Spring Nationals qualifying

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications (423) 764-1164 or (423) 274-0530 BIR press room June 7, 1997 Rain cancels final qualifying session at Spring Nationals BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Final round qualifying...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications (423) 764-1164 or (423) 274-0530 BIR press room

June 7, 1997

Rain cancels final qualifying session at Spring Nationals

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Final round qualifying for the 33rd annual Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals was canceled Saturday night when persistent rain showers moved into the area just prior to the final round of Pro Stock qualifying, the opening act of a much anticipated Night of Fire program. All professional categories will start final round eliminations tomorrow (Sunday) at noon based on second (Top Fuel) and third round (Pro Stock, Pro Modified, Alcohol Funny Car) qualifying.

In Saturday's first round of time trials, legendary Top Fuel racer Shirley Muldowney captured the Bristol Dragway speed record (302.08 miles per hour), while defending Top Fuel World Champion Doug Herbert, driver of the Snap-on Tools Top Fuel dragster, became the first driver to record a 300 mph pass at Bristol Dragway with his 300.06 mph effort in second round qualifying for the division. He also became the first Top Fuel driver in IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series history to record a 300 mile per hour pass.

"We dropped a cylinder and it was heavy off the starting line," said Muldowney, driver of the Action Collectibles Top Fuel dragster. "But it was on a pass. I could tell it was really marching. My guys made me look very good out there today." Said Herbert of his historic run: "We burned the clutch out and shook the tires. It would have run an .85 (4.85) if I hadn't shut it off." However, while Herbert and Muldowney were fast, Bruce Litton was the quickest. Litton, of Indianapolis, earned the top qualifying spot with a run of 4.891 seconds at 261.67 mph. Amazingly, Litton's mile per hour was low because he shut off early. He and crew chief Jeff Edwards had decided before the run to use it as a test pass and shut off early. "We feel very fortunate," said Litton, owner of Bruce Litton Trailer Sales and a former Top Dragster contender. "Jeff told me to drive it 1,100 or 1,200 feet and if everything was alright just click it off. We didn't want to hurt anything. When it left carrying the front end for the first 100 feet, it was on a run. It would have run 300 mph if I hadn't clicked it off." Rhonda Hartman-Smith, who did not make a qualifying attempt in the second round, fell to second in the qualifying order behind Litton.

Despite the impressive speed, Muldowney's 4.975 did not improve over her earlier 4.971 elapsed time and dropped to third. Paul Romine (5.001); Danny Dunn (5.005); Jim Bailey (5.028); Herbert (5.081) and Dave Bieneman (5.101) completed the order in Top Fuel qualifying. Billy Huff, two-time IHRA Pro Stock World Champion, set a new track record while taking the top qualifying spot in a new 1997 Firebird. Huff is making a return to IHRA Pro Stock racing after a one year hiatus. Huff ran 6.793 seconds at 203.65 mph. Angelo Alesci (6.800), Tony Gillig (6.801), Jerry Yeoman (6.826) and Jon Yoak (6.834) were among top qualifiers in Pro Stock.

Two-time Bristol Dragway winner Scott Weis remained the top qualifier in Alcohol Funny Car. Weis, of Ashland, Va. drove his Sherwin-Williams Paints Ford Mustang to a track record 5.996, 230.80 on Friday. Scott Weney (6.054), Jimmy Rector (6.054), Von Smith (6.086), and Monty Todd (6.128) were among top qualifier in Alcohol Funny Car.

Michael Martin of Pageland, S.C. drove his 1963 Corvette to the top qualifying spot in Pro Modified. Martin covered the quarter-mile in 6.548 seconds at 214.31 mph. Ronnie Hood (6.560), Wally Stroupe (6.575), Rickie Smith (6.577) and Harold Martin (6.598) were among top qualifiers in the third session in that professional category. Pro Modified points leader Shannon Jenkins failed to qualify when the final round was canceled due to rain. Jenkins is first alternate for the program. Other notable drivers who did not get a fourth qualifying chance and will miss the 33rd Prolong Spring Nationals include Jim Lape (Alcohol Funny Car), Roy Hill (Pro Stock), Brad Jeter and Tommy Gray (Pro Modified).

Final eliminations for the 33rd Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals presented by Parts Pro Performance Centers will get underway tomorrow (Sunday) at 12 p.m. (noon). Tickets are still available for the event, the second of eight national events on the IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series. Tickets are $30 for adults and include free pit pass and parking. Children 12-under admitted free with a paying adult. Call (423) 764-1164 for more information. (-end-)

Qualifying Results...

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Final professional category qualifying results Saturday, June 7 1997, for the 33rd annual Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals by Parts Pro, the second of eight national events on the IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series.

