IHRA News 97-05-28 (part 1)

For Immediate Release Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications (423) 764-1164 May 28, 1997 Romine hoping to add to Top Fuel Points lead at Spring Nationals BRISTOL, Tenn. -- It's been 15 years since Top Fuel driver Paul...

For Immediate Release Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications (423) 764-1164

May 28, 1997

Romine hoping to add to Top Fuel Points lead at Spring Nationals

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- It's been 15 years since Top Fuel driver Paul Romine took a trip down the quarter-mile at Bristol Dragway. But if his return to Thunder Valley is as eventful as his powerful display at the IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series season-opening Winter Nationals at Darlington International Dragway, fans just might be in for one gigantic thrill ride at the Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals presented by Parts Pro, June 6-8. Romine, 49, made a major statement in his quest for the IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series World Championship by opening the 1997 season with an impressive Top Fuel victory over legendary Shirley Muldowney. Included in Romine's victory parade were several performance notations: He became the first IHRA Top Fuel competitor in history to run three consecutive four-second passes during final eliminations; became the first IHRA Top Fuel driver to record a 4.8-second (4.855) run; and established a new IHRA Top Fuel elapsed time world record (4.911 seconds) in the process. The weekend was one he won't soon forget. "We were really fortunate to do all those things and are really proud of all our accomplishments," said Romine, owner of the Indianapolis-based Dealer Engine Sales, a remanufacturer of Ford products. "But we're also very sensitive to the fact that just because the Drag Racing Gods are shining on you one weekend, you are real subject to take a big tumble. We know we could go to Bristol and fall on our face. There's drivers like Doug Herbert, Shirley Muldowney, Jim Bailey, Danny Dunn and a host of others that can step up at any time and do the same thing we did at Darlington. While we're pleased with the Darlington performance, this is a brand new race." With legendary Top Fuel driver and tuner Clayton Harris calling the shots in the pits, Romine will be looking to extend his IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series points lead with a strong showing at Bristol. He would like to add another trophy to his collection. "We nicknamed the trophy we got at Darlington 'Peetie'," Romine said with a laugh. "Everytime I walk by 'Peetie' I pat him on the head. He needs a friend." Romine campaigned a front-engine dragster in 1996, participating with the Goodguys Nostalgia Top Fuel Circuit. He won four of seven races, became the first driver to eclipse the six-second barrier (5.966) in a front-engine dragster and finished second in the championship standings, -- four points behind title winner Bill Dunlap. He says making the transition to a rear-engine dragster has been relatively easy. "I learned a lot in the front-engine car," Romine said. "There were things that I could see and feel happening in the front-engine car, that now I can translate those feelings into mental pictures with the rear-engine car. That has really helped." The last time Romine competed at Bristol he drove a nitro Funny Car. He said if there's one thing he's missed during his hiatus from the sport, it's been those memorable trips to Northeast Tennessee. "Bristol's a great place," Romine said. "I used to love to race down there. The people are a lot of fun, the track is fun and the setting is absolutely perfect. I mean, you have to drive around the side of a hill in the shut down area. There's absolutely no place like Bristol. It's a perfect deal, with a lot of drag racing history. It's going to be a whole lot of fun."

GENERAL INFORMATION

* Schedule: Professional qualifying for the Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals by Parts Pro will start at 13:20 p.m. Friday, June 6. Top Fuel dragsters will make their only appearance of the day to start the second round of professional qualifying at 3:30 p.m. Saturday's qualifying program will feature the final two sessions for all four professional divisions, at 1 p.m., and the traditional 'Night of Fire' program at 8 p.m. Final eliminations begin Sunday at 12 p.m. (noon).

* Tickets: Tickets are available for the Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals by Parts Pro. Regular admission prices include Friday $12; Saturday $30; and Sunday $30. All tickets include pit pass. A special two-day ticket is also available $50 (Saturday & Sunday). Children 12 and under free with a paying adult. For additional ticket information call (423) 764-1164.

* On TV: The Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals by Parts Pro will be televised tape-delay by ESPN2 on June 28 at 3:30 p.m., and July 1 at 8:30 p.m. Sportsman coverage of the event will precede both telecasts (June 28 at 3 p.m., and July 1 at 8 p.m.).

*** Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series ***

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Doug Herbert , Shirley Muldowney