial Dragway on March 27-29.