Columbus Pro Stock notebook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 PONTIAC EXCITEMENT NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK *Tough choice: When Larry Nance decided to go NHRA Pro Stock racing last season, he picked arguably the toughest...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

PONTIAC EXCITEMENT NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK

*Tough choice: When Larry Nance decided to go NHRA Pro Stock racing last season, he picked arguably the toughest category in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. He wouldn't have it any other way. "That's the reason, because it's the toughest," Nance said. "That's where I want to be. I didn't want to play in the CBA. I could have been the best in the CBA. I wanted to play in the NBA, where the competition is. That's what drives me." *Truckin': An exhibition NHRA Pro Stock Truck program will debut with passes by two Chevrolet pickups during this event. NHRA drag racers Jerry Haas and John Lingenfelter will drive the Chevrolet S-10 trucks. Two Ford Ranger pickups driven by Roy Hill and Richie Stevens will make exhibition passes at the Sears Craftsman Nationals, June 26-29 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. Two Dodge Dakota pickups driven by Team Mopar Pro Stock competitors Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion will make exhibition runs at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, July 17-20 at Denver. All six trucks will participate on an exhibition basis at the remaining NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series events this season starting at the Autolite Nationals, July 25-27 at Sonoma, Calif. The Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge trucks each will be powered by a 358 cubic-inch, eight-cylinder engine. The minimum weight of the trucks with driver is 2,300 pounds. *Comeback trail: Larry Morgan, from Newark, Ohio, had won just one round of eliminations in his Raybestos Pontiac Firebird this season before finishing runner-up to Scott Geoffrion at the Western Auto Parts America Nationals presented by Slick 50 earlier this month at Topeka, Kan. Morgan won a round at the Fram Nationals in mid-April at Atlanta. "We really needed this," Morgan said. "We were really struggling." *Pro Stock country: A quick glance shows that Ohio drivers dominate the NHRA Winston point standings, with seven drivers in the top 25. No other state boasts more than three drivers in the top 25. Here's a look at the top Ohio drivers, their hometowns and their position in the standings: *Mark Pawuk, Bath: Sixth in the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird *Troy Coughlin, Columbus: Eighth in the Jeg's Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird *Jerry Eckman, Newark: 13th in the Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Pontiac Firebird *Larry Morgan, Newark: 15th in the Raybestos Pontiac Firebird *Ray Franks, New Carlisle: 18th in the Franks Racing Pontiac Firebird *Ron Krisher, Warren: 23rd in the Krisher Racing Pontiac Firebird *Larry Nance, Akron: 24th in the Summit Racing Pontiac Firebird The Team Mopar Pro Stock team, owned by Dale Eicke, also is based in Newark. Team Mopar drivers Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion are 10th and 12th, respectively, in the points. *Chasing the legend: It will be a long time -- at least seven years -- before any Pro Stock driver catches the legendary Bob Glidden as the winningest driver in the history of this event. Glidden won the Pontiac Excitement Nationals nine times during his illustrious career. He retired from drag racing in February to build NASCAR Winston Cup engines for Ford teams. The closest active pursuers to Glidden are Jerry Eckman and Warren Johnson, who each have won this race twice. Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and Ronnie Sox, both retired, also have two victories apiece at National Trail Raceway. *Pressure situation: There's no doubt that this event will be pressure-packed for Larry Nance. He will be racing in front of friends and family travelling to the race from his home in Akron, Ohio. Many fans from his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers will attend, too. And to compound that pressure, his sponsor, Summit Racing, is the presenting sponsor of the event. But Nance thinks he'll handle the pressure just fine. After all, he's stood on a free-throw line, taking two shots to win an NBA game with just seconds remaining. "The pressure is always the fun part," Nance said. "It doesn't mean I always do good under pressure. But the pressure time is the time you look back on, whether you do good or bad, you learn from it. "I've been there, in pressure situations before. I've had fans waving their hands and screaming, and guys talking to me on the free-throw line." *Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. June 13 and continues at 7 p.m. that evening. Qualifying ends with sessions at noon and 4 p.m. June 14. Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. June 15. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 8 a.m. June 12. *Tickets: Tickets are available for the Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing. Call NHRA Ticketing at (800) 884-6472. *On TV: ABC will televise one hour of highlights from the Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing at 1 p.m. (EDT) June 22. *On the Web: The NHRA home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.goracing.com/nhra/ offers more information about NHRA Winston Drag Racing, including qualifying and eliminations results, news, point standings, statistics and driver biographies. -30-

6/4/97-CO4-087

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , John Lingenfelter , Bob Glidden , Scott Geoffrion , Jerry Haas , Larry Nance