Rockingham Saturday Qualifying Report

Qualifying Concludes At "The Rock", Holley Continues Successful Support Of IHRA Drag Racing ROCKINGHAM, NC-- It was a tough venture for the second day of the IHRA Holley Spring Nationals to top the opening day, but the mission was successfully...

Qualifying Concludes At "The Rock", Holley Continues Successful Support Of IHRA Drag Racing

ROCKINGHAM, NC-- It was a tough venture for the second day of the IHRA Holley Spring Nationals to top the opening day, but the mission was successfully completed. All of the professional fields were narrowed to final elimination status during the final day of qualifying. There were fewer gusts of wind as compared to the previous day, but the heat factor increased dramatically as the temperature rose as high as 87 degrees. That didn't deter a capacity crowd from attending the event.

With the racing conditions dramatically changed from previous events due to the reversal of schedules on qualifying days, many of the sport's premiere crew chiefs were given the grim task of tuning their prospective entries to churn out tremendous performances in the heat of the day.

Defending Top Fuel World Champion Paul Romine lived off of his previous day's accolades as he retained the top qualifying position in the CARQUEST Top Fuel dragster. Romine, who relies on the tuning expertise of former class titlist Clayton Harris, was the quickest with a 4.747/295.85. Don Lampus stepped up during the final session and narrowed the gap by producing a 4.764. Veteran female drag racing pioneer Shirley Muldowney ended up as the fourth quickest seed with a 4.831/268.73.

Doug Vancil, who claimed the Screamin' Eagle Top Fuel Harley division at the recently completed Amalie Oil Nationals in Bradenton, Fl., became the second rider in IHRA history to run in the 6.5 second range as he claimed the top spot with a 6.593/205.66. He edged out the current class record holder Jay Turner with a 6.677/206.18 best. Mike Romine and defending World Champion John Mancuso rounded out the top half of the eight-bike field.

The IHRA's unique Pro Alcohol Funny Car division was spearheaded by the defending World Champion Von Smith. Smith's Big Daddy's BBQ Sauces & Spices Pontiac unleashed a 5.896/239.74 during the final session to secure the pole position. He edged out another former titlist, Jimmy Rector, who was second with a 5.934/236.28. Mark Thomas and Scott Weney rounded out the five-second assault on Rockingham.

Pro Modified will go into battle on Sunday with Shelby, N.C.,-based, chassis builder Tommy Mauney leading the charge as the low qualifier with a 6.402/220.26 best. He edged out his former Camaro, driven by Steve Vick, which produced a 6.425/219.03. Quain Stott rounded out the top three of Pro Modified with a 6.431/218.55.

The world's quickest Pro Stocker run under the IHRA classification and Center Moriches, N.Y.,-based veteran John Montecalvo continully put his Citgo-backed Monte Carlo ahead of the pack and claimed the top spot with an elapsed time of 6.712/207.08 that was produced during less than admirable tuning conditions. The quickest of the Ford contingent was Chris Holbrook and pushed his Probe to a 6.725/207.56. Recent Amalie Oil Nationals titlist Floyd Cheek was third with a 6.727 elapsed time.

Super Eliminator was subjected to the continued domination of Larry Snyder. The veteran junior dragster parts magnate pushed his supercharged, small-block dragster to a 6.198/220.15. Dan Bandish was the quickest nitrous-injected entry with a 6.200/223.71. Defending IHRA Super Eliminator World Champion Dave Price was in third with a 6.267/216.86.

Holley Performance Products have been a staunch supporter of IHRA Championship Drag Racing dating back as far as the early-Eighties with the sponsorship of a 7-second club for Pro Stockers. Ironically, it was at Rockingham in 1980 that Rickie Smith became a charter member of the 16-driver program. They spread the wealth among the sportsman drivers by stepping in to sponsor a season-ending, 8-car shootout for the Quick Rod, Super Rod and Hot Rod racers.

The veteran fuel management company stepped up for the 1999 season and offered the largest contingency program ever offered by a single company within the industry by posting over a million dollars available to all racers. Holley Performance Products recently acquired such reputable companies such as Lunati, Weiand, Percy's Adjsta-A-Jet and merged with Oberg to form Oberg-Holley filters.

Holley President Jeff King believes the only way for the company to show their dedication to the racer is to provide them with the aforementioned programs. He adds, "We had to put our money where our product is. Supporting our loyal customers, while providing a sound products remains our foremost objective. The IHRA provides us with the perfect marketing tool to get our point across."

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Mark Thomas , Shirley Muldowney , Scott Weney , Quain Stott , Doug Vancil , John Montecalvo , Rickie Smith , Von Smith , Jeff King