Darlington Prolong Winter Nationals To Complete On May 8

The 27th Annual Prolong Super Lubricants IHRA Winter Nationals To Resume On Saturday At Darlington, Record Fields Set! DARLINGTON, SC-- There was once a cartoon that depicted a snowman that so badly wanted to be around when the Spring arrived.

The 27th Annual Prolong Super Lubricants IHRA Winter Nationals To Resume On Saturday At Darlington, Record Fields Set!

DARLINGTON, SC-- There was once a cartoon that depicted a snowman that so badly wanted to be around when the Spring arrived. The frozen individual checked himself into a freezer and set an alarm clock that woke him up when the warmer temperatures had arrived. He quickly ran out into a sunny meadow, where he eventually melted away into the green grass. That's a roundabout way to describe the IHRA's return to Darlington Dragway for the completion of the suspended Prolong Super Lubricants Winter Nationals. The competition is expected to be hot enough to melt something.

Records fell at Darlington Dragway during the originally scheduled March date. Those marks are expected to take another beating as some of the quickest fields in IHRA/Snap-On Tools Championship Drag racing history are braced to complete final eliminations this Saturday, May 8. Qualifying fields were set back in early March, but rain forced suspension of the event until a later date. Two national events have been completed since.

Jim Bailey made his sponsor proud as he wheeled the Snap-On Tools backed dragster to a 4.676/301.47 to better the IHRA World Record currently held by his car owner, Doug Herbert. His run topped the 4.744/303.78 recorded by Texan Don Lampus during the Friday evening session. However, that run was backed up as a new Top Fuel record. Defending World Champion Paul Romine ended up seventh qualifier. Recent Holley Spring Nationals winner Bruce Litton was also a qualifier in the eight-car field.

The two-wheeled contingent were represented well during the record-smashing third session. Jay Turner, the Top Fuel Harley rider from Greensboro, N.C., topped the Harleys with the first 6.5 second pass in history with a 6.552 at over 212 miles per hour. Series newcomer Doug Vancil pushed the Vance & Hines Harley to a 6.786/185.92 to slip into the second spot. Veteran rider Ray Price was third with a 6.811/197.42. Defending World Champion John Mancuso made the program on his final qualifying attempt.

Current points leader and two-time 1999 finalist Von Smith qualified number one with a 5.855/235.89. The Oak Ridge, Tn., based driver made the pole-securing run during the first session. Melinda Green-King remained second with a 5.889/235.68.

The Pro Modified division, which debuted here in 1990, entered into a new arena of battle as Canadian Al Billes pushed his new Scotty Cannon-built, 1953 Studebaker to a 6.268/222.47. The run topped both ends of the class record once shared by Cannon and Shannon Jenkins. Shannon Jenkins picked up where he left off in 1998 by producing a 6.323/218.44. Steve Vick ended up third with a 6.346 and Johnny Rocca's 1949 Merc, driven by Australian Troy Critchley which turned in a 6.392. There were 45 entries for what turned out to be the quickest ever Pro Mod field in history. Points leader Tommy Mauney was a suprise DNQ for the event.

The World's Quickest and Fastest Pro Stockers lived up to their reputation. Chris Holbrook reset the elapsed time world record with a 6.612/209.07 in the Stu Evans Ford Probe, which also took the number one spot. Former Pro Stock World Champion Jon Yoak led early qualifying with a 6.620/209.98 blast. Current points leader and undefeated driver Floyd Cheek continued the Ford domination as he secured the third spot with a 6.633. The bump spot for the 16-car field was a 6.712 from rookie driver Jeremy Bevins.

Super Eliminator, the open bodied equivalent to Pro Modified, remained the property of the points leader and unbeaten Larry Snyder. Snyder crept the innovative category closer to the five-second zone with a 6.087/221.23 in his 400-cubic inch, supercharged dragster. Defending World Champion Dave Price made a valiant last ditch effort and emerged with a 6.230/218.16. John Long fell to third with a 6.281/214.42.

Final eliminations are scheduled for Saturday. Each qualifier will be afforded a time trial run beginning at 8 AM. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 2 PM. The track is located six miles west of Darlington on Hwy 151. Coverage of the event can be obtained on the World Wide Web at the IHRA web site (WWW.IHRA.COM).

All Sunday tickets purchased back in March will be honored and more will be on sale at the Darlington Dragway box office.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Johnny Rocca , Bruce Litton , Scotty Cannon , Ray Price , Shannon Jenkins , Don Lampus , Al Billes , Troy Critchley , Von Smith , John Long