EPPING, NH (Sept. 6, 2000) -- It takes consistency and patience to win a championship in the IHRA Top Fuel racing division. Paul Romine and the CARQUEST Auto Parts team know this and are focused on adding a third championship in four years to...
EPPING, NH (Sept. 6, 2000) -- It takes consistency and patience to win a championship in the IHRA Top Fuel racing division. Paul Romine and the CARQUEST Auto Parts team know this and are focused on adding a third championship in four years to their belts as they lead the IHRA championship point standings with three IHRA events left. This weekend the team travels to Epping, NH and the IHRA Amalie Oil North American Nationals at New England Dragway.
"I want the championship this year more than ever," says Romine, who won championships in 1997 and 1998, before finishing fourth last season. "In 1997, we had a dream season, getting a corporate sponsor, setting records, and winning four events, that doesn't happen very often. In '98 we battle Tommy Johnson, Jr. down to the wire and attrition earn us that championship. This year it's just about solid performance and good driving on my part for us to win. It's a heavyweight fight and we don't plan on hitting the canvas."
The CARQUEST team, with driving provided by Romine and performance supplied by Clayton Harris, a former champion himself, enters this weekend's North American Nationals the points leaders and the event's defending champions. This season so far consistent performance has helped garner the CARQUEST team the points lead. Before a first round loss at the last IHRA event in Norwalk, Ohio, the CARQUEST team had been in three consecutive final rounds, winning one, along with a win at the season opening Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals in Darlington, SC. The first round loss at Norwalk was a blow to the CARQUEST team's points lead, but has not offset their goal of continuing toward a third championship and the $200,000 payout the champion gets at the end of the season.
"The key for us is to just focus on ourselves and no one else," Romine said. "We don't care who's in the other lane. All we know is we have to get down the track with every pass and not beat ourselves. That has gotten us the points lead to this point and is the key in keeping us atop the standings in the end. Running 4.6, then smoking the tires don't win championships. Running consistent 4.7s and 4.8s every pass and pulling the chutes with each run is our goal."
With three IHRA races remaining, Romine has 753 points to his closes challengers, Bruce Litton with 705 and Clay Millican with 690. A round win is worth 20 points while elapsed time and speed records are worth 5 points each. Oiling the track though will cost a competitor to lose points.
Top Fuel qualifying for the North American Nationals begins Friday, Sept. 8 with one qualifying pass at 12 noon. Qualifying continues Saturday, Sept. 9, with one pass at 1 p.m., then the "Night of Fire" at 6:50 p.m., featuring the final round of pro qualifying under the lights, two jet dragsters, wheel standers and in the legendary 200 mph Jet Kenworth truck of Bob Motz, plus a giant fireworks display. Eliminations are set to go off at 12 noon, Sunday, Sept. 10.
IHRA offers "Family Friendly" ticket pricing to provide affordable family entertainment. Adult general admission tickets are $20 Friday, $30 Saturday and Sunday. Children 6-12 are welcomed for only $5 daily and all tickets include FREE parking and pit pass as IHRA "opens their locker room to the public" for autographs and pictures. A three-day Super Pass, including a reserved seat is available for $70.
New England Dragway is located on Rt. 27 in Epping, New Hampshire. From I-95, take Exit 2 in New Hampshire. Follow Route 101 west nine miles to Route 27. From I-93, take Route 101 east to Exit 8. Turn left at the end of the ramp. From I-495, take Exit 51B to Route 125 North. Follow approximately 18 miles to Route 101 and go east to Exit 8.
To keep up to date with the CARQUEST Top Fuel team, check out TNN's television coverage every Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. ET. The CARQUEST Northern Nationals in which Paul Romine won last month will air this Sunday.