Mid-Michigan Paul Romine Preview

Romine ready for points run at CARQUEST Northern Nationals INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s been a long road for Paul Romine to the point where he has built a championship racing team with corporate sponsorship. A year ago at the CARQUEST Northern ...

Romine ready for points run at CARQUEST Northern Nationals

INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s been a long road for Paul Romine to the point where he has built a championship racing team with corporate sponsorship. A year ago at the CARQUEST Northern Nationals, Paul Romine’s approach to racing changed. For the first time in his racing career, he secured major corporate sponsorship for his racing endeavor.

Romine, a native of Indianapolis, did not just come out of no-where in 1997 and take the IHRA Top Fuel class by storm, securing major corporate backing. Beginning in the late 1960s, Romine wheeled a gas dragster at tracks throughout the Midwest. >From there he progressed to campaign a mildly successful Top Fuel dragster and nitro Funny Car until 1981 when fire destroyed his family owned business back in Indianapolis. Faced with going drag racing full-time for a living or selling his racing assets and becoming a full-time businessman, Romine chose the latter and retired from drag racing, focusing on rebuilding his family business.

By 1996, Romine rebuilt his business, Dealers Engines Sales, to the point where he was able to return to drag racing without taking time away from his commitments at DES. He returned to the sport, teaming with innovative nitro wizard Clayton Harris to field a nostalgia Top Fuel dragster. The duo recorded the first 5-second elapsed time for the class in Morocco, IN. and dominated the class at practically event they attended. Despite their domination, a hectic traveling schedule which saw the duo traveling to the West Coast nine times forced Romine and Harris to make the switch to conventional Top Fuel competition.

Just as they did a year earlier, Romine and Harris began a new venture together in 1997 and made it look easy. In their Top Fuel debut together at the 1997 IHRA Winter Nationals in Darlington, S.C., they won the event and made history along the way. Romine became the first IHRA Top Fuel competitor to record all 4-second elapsed times in eliminations and he recorded the first 4.8-second time in IHRA Top Fuel competition, a 4.855 clocking en-route to his first career IHRA national event win.

From Darlington Romine suffered a set-back at the IHRA Spring Nationals in Bristol, TN., surviving a Top Fuel blow-over, but that did not stop him. By the CARQUEST Northern Nationals in Stanton, MI., Romine used his successful business techniques on the drag strip along with the magic of Clayton Harris ’ tuning abilities to secured major backing from CARQUEST Auto Parts. With CARQUEST sponsorship, Romine finished the 1997 IHRA season appearing in the final four IHRA Top Fuel finals, which he won three, wrapping up the 1997 IHRA Snap-on Drag Racing Top Fuel World Championship.

Again in 1998, CARQUEST and Romine have set their sights on a IHRA Top Fuel Championship. Since smoking the tires and losing in the opening round of the IHRA season opening Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals in Bradenton, FL., Romine has appeared in last three IHRA Top Fuel final rounds. Factor in their 1997 success, Romine and CARQUEST have been in an incredible seven of the last eight IHRA Top Fuel final rounds, winning five of them.

Romine lost in his first two final round appearances this season at the Southern Nationals in Darlington, SC. and the Summer Nationals in Cordova, Ill., but at the most recent IHRA national event in Leicester, NY., the CARQUEST Empire Nationals, he returned to the winners circle for the first time since last season’s IHRA Snap-on Finals.

Entering the CARQUEST Northern Nationals, July 31 - Aug 2, at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex in Stanton, MI., Romine is just 310 points behind points leader Tommy Johnson, Jr., and he is poised to make a mid-season points move similar to what he did in 1997.

“Last year at Stanton, we came into the event knowing a win was necessary in order to stay in the Top Fuel points chase,” Romine said. “Luckily Shirley Muldowney, whom we were chasing, did not qualify and we made some points up on her, making it to the final where I screwed up (red-lighted) and threw away a win.”

“This season we entering the CARQUEST Northern Nationals in a similar situation. We've slowly been making up ground on Tommy in the points standing, but we really need to get up there in the lead. If Tommy goes out early and we are fortunate enough to pick up a win or earn a runner-up, we can leave with the points lead.”

Romine, Harris, and the CARQUEST team will get their first qualifying shot at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex 1/4-mile, Friday, July 31st at 4 p.m. (EDT). Qualifying continues Saturday, August 1st at 12 noon with the final session of qualifying scheduled at 7 p.m. Final eliminations begin Sunday, August 2nd at 12 noon.

Ticket information for the CARQUEST Northern Nationals can be obtained by calling the Mid-Michigan Motorplex office at (517) 762-5043 or call IHRA at (419) 663-6666. ESPN2 will televise the CARQUEST Northern Nationals on a taped-delayed basis at a later date. Check your local listings for dates and times.

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Shirley Muldowney , Tommy Johnson