Top Fuel-- 1. Bruce Litton, Indianapolis, 4.891, 261.67; 2. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Williamston, S.C., 4.961, 277.83; 3. Shirley Muldowney, Armada, Mich., 4.971, 298.07; 4. Paul Romine, Indianapolis, 5.001, 286.68; 5. Danny Dunn, Hudson, N.C., 5.005, 298.07; 6. Jim Bailey, Mantua, Ohio, 5.028, 284.87; 7. Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 5.081, 300.06; 8. Dave Bieneman, Royal Oak, Mich., 5.101, 281.30.

Pro Stock-- 1. Billy Huff, Shepherdsville, Ky., 6.793, 203.65; 2. Angelo Alesci, Cleveland, Ohio, 6.800, 202.73; 3. Tony Gillig, Lake Zurich, Ill., 6.801, 203.65; 4. Jerry Yeoman, Galena, Kan., 6.826, 202.73; 5. Jon Yoak, Ellenboro, W.Va., 6.834, 202.73; 6. Doug Kirk, Lenore, W.Va., 6.842, 202.73; 7. Tim Nabors, Lawrenceville, Ga., 6.842, 201.82; 8. Floyd Cheek, Chattanooga, Tenn., 6.843, 203.65; 9. David Jenkins, London, Ohio, 6.874, 201.82; 10. John Konigshofer, Otterville, Ontario, 6.875, 204.57; 11. John Montecalvo Jr., Center Moriches, N.Y., 6.875, 201.82; 12. Steve Williford, Englehard, N.C., 6.878, 201.82; 13. Pete Berner, Crete, Ill., 6.881, 201.82; 14. Ed Machacek, Atkins, Iowa, 6.885, 202.73; 15. Richie Stevens, New Orleans, 6.886, 202.73; 16. John Nobile, Melville, N.Y., 6.898, 200.92.

Pro Modified-- 1. Michael Martin, Pageland, S.C. 6.548, 214.31; 2. Ronnie Hood, Lenoir, N.C., 6.560, 212.29; 3. Wally Stroupe, Kings Mountain, N.C., 6.575, 212.29; 4. Rickie Smith, King, N.C., 6.577, 214.31; 5. Harold Martin, Southfield, Mich., 6.598, 207.40; 6. Billy Harper, Paducah, Ky., 6.605, 197.39; 7. Tommy Mauney, Shelby, N.C., 6.614, 211.30; 8. Mike Castellana, Westbury, N.Y., 6.615, 214.31; 9. Todd Tutterow, Lewisville, N.C., 6.616, 211.30; 10. Stevie Foster, Adkins, Texas, 6.617, 211.30; 11. Ed Burnley, Pasadena, Md., 6.620, 213.30; 12. Dan Bandish, Melbourne, Fla., 6.621, 210.31; 13. Carl Moyer, Ankeny, Iowa, 6.631, 207.40; 14. Dale Brinsfield, Greensboro, N.C., 6.632, 212.29; 15. Scotty Cannon, Lyman, S.C., 6.637, 210.31; 16. Ed Hoover, Gilbert, S.C., 6.650, 212.29.

Alcohol Funny Car-- 1. Scott Weis, Ashland, Va., 5.996, 230.80; 2. Scott Weney, Spring City, Pa., 6.054, 230.80; 3. Jimmy Rector, Vernon, Ala., 6.086, 230.80; 4. Von Smith, Oak Ridge, Tenn., 6.108, 221.71; 5. Monty Todd, Montgomery, Ala., 6.128, 223.91; 6. Jim Sickles, Caledonia, N.Y., 6.132, 231.99; 7. Tony Bogolo, Hamilton, Ohio, 6.146, 229.63; 8. Butch Kernodle, Virginia Beach, 6.159, 233.20; 9. Larry Dobbs, Welland, Ontario, 6.178, 223.91; 10. Gerry Thalacker, Lake Wylie, S.C., 6.216, 225.03; 11. John Rose Jr., Reading, Pa., 6.224, 229.63; 12. Mark Thomas, Louisville, Ohio, 6.254, 229.63; 13. Mick Steele, Loganville, Ga., 6.257, 222.80; 14. Barry Faxon, Cincinnati, Ohio, 6.274, 206.45; 15. Jason Juday, Elkhart, Ind., 6.275, 223.91; 16. Mike Preslar, Salisbury, N.C., 6.296, 222.80.\

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Mark Thomas , Doug Herbert , Shirley Muldowney , Bruce Litton , Tony Gillig , John Nobile , Brad Jeter , Scott Weis , Ronnie Hood , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Angelo Alesci , Ed Hoover , Tommy Gray , Shannon Jenkins , Rickie Smith , Jim Sickles , Von Smith , Harold Martin , Michael Martin , David Jenkins
Teams Williams