Harper goes to first round eliminations in Lone Star State. ENNIS, Texas (October 16, 2002) - When people think of Texas, they might imagine rodeos and football as the state's biggest sporting attractions. This past weekend, however, all Texas...
Harper goes to first round eliminations in Lone Star State.
ENNIS, Texas (October 16, 2002) - When people think of Texas, they might imagine rodeos and football as the state's biggest sporting attractions. This past weekend, however, all Texas eyes were on the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). The best of the best in the world of drag racing, including the Billy Harper Motorsports team, traveled to the Lone Star State for the running of the NHRA 17th Annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals held at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.
The weekend got off to a bright start on Friday when Billy Harper made a 6.481-second run down the quarter mile dragstrip placing him seventh out of 18 cars on the qualifying board. The team's position improved in the second round of qualifying after a 6.342-second pass placed the 2000 Dodge Viper fourth on the grid. With the day's two scheduled rounds of qualifying in the books, the team packed up for the night.
On Saturday the car wiggled a bit on Harper's first run, but the team's best pass on Friday kept them in the top eight cars (only the top eight advance to the elimination rounds). Most of Harper's competitors improved their times during Saturday's first qualifying session, putting pressure on the Billy Harper Motorsports team to better its times. In the fourth and final round of qualifying, Harper nearly duplicated his best pass from Friday's second session with a pass clocking in at 6.375 seconds. When the 18 Pro Modified teams had completed their qualifying, only the top eight were invited to compete in Sunday's elimination rounds, with Harper on the privileged list.
On Sunday the 2000 Metro/Federal Ready Mix Viper went to the line paired against the 1963 Corvette of Mitch Stott. Harper's reaction time was far and away quicker than Stott's and the Viper lifted off the line first. Harper continued to lead Stott down the line until the 60-foot mark. Eventually Stott would out-run Harper by a mere .077 seconds.
General Manager for the Billy Harper Motorsports team, Bubba Kolb, proudly accepted the defeat in the first round of eliminations. "We were hoping to take home the trophy of course, but we did make it to the finals which says a lot," stated Kolb. "There were 18 great cars here this weekend and we were one of the fastest. For a part time team, that is saying something."
While the Dodge Viper has competed on a limited schedule in 2002, plans for 2003 call for the team to run the full International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) schedule as well as a limited schedule in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). The team has set high goals for next season including winning the coveted 2003 IHRA Pro Modified National Championship.
Harper and his team will wrap up their 2002 season with a trip this weekend to Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina. The Carquest Auto Parts World Finals will begin October 18 and continue through Sunday, October 20.