Jim Bailey Ready for Rockingham

ROCKINGHAM, N.C., April 3, 2000 - When Jim Bailey began this International Hot Rod Association season, he established a couple goals. "First," he said, "I wanted to qualify for every race. Second, I don't want to lose in the first...

ROCKINGHAM, N.C., April 3, 2000 - When Jim Bailey began this International Hot Rod Association season, he established a couple goals. "First," he said, "I wanted to qualify for every race. Second, I don't want to lose in the first round." After one of 11 IHRA events, Bailey has met his goals. He'll try to make it two straight at his next outing, the Holley Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway, April 7-9. In the process, he wants to put to rest the demons that still trouble him about last year's Spring Nationals here. Bailey's Doug Herbert-owned Snap-on Racing Top Fuel dragster had problems during its only two qualifying runs and didn't make the eight-car field for eliminations. "The car smoked the tires on the first run and the blower belt came off on the second one when he was on a real good run," Herbert explained. While it hurt at the time, when the final race was run six months later, the pain was worse. "That hurt bad," said Bailey, from Mantua, Ohio. "Not qualifying there cost us the championship, for all intents and purposes." That's because Bailey had a career season in 1999. He won three races (Bradenton, Fla., Cordova, Ill., and Shreveport, La.), finished second once, to Herbert at the other Rockingham race in September, and was second behind Don Lampus in the standings. He also was the low qualifier on five occasions and became the only IHRA driver to run in the 4.60s with a 4.67-second blast at Darlington and a 4.69 at Rockingham last fall. "By not losing in the first round, I believe the wins will come our way," says Bailey, who has seven career IHRA Top Fuel victories. "I believe our Snap-on team is good enough to win races. We want to be consistent at every race. Ideally, what we want to do is do a little bit better than we did at our last Rockingham race." Herbert has bolstered Bailey's crew, adding veteran tuner Dave Settles to assist crew chief Sam Shockley as they chase the $200,000 championship bonus this year. Bailey enters the Spring Nationals fourth points with 75 following a semifinal showing at the Darlington, S.C., season-opener March 18. Bailey qualified second (4.841 seconds) and beat Shirley Muldowney in the opening round before losing to eventual race winner Paul Romine in the semi, .4884 to 4.932 seconds.

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Doug Herbert , Shirley Muldowney , Don Lampus