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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications More information: (517) 762-5386 August 1, 1997 Consistency key for Smith at CARQUEST Nationals STANTON, Mich. -- No one has to tell Von Smith how to win an...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anthony Vestal IHRA Director of Communications More information: (517) 762-5386

August 1, 1997

Consistency key for Smith at CARQUEST Nationals

STANTON, Mich. -- No one has to tell Von Smith how to win an IHRA Snap-on Tools World Championship. Last season, in one of the most exciting come-from-behind championship runs in IHRA history, Smith chased down a dominant Jimmy Rector, and surpassed him in the final race of the year to win his first Alcohol Funny Car crown. For Smith, a native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., his season-long pursuit included just two victories. Rector advanced to seven straight final rounds and won four times. However, during the last three events Rector had miserable luck. Smith, who garnished his season with a bunch of semi-final and runner-up finishes, says that kind of consistency paid off big dividends at the end of the season. The driver of the Atomic City Tool Pontiac Firebird will be looking for that same kind of consistency as the IHRA Snap-on Tools Championship Drag Racing Series stops at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex for the 16th annual CARQUEST Northern Nationals presented by Dart Heads, Aug. 8-10. The race is the fifth of eight national events on the IHRA Snap-on Tools Championship Drag Racing Series. Smith hopes to ride the momentum of his recent victory at the Raybestos Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park into victory circle once again. If the car stays as predictable as it has been in the last few races that may be a possibility for the 34-year-old driver. "Consistency, that's the key," Smith said. "You have to try and get rid of the mistakes. If you can do that, then everything else will be fine."

-MORE--2- Sounds like a simple formula. However, Smith will have the competition factor to contend with as well. Rector is back in form, leading the point standings, while Scott Weis and Mark Thomas will be looking for additional victories to add to their season-long list. Smith knows that in the volatile sport of drag racing, anything can happen. "Right now the door is wide open for anybody," said Smith, noting the statistic of four different winners in four races this season. "There's four races left and good fortune can swing in any direction. There's a lot of tough competitors in this division and anyone who qualifies has a chance at winning." Other professional categories to be contested at the CARQUEST Northern Nationals presented by Dart Heads include Top Fuel, Pro Stock and Pro Modified. Eight sportsman categories will complete the event. In addition to IHRA's 12 regular classes of competition, there will be special exhibition runs by jet dragsters and a wheel-stander both Saturday and Sunday. The Mid-Michigan Motorplex is located three miles east of Stanton on State Route 522, then two miles north on Wyman Road.

GENERAL INFORMATION *Schedule: Spectator gates open daily at 8 a.m. Sportsman qualifying begins Friday at 8:30 a.m., followed by two rounds of professional qualifying at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (There will be only one session of Top Fuel qualifying on Friday, at 4:30 p.m.). Sportsman and pro qualifying resumes Saturday, culminating with the CARQUEST Night of Fire -- the final professional qualifying session, starting at 8 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 12 noon on Sunday. *Tickets: Tickets are available for the CARQUEST Northern Nationals presented by Dart Heads. General admission tickets are $15 Friday; $30 Saturday; and $30 Sunday. A three day combo ticket is available for $60. All tickets include pit pass and free spectator parking. For additional ticket information call the Mid-Michigan Motorplex (517) 762-5043 or the IHRA office at (423) 764-1164.

*On TV: The CARQUEST Northern Nationals presented by Dart Heads will be televised tape-delay by ESPN2. Professional race coverage will be shown on Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m., and again on Sept. 8 at 2 a.m. Sportsman coverage will be televised on Sept. 7 at 3 p.m., and again on Sept. 8 at 1:30

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Series Drag
Drivers Mark Thomas , Scott Weis , Von Smith