Gainesville Dave Schultz story (PRO BIKE)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 FEAR KEEPS SCHULTZ MOTIVATED FOR SEASON OPENER AT GAINESVILLE GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Dave Schultz really should have nothing to worry about when it comes...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

FEAR KEEPS SCHULTZ MOTIVATED FOR SEASON OPENER AT GAINESVILLE

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Dave Schultz really should have nothing to worry about when it comes to NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing.

He has dominated the category like no other, winning six NHRA Winston championships and 41 national events, both NHRA records. He returns all of the key parts from last year's title run: crew chief Greg Cope and the same Sunoco Suzuki powered by the same potent Cope engine.

But a bit of anxiety creeps into Schultz's mind as he ponders the 28th annual, $1,831,950 Mac Tools Gatornationals, March 6-9 at Gainesville Raceway. The race is the third event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997 but the first for the bikes.

"There are three of four teams out that could come out and make you say, 'Whoa, I had no idea they could do that,'" Schultz said. "I think we are going to be better than ever, but back in the corner of your mind we're still scared to death that somebody has figured out something we haven't."

Schultz's concern is warranted. Before last season, John Myers was realistically the only rider Schultz had to worry about. Schultz and Myers have monopolized first place in the NHRA Winston point standings every year since 1990, with Schultz winning four titles and Myers three.

But hot rookie talent emerged last season. Matt Hines won two races, set an NHRA elapsed-time national record and finished second in the points. Myers' teammate, Angelle Seeling, won a race, also set an elapsed-time national record and finished seventh in the points -- all in just six of 12 races.

"There's a confidence in the rest of the class that there has never been," Schultz said. "We're not making any drastic changes, but we'll go quicker and faster than ever."

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 Matt Hines