Dallas Top Fuel notebook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE REVELL NATIONALS TOP FUEL NOTEBOOK *Snake hires Armstrong: It didn't take long for crew chief Dale Armstrong to resurface with another team after ending his 16-year relationship with driver Kenny Bernstein and the...


REVELL NATIONALS TOP FUEL NOTEBOOK *Snake hires Armstrong: It didn't take long for crew chief Dale Armstrong to resurface with another team after ending his 16-year relationship with driver Kenny Bernstein and the Budweiser King team. Don "The Snake" Prudhomme hired Armstrong as the crew chief for his Miller Lite Dragster, driven by Larry Dixon, starting in 1998. Armstrong was hired by Prudhomme the last week of September, just two weeks after he left Bernstein's team. "I'm happy with the way things worked out," Armstrong said. "Don and I had a couple of meetings and developed a program. I felt I needed some time off through the end of this season, that way I'll come back renewed for 1998." Armstrong tuned Bernstein to five NHRA Winston championships -- four in Funny Car and one in Top Fuel -- since 1982. "We're ecstatic to have Armstrong on our side," Prudhomme said. "He's proven he is capable of winning championships, and we think we'll be a championship contender next year." Armstrong will replace Wes Cerny, who will leave the team after this season. *Shirley coming back: Three-time NHRA Winston Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney will make her return to NHRA competition at this event, her first entry into an NHRA national event since 1991. Muldowney's car will carry the colors of Action Performance Companies Inc. and the Racing Collectibles Club of America, her sponsor for the last several seasons. Five-time NHRA Winston champion Joe Amato also will carry Action colors for this race. It's believed that this will be Muldowney's only NHRA event this season. "It's been a long time since I've raced with NHRA, and I'm looking forward to seeing my friends," Muldowney said. Muldowney has spent the last several seasons competing at IHRA national events and making match-race appearances with her husband and crew chief, Rahn Tobler. "It's going to be tough to qualify in Texas," Tobler said. "But I think we've got enough horsepower to make the show and race on Sunday." Muldowney's last NHRA victory came in 1989 at Phoenix. She won the NHRA Winston championship in 1977, 1980 and 1982 -- the only woman to win a Winston pro season title. Muldowney, 57, has 18 career NHRA Top Fuel victories. *Not a lock: Rookie Gary Scelzi may lead second-place Cory McClenathan by 135 points -- about one race -- with just three events remaining this season, but he thinks the race for the NHRA Winston championship is far from over. "Hopefully, we'll run out of races before we run out of the points lead," Scelzi said. "There is still plenty of work to be done, though. "The race for the Winston championship won't be over for a long time. Looks like I'll have to keep taking Rolaids and using Grecian Formula until the Winston Finals." *Sharp driving: Jim Head won three elimination rounds on a holeshot in the Close Call Phone Card Dragster -- the most holeshot victories by a driver this season at an NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series national event -- en route to a victory at the Pennzoil Nationals presented by AutoZone on Oct. 5 at Memphis, Tenn. A driver wins on a holeshot when his advantage in reaction time to the starting light is greater than his opponent's advantage in elapsed time on the track. The time clocks in each lane start when the driver leaves the starting line, not when the starting light turns green. Head, from Columbus, Ohio, beat Eddie Hill in the first round, Mike Dunn in the semifinals and Larry Dixon in the final on holeshots. *Speed merchant: Cory McClenathan recorded the second-fastest speed in NHRA history, 318.58 mph, in the McDonald's Dragster at the Pennzoil Nationals presened by AutoZone earlier this month at Memphis, Tenn. The fastest speed is 318.69 by Kenny Bernstein last year at this event. Joe Amato set the NHRA speed national record of 318.24 at the U.S. Nationals on Sept. 1 at Indianapolis. Neither Bernstein nor McClenathan set a national record because they didn't back up their speeds within 1 percent at the same event where the speeds were recorded, required by NHRA rules for a national record. *Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. Oct. 17 and continues at 7 p.m. that evening. Qualifying ends with sessions at noon and 4 p.m. Oct. 18. Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. Oct. 19. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 16. *Tickets: Tickets are available for the Revell Nationals. Call Texas Motorplex at(800) 668-6775. Tickets also are available at Ticketmaster outlets. Call Ticketmaster Dallas at (214) 373-8000. *On TV: The Nashville Network (TNN) will televise 90 minutes of live, final-round competition from the Revell Nationals at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) Oct. 19. TNN also will show one hour of live, first-round racing during its "NHRA Today" show at 11 a.m. (CDT) Oct. 19. *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-


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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Shirley Muldowney , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Cory McClenathan