Darlington Great First Day Qualifying Performances

27th annual IHRA Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals Darlington International Dragway’s Annual Raw Horsepower Festival March 12 - 13 - 14 Darlington, SC IHRA Prolong Winter Nationals Completes First Day Of Qualifying, ...

27th annual IHRA Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals Darlington International Dragway’s Annual Raw Horsepower Festival March 12 - 13 - 14 Darlington, SC

IHRA Prolong Winter Nationals Completes First Day Of Qualifying, Lampus Leads Top Fuel

DARLINGTON, SC--- An exciting first day of qualifying at the 27th annual, IHRA Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals in Darlington, S.C., began in the early morning hours and concluded under the lights of Darlington International Dragway. In the hours between, nearly 500 professional and sportsman entries battled for qualifying positions for the three day championship drag racing event.

Texan Don Lampus poved to be the quickest driver of all of the race cars with an elapsed time of 4.744/303.78, which stands a new track record for the Top Fuel division. Steve Smith was second at a distant 4.811/299.93. Jim Bailey was third in the Snap-On Tools dragster with a conservative 5.161 elapsed time. Defending World Champion Paul Romine was eighth after the first session.

The two-wheeled kings of the sport, effectively known as the Screamin’ Eagle Top Fuel Harleys, were paced by Greensboro, N.C., based rider Jay Turner, who sped to a 6.791/205.66. Defending Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals runner-up Jamie Emery settled into the second spot with a 6.924/187.76. Orangeburg, S.C., native Bill Furr secured the third spot with a 6.980.

The Pro Alcohol Funny Car division saw Von Smith continue to flex his championship muscles with a 5.855/235.89 that edged out the superb effort of Melinda Green-King’s 5.889/235.68. Smith earlier announced a new associate sponsorship with Jensen, a manufacturer of high qaulity audio systems.

Pro Modified showed no signs of mediocrity with the absence of its winningest driver Scotty Cannon. Steve Vick stepped up and unleashed a 6.346 at over 217 mph in his nitrous-injected, 1968 Camaro to take the Pro Modified lead away from Johnny Rocca’s, Troy Critchley driven, 1949 Mercury that registered a 6.394/215.48 during the afternoon session. Fred Hahn, Al Billes and Gilbert, S.C., native Ed Hoover were in close proximity.

Pro Stock stands as the equivalent to Winston Cup racing. The first day of qualifying saw former world champion Jon Yoak take the early lead with a 6.625/210.11 in his Ford Probe. Another Ford, driven by Chris Holbrook, was the second quickest with a 6.651/206.51. The Chevrlet Monte Carlos of Steve Speiss (6.656/207.72), John Montecalvo (6.663/ 208.65), and Ron Miller (6.673/208.65)

The Super Eliminator division, which stands essentially as the dragster equivalent to the Pro Modified class, stood up to its exciting reputation as Larry Snyder clicked off an unheard of 6.087/221.23 in his 400-cubic inch, supercharged dragster. John Long was the second quickest qualifier with a 6.281/214.42. Defending World Champion Dave Price was third.

The Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals features 300 mph Top Fuel Dragsters, the incredible Top Fuel Screamin' Eagle Harleys, five second Alcohol Funny Cars, Mountain Motor Pro Stocks and the new Super Eliminator class. The Pro-Mods return to their Darlington birthplace, featuring an exotic combination of supercharged and alcohol-burning engines with vintage body styles. Qualifying and preliminary eliminations will continue for tommorrow.

Final eliminations are scheduled for Sunday. The track is located six miles west of Darlington on Hwy 151. Coverage of the event can be obtained on the World Wide Web at the IHRA web site (WWW.IHRA.COM).

Adult tickets are just $20 per day, with $5 tickets for children 6-12. The ticket price includes general admission seating, free parking and free pit pass. A 3-day "Superpass", including reserved seating is available. Coolers are welcome, however, no glass is permitted.

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Johnny Rocca , Steve Smith , Scotty Cannon , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Don Lampus , Al Billes , Troy Critchley , Von Smith , John Long