Rockingham round two preview

Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series Returns To 'The Rock' NORWALK, Ohio (April 14, 2004) -- Last fall, IHRA racers converged on Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina for a double-header season finale. The result was a weekend filled with...

Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series Returns To 'The Rock'

NORWALK, Ohio (April 14, 2004) -- Last fall, IHRA racers converged on Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina for a double-header season finale. The result was a weekend filled with record-setting performances and the crowning of Hooters IHRA world champions. The drag racing circuit returns once again to Rockingham April 23 -- 25 for the 34th Annual Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts and Castrol.

This event marks the second race on the 12-event Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, an international drag racing circuit with three events in Canada. (The season-opener was the Texas Nationals at San Antonio Raceway) Racers enter Rockingham with one race under their belt, competing for the weekend purse and points. The competitor at the end of the season with the most points is crowned world champion.

Three-time Top Fuel World Champion Clay Millican enters this race after a win at the Texas Nationals. Millican, of Drummonds, Tenn., picked up two of his ten wins last season at Rockingham, winning the Spring Nationals and World Finals. In addition to holding the IHRA record for most career Top Fuel wins at 31 (a record formerly held by Don Garlits), Millican is an IHRA world record holder (4.566, 326.63), as well as Rockingham Dragway track record holder (4.566, 316.15).

Bruce Litton heads to Rockingham in a position he is all too familiar with: second place. He has finished runner-up to Millican the last two seasons, and is currently second in the point standings. However, Litton, of Indianapolis, may have other things on his mind. During his semifinal win against Grant Flowers at San Antonio, Litton wrecked after crossing the finish line, destroying his dragster. He was airlifted to the hospital and later released with a minor concussion, but missed his final round appearance against Millican.

Making their Rockingham debut in the Top Fuel category are the Nitro-Injected dragsters. After a decent showing at the Texas Nationals, these competitors look to improve on their programs to running quicker and faster times. Possible entries include Dave Hirata, Lowell, Ind., Mike Bowers, Dallas, Texas, and Keith Stark, Danville, Ill.

In Pro Modified, Glen Kerunsky, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is the points leader after his win at the Texas Nationals from the No. 16 qualifying spot. However, all eyes may be on former six-time world champion Scotty Cannon. The Lyman, S.C.-native returns to IHRA Pro Modified after pursuing a career in Nitro Funny Car with NHRA.

Reigning world champion Mitch Stott returns to Rockingham, hoping to regain his perch at the top of the class. Stott, of Mill Spring, N.C., qualified No. 9 in San Antonio, but lost in the second round to eventual winner Kerunsky. Others to watch for: Mike Janis, Harold Martin, Quain Stott and Shannon Jenkins.

Five-time Funny Car World Champion Mark Thomas, Louisville, Ohio, will be in familiar territory at Rockingham. With his win against reigning world champion Rob Atchison at the Texas Nationals, Thomas finds himself No. 1 in the point standings and carrying the momentum of the class. However, if Thomas wants to leave still with the points lead, he needs to remain focused and cut good reaction times. Atchison, of London, Ontario, has the quickest car in the field by far. Thomas defeated him in the final round with a better reaction time.

In Sunoco Pro Stock, John Montecalvo opened the season with a win in Texas and comes to Rockingham with the points lead. Montecalvo, from Center Moriches, N.Y., will look to repeat at Rockingham, after having one of the quickest and most consistent cars during the opener. Trailing him in the point standings is fellow New Yorker John Nobile. Others to watch: Jacksonville, N.C.-native Elijah Morton, defending world champion Brian Gahm and 2003 event winner Rick Jones.

For media credentials or to schedule interviews, please contact Travis Reynolds, IHRA, at (419) 660-4225 or Steve Earwood, Rockingham Dragway, at (910) 582-3400.

For tickets, call Rockingham Dragway at (910) 582-3400 or check out the race preview at or


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Series Drag
Drivers Mike Janis , Mark Thomas , Clay Millican , Bruce Litton , John Nobile , Quain Stott , Scotty Cannon , John Montecalvo , Don Garlits , Shannon Jenkins , Harold Martin , Glen Kerunsky