Darlington Snap-on Finals preview

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications More information: (423) 764-1164 Sept. 19, 1997 Former teammates battle for Pro Modified world championship DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Two years ago Shannon Jenkins ...

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

Sept. 19, 1997

Former teammates battle for Pro Modified world championship

DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Two years ago Shannon Jenkins turned the wrenches for Tommy Mauney, helping the Shelby, N.C. racer end Scotty Cannon's reign as Snap-on Tools World Champion in Pro Modified. In an ironic twist of fate, this weekend (Sept. 25-28) at Darlington International Dragway, Mauney and Jenkins will be going head-to-head, battling for the right to carry the number one in the division for 1998. Mauney holds a 150-point lead over Jenkins entering the second annual Snap-on Finals, the ninth and final event on the IHRA Snap-on Tools Championship Drag Racing Series. Mauney says the championship coming down to the wire at Darlington is a primary example of how tight Pro Modified has been all season long. "I can't wait until this thing is over," says Mauney, also one of the top chassis builders in drag racing. "This thing is too close to call. It's been tight like this all year. All of these cars are so equal, the first person who slips is going to be the one wishing he had another chance. I just hope we're the one holding the trophy when it's all over." While Mauney and Jenkins aren't working toward the same goal like they were in 1995, they're still very good friends and have been known to help each other out and trade information from time to time. However, no matter how close the two drivers are off the racetrack, if the championship comes down to a final round duel, they'll race hard to the finish and let the best man win. "We've both worked real hard this season and it's a shame that it has come to this," Mauney said. "But we're going to Darlington and try to win the race and let the championship fall where it may. Unfortunately there can only be one IHRA Pro Mod Champion." Jenkins agrees. "We're going to do everything we can to win the race and the championship," said Jenkins, who finished second to Cannon in the 1996 championship chase in a day-long scramble at Darlington that ended when Cannon beat Jenkins in the final round of the inaugural Snap-on Finals. "Tommy has been a good friend and it's tough to have to race him for the championship. But if I can't win it, I definitely want Tommy to win it. I'm sure he feels the same way about me." Mauney has won two races this season, including the recent Prolong Super Lubricants / Ohio Lottery World Nationals presented by Ethanol Performs, IHRA's marquee event. Jenkins, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., has won three times, including the season-opening Winter Nationals, also held at Darlington International Dragway. Mauney's lead is a result of driving his nitrous-injected 1963 Corvette to a new IHRA Pro Modified speed world record of 219.61 mph at the World Nationals. Jenkins, who drives Mauney's 1995 championship winning 1941 Willys, has been hampered by two non-qualifying efforts during the season. Still in the battle, some 630 points behind, is Rickie Smith, a two-time winner this season. For Smith to have a chance at the Snap-on Tools Pro Mod World Championship, both Mauney and Jenkins will need to have less than spectacular outings. Champions will also be crowned in three other professional categories, including Top Fuel, Pro Stock and Alcohol Funny Car. Eight classes of sportsman competition will complete the event. Winners will also be determined in 10 bonus shootout programs for various IHRA race categories. In addition to the 12 regular IHRA divisions, there will also be special exhibition runs by two 300 mile per hour jet dragsters and Top Fuel Harley Davidson motorcycles. Darlington International Dragway is located six miles west of Darlington on Hwy. 151. GENERAL INFORMATION

*SCHEDULE -- First round of sportsman qualifying will be 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25. There will also be one round of professional qualifying Thursday, starting at 3:30 p.m. Qualifying continues Friday, with one round of sportsman and professional qualifying. The first round of Top Fuel qualifying starts Friday at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying will conclude Saturday for all divisions with the Night of Fire program, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Final eliminations begin Sunday at 12 noon.

* TICKETS -- Tickets are available for the Snap-on Finals. All tickets include free pit pass. Ticket prices are Thursday $10; Friday $10; Saturday $30; and Sunday $30. A special two-day pass for Saturday and Sunday is available for $55. For additional ticket information call 800-622-0123 or 423-764-1164.

*ON TV -- The Snap-on Finals will be televised tape-delay by ESPN2. Professional race coverage will be shown Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. and again on Oct. 25 at 3:30 a.m. Half-hour sportsman coverage will precede each professional show.

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Series Drag
Drivers Scotty Cannon , Shannon Jenkins , Rickie Smith