Evans comes out swinging in Pro Fuel debut NORWALK, Ohio (February 16, 2010) -- What a way to start the year. No driver had a more impressive weekend at the Nitro Jam season opener at Palm Beach International Raceway last month than Pro Fuel...
Evans comes out swinging in Pro Fuel debut
NORWALK, Ohio (February 16, 2010) -- What a way to start the year.
No driver had a more impressive weekend at the Nitro Jam season opener at Palm Beach International Raceway last month than Pro Fuel driver Bill Evans.
Based out of Hialeah, Fla., a small town a little over an hour south of the West Palm Beach track, Evans came into the event as the clear favorite in the brand new class after multiple victories on that very same track at exhibition races over the past few years.
And he didn't disappoint.
With a good knowledge of the surface and a very fast dragster Evans dominated the weekend with finals victories over Jeff Hamelink and Michael Manners to claim the first two victories in the Pro Fuel Dragster category and etch his name in the IHRA history books.
"One thing about it, we will always be the ones that won the very first Pro Fuel race -- and we won two in a row -- so that is pretty cool," said Evans. "My guys were ecstatic. That was my first race with this crew and they are all brand new for the year. Basically it was like taking four rookies and going and winning the Super Bowl."
Evans began the weekend with a major hit right out of the box, setting the bar for the brand new class with a new world record time of 5.464 seconds to put himself in the first ever Pro Fuel finals. In the final Evans defeated Hamelink in a tremendous race that saw him back up the record with a 5.469 elapsed time at 267.43 miles-per hour -- setting the other half of the record -- to best Hamelink's 5.538, 238.64.
With one win in the books Evans came back on day two with hopes of repeating Friday's success which he did -- barely.
Evans used a big advantage off the line to get by Robin Samsel in the opening round on Saturday with a 6.373 to Samsel's 6.473 as both cars ran into trouble. In the final Evans produced his third lap in the mid 5s with a 5.498, 263.26 to get by Manners and record his second victory of the weekend.
"I had so many people -- friends and family -- watching us and it was just incredible. It really was a breath of fresh air," said Evans.
Making the win even sweeter for the Florida native was just how close he came to calling it quits at the end of last year.
"Honestly at the end of the year I knew my crew chief was leaving and I was an inch from selling everything and getting out of it," Evans admitted. "When they announced what they (IHRA) was going to do over here as part of the Pro Fuel program I thought I am going to go try this and see how it goes.
"What can I say, it really is not because we won, it is just how we were treated over here. It was a great experience."
Now, with two wins and a commanding early points lead over Manners, Evans can't wait to get to the next event.
"We are committed right now to the whole year. We are not even going to go see the other guys, that is for sure," said Evans. "This is where we want to be and I can't wait to see where this takes us."