Rockingham Holley Spring Nationals Friday Report

Holley and "The Rock" Turn In A Thrilling First Day Performance At The IHRA Holley Spring Nationals ROCKINGHAM, NC-- It's been a while since the IHRA banner flew in Rockingham, N.C., but the legendary facility never missed a beat in the return...

Holley and "The Rock" Turn In A Thrilling First Day Performance At The IHRA Holley Spring Nationals

ROCKINGHAM, NC-- It's been a while since the IHRA banner flew in Rockingham, N.C., but the legendary facility never missed a beat in the return engagement. The IHRA and the hard working staff of Holley Performance Products teamed up to present the first day of qualifying for the IHRA Holley Spring Nationals before a capacity crowd. Favorable weather conditions and superb track conditions made the event an enjoyable one for those in attendance. The management and employees at Holley Performance could only smile as they knew that sponsorship of the event was a wise decision.

"The Holley Spring Nationals provides us with the perfect opportunity to showcase our support of IHRA drag racing in both the professional and sportsman level," explains Holley President Jeff King. "This allows us to bring out new products and innovations for drag racing and reach our target audience in one shot. Besides, we have the opportunity to be aligned with the triumphant return of IHRA racing to Rockingham."

The previous Holley-sponsored national event was hosted by Ohio Valley Raceway and entertained an all-sportsman contingent. The move to the Rockingham afforded the Bowling Green, Ky.,-based, corporation the chance to highlight all makes of racing vehicles ranging from the fire-spewing Top Fuel dragsters to the nitro-burning Harley-Davidsons to ever-popular Stock eliminator entries.

The highly-proclaimed, "Kings Of The Sport" were led by the defending Top Fuel World Champion Paul Romine. Romine, who pilots the CARQUEST Top Fuel Dragster, covered the asphalt 1320 in 4.747 seconds at over 295 miles per hour. The Texan Don Lampus was the second quickest entry on the premesis with a 4.866/292.39 lap. Luigi Novelli rounded out the top three with an engine-exploding 4.904/248.34. Veteran Top Fuel racer Shirley Muldowney, who was the first female driver in the popular category, was sixth with a 5.115.

The ever-popular, two-wheeled contingent known as the Screamin' Eagle Top Fuel Harley-Davidson Series presented by Crane had a familiar face at the top of the qualifying list. Jay Turner of nearby Whitsett, N.C., was the leader of the nitro bikes with a 6.677 elapsed time at over 206 miles per hour. Recent Amalie Oil Nationals titlist Doug Vancil was the first day's runner-up in qualifying with a 6.717/195.18. Another North Carolinian, Ray Price rounded out the top three with a distant 6.956 elapsed time.

Scott Weney was the quickest of the Pro Alcohol Funny Cars with a 6.030/233.28. He edged out defending World Champion Von Smith, who also carded a 6.030 elapsed time. The tale of the tape was a slower mile per hour of 229.53 for Smith. Both drivers carded their run during the first run against each other. Multi-time titlist Mark Thomas was third with a 6.044/232.61.

Two-time IHRA professional World Champion Tommy Mauney continued his bid to dominate Pro Modified during the first day of qualifying. The Shelby, N.C.,-based chassis builder blistered the field with a 6.434/218.87, a track record for Pro Modified. Steve Vick was second in an ex-Mauney 1968 Camaro with a 6.452/216.29 and that edged out the colorful performance of Tommy Gray's "Undertaker" 1953 Corvette, which cranked out a 6.466. Thirty-one entries made qualifying runs during the first day.

Drag racing's equivalent to Winston Cup is the Pro Stock division. However, IHRA rules stipulate that drivers must run large cubic-inch engines and Center Moriches, N.Y.,-based, veteran driver John Montecalvo pacified the rulesmakers as he pushed his 812-cubic inch, Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a 6.735/204.91. He led former class champion Jon Yoak, who posted a 6.769/206.37 in his Ford Probe. Ron Miller, Tim Nabors and Chris Holbrook rounded out the top five with a 6.791 or better run.

Super Eliminator, which is the open-bodied equivalent to Pro Modified, was paced by Larry Snyder's supercharged, 400-inch dragster with a 6.198/220.15. The nitrous-injected dragster of Dan Bandish was a near second with a 6.200 at a faster 223.71. Terry Munroe's radical altered, which has all the makings of a fuel altered minus the nitromethane, was third with a 6.283/207.90.

The IHRA Holley Spring Nationals hosted by Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, N.C., is the second of the 12-race IHRA/Snap-On Tools Drag Racing Series. This event features 300 mph Top Fuel Dragsters, the incredible Top Fuel Screamin' Eagle Harleys, five second Alcohol Funny Cars, Mountain Motor Pro Stocks and the new Super Eliminator class. The Pro-Mods will make their Rockingham debut featuring an exotic combination of supercharged and alcohol-burning engines with vintage body styles. Qualifying and preliminary eliminations will continue for tommorrow. Final eliminations are scheduled for Sunday. Rockingham Dragway is located on U.S. Highway 1 across from North Carolina Speedway, 10 miles north of the city of Rockingham Coverage of the event can be obtained on the World Wide Web at the IHRA web site (WWW.IHRA.COM).

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Mark Thomas , Shirley Muldowney , Scott Weney , Doug Vancil , John Montecalvo , Tommy Gray , Luigi Novelli , Don Lampus , Von Smith , Jeff King