ROCKINGHAM, NC -- October 18, 2003 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith, driver of the FRAM Filters Top Fuel Dragster, ran against IHRA Top Fuel Champion, Clay Millican, in the final round of Top Fuel eliminations at the 33rd annual IHRA Spring Nationals at...
ROCKINGHAM, NC -- October 18, 2003 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith, driver of the FRAM Filters Top Fuel Dragster, ran against IHRA Top Fuel Champion, Clay Millican, in the final round of Top Fuel eliminations at the 33rd annual IHRA Spring Nationals at the Rockingham Dragway.
Hartman-Smith made a quick, clean run down the track in 4.707-seconds at 313.15 mph but lost to Millican, who took the win light with a 4.653-second elapsed time at 309.34 mph.
"The team and I were proud to showcase the FRAM Filters Top Fueler in its first final round in Top Fuel competition," comments Hartman-Smith. "It's been six years since our last final round match-up and we're confident about tomorrow's race."
Hartman-Smith defeated 18-year-old Josh Starcher earlier today during round one of Top Fuel eliminations with a 4.703-second elapsed time at 308.64 mph over Starcher's 5.177-second elapsed time at 204.48 mph. She continued on to her second semifinal round match-up of the season against Ken Zeal. Although Zeal ran a quicker elapsed time (4.814-seconds at 281.09 mph to Hartman-Smith's 5.132-second elapsed time at 265.95 mph), he was disqualified because his back tire crossed the center line at the 1,000 foot mark.
Rhonda became the "Quickest Female on Earth" earlier this season at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Chicago, Illinois where she ran a 4.56-second elapsed time. She recently re-established her title at the CARQUEST NHRA Nationals (also in Chicago) with a 4.523-second elapsed time.
Rhonda competed against fellow teammate and husband, John "Bodie" Smith, four times this season during Top Fuel elimination rounds at four NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events. Rhonda and her FRAM Filters sponsored Top Fuel Dragster have a thee-to-one lead over John's Prestone Products-backed ride. Both drivers have secured positions in the prestigious NHRA Top 10 points standings in the Top Fuel category - Rhonda is currently in the number ten position and John holds the number eight spot.
The "Top Fuel Couple" are no strangers to IHRA final round competition. John participated in two IHRA Hooters Racing Series semifinal and final round eliminations, both against the reining IHRA champion, Clay Millican. Rhonda competed in (and won) her first IHRA race event, the IHRA Inaugural Race in Steel, Alabama in 1994 and became the first female and youngest driver to win a national event. She continued on to win an additional IHRA race that year in Tulsa, Oklahoma and clenched the IHRA Rookie of the Year title. She earned additional NHRA titles in Darlington, South Carolina and runner up in Bristol, Tennessee in 1995. She set the track speed record (299.90 mph) in Bristol, Tennessee in 1996 and earned a runner-up position at the IHRA race in Cordova, Illinois in 1997.
Hartman Motorsports is a family owned and operated automotive race team competing on the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) circuits in the Top Fuel category. Virgil Hartman is the team owner and tuner on both team-owned Top Fuel Dragsters. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Virgil's daughter, drives the FRAM Filters Top Fuel Dragster while John "Bodie" Smith (Rhonda's husband) drives the Prestone Products Top Fuel Dragster.