Romine Darlington Preview

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications More information: (423) 764-1164 September 19, 1997 Romine hopes to realize Top Fuel goals at Snap-on Finals DARLINGTON, S.C. -- When Paul Romine returns to...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications More information: (423) 764-1164

September 19, 1997

Romine hopes to realize Top Fuel goals at Snap-on Finals

DARLINGTON, S.C. -- When Paul Romine returns to the Darlington International Dragway for the second annual Snap-on Finals Sept. 25-28 he'll be looking to take care of a little business. The race is the ninth and final event on the IHRA Snap-on Tools Championship Drag Racing Series.

First and foremost on the Indianapolis racer's agenda will be securing his first drag racing world championship. Two other objectives high on his list include winning race number four, and establishing an even quicker IHRA world record than the current elapsed time mark he holds (4.784 seconds).

If his fortunes are as good as they've been during the last two races, Romine should have an excellent opportunity to accomplish his goals.

Romine -- convincing winner of Bristol, Tenn.'s Autumn Chase Nationals and the World Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio in his CARQUEST Auto Parts-sponsored dragster -- opened the season with a win at Darlington's Winter Nationals. He feels confident and comfortable heading back to a track where he ran one of the quickest quarter-mile passes in IHRA history at 4.85 seconds.

"The Darlington track surface was prepared well for the Winter Nationals and we had good results there," Romine said recently. "It's definitely the kind of track we like to run on. I think we'll see some good times down there."

Romine holds a 1,480 point lead over second place points contender Shirley Muldowney and a 1,610 point lead over defending Snap-on Finals Top Fuel race winner and four-time IHRA world champ Doug Herbert. Romine, who posted the quickest pass in IHRA history (4.709 seconds) during the completion of the rain-delayed World Nationals, attributes his success to the precise tuning of his crew. Few mistakes in the pits equals a very dependable hot rod.

"We've been fortunate enough to be consistent this season," Romine said. "That means more than running the same numbers. It means making laps. If you can't make laps, then you can't learn. That's something we haven't had to fight this year. That's all because of the crew's preparation and Clayton's (Harris, crew chief) knowledge and experience."

Romine says his crew chief -- the 1978 IHRA Top Fuel World Champion -- is a wizard when it comes to setting up a 5,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster.

"Clayton has been a major part of our success," Romine said. "He puts everything together. He knows what it takes to make the car fast for all of the different track conditions we face at each track. There's a tremendous amount of adjusting that goes on between each pass. Clayton knows these tracks very well, and he knows what they will hold."

While some drivers might fall into the trap of becoming a little too comfortable with a points lead like Romine has acquired entering the last event, the 22-year racing veteran isn't taking anything for granted. He says he's not placing the Snap-on Tools World Championship trophy on the mantle just yet. With all of the variables involved in the sport of drag racing he knows anything can happen. Romine says the master plan for the weekend will be the one his crew has used all season long.

"We are a goal oriented team," he said. "At each event our primary focus is to make rounds, as many as we can. If you can do that, everything else will fall into place."

Professional category champions will also be crowned in three other professional categories, including Pro Stock, Pro Modified and Alcohol Funny Car. Eight classes of sportsman competition will complete the event.

In addition to the 12 regular IHRA divisions, there will also be special exhibition runs by two 300 mile per hour jet dragsters and Top Fuel Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Darlington International Dragway is located six miles west of Darlington on Hwy. 151.


*SCHEDULE -- First round of sportsman qualifying will be 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25. There will also be one round of professional qualifying Thursday, starting at 3:30 p.m. Qualifying continues Friday, with one round of sportsman and professional qualifying. The first round of Top Fuel qualifying starts Friday at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying will conclude Saturday for all divisions with the Night of Fire program, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Final eliminations begin Sunday at 12 noon.

* TICKETS -- Tickets are available for the Snap-on Finals. All tickets include free pit pass. Ticket prices are Thursday $10; Friday $10; Saturday $30; and Sunday $30. A special two-day pass for Saturday and Sunday is available for $55. For additional ticket information call 800-622-0123 or 423-764-1164.

*ON TV -- The Snap-on Finals will be televised tape-delay by ESPN2. Professional race coverage will be shown Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. and again on Oct. 25 at 3:30 a.m. Half-hour sportsman coverage will precede each professional show.

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Doug Herbert , Shirley Muldowney