Houston-Pro Stock notebook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 SLICK 50 NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK *Carry on: Jim Yates and crew chief Richard Maskin ended their partnership after Yates won the ATSCO Nationals last month,...


Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761


*Carry on: Jim Yates and crew chief Richard Maskin ended their partnership after Yates won the ATSCO Nationals last month, but Yates went on to win the Mac Tools Gatornationals in his first race without Maskin turning the wrenches on the McDonald's Pontiac Firebird.

Yates and Maskin aligned in September 1993, and Yates finished fourth, second and first in their three full seasons together. Yates never finished better than ninth before Maskin arrived.

Maskin also built the powerful engines used by Yates, who bought the engines after parting ways with Maskin, exercising a clause in their contract. Bob Ingles, who formerly built engines for Yates, will handle the upkeep of the Maskin engines for Yates.

"I'm really excited about moving forward," Yates told Racing Information Systems on Compuserve. "I realize that Richard and I had something unique and special, but everybody here is excited."

*Speed racer: Warren Johnson set an NHRA speed national record of 199.91 mph in the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird at the Mac Tools Gatornationals earlier this month at Gainesville, Fla.

Johnson, from Duluth, Ga., broke his record of 199.15 set at the Slick 50 Nationals presented by Western Auto in March 1995 at Houston. He also holds the elapsed-time national record of 6.927 seconds, set last month at the season-opening Chief Auto Parts Winternationals.

*Quicker and quicker: The Pro Stock field at the Mac Tools Gatornationals was the quickest in NHRA history, with Pete Williams No. 16 at 7.011 seconds.

The previous quickest field came at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals in September 1996 at Reading, Pa., where Danny Coffman was 16th at 7.037.

*Six-sational: Eleven drivers recorded six-second passes during qualifying, an NHRA record. The previous record was five drivers at the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals last month at Pomona, Calif.

*Join the club: There's only one spot left in the NHRA Holley 6-Second Pro Stock Club, as four drivers became members at the Mac Tools Gatornationals with the first six-second pass of their careers.

Bruce Allen, Steve Schmidt, Ray Franks and George Marnell each earned $1,000 from Holley for joining the club. There are 15 drivers in the club, which started in 1994.

Five drivers have joined in just three races this season as many teams are making big leaps in performance. Only four drivers joined the club in 1996.

*Performance prediction: While the Mac Tools Gatornationals may have played host to the finest weekend of Pro Stock performance in NHRA history earlier this month at Gainesville, Fla., Mark Pawuk thinks that show could be topped by the Slick 50 Nationals.

"If the air is really killer, with temperatures in the 60's and a high barometer, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 6.89 or a 6.88. I think Warren (Johnson) could run 200."

The quickest time in NHRA history is 6.927 seconds by Johnson.

*Never say never, but probably not: Recently-retired NHRA Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden won't rule out a return to drag racing, but he admits that it's highly unlikely.

Glidden, from Whiteland, Ind., announced his retirement from drag racing in late February to build engine parts for NASCAR Winston Cup driver Geoff Bodine and other Ford teams in Winston Cup.

"I'm in a different situation now than I was in two months ago, when I didn't have this deal," Glidden said. "And if I was to do it, it would have to be exactly the right deal, and even then, I'd have to think about it."

Glidden won an unprecedented 10 NHRA Winston championships and holds the NHRA record for career victories, with 85, and final rounds, 122.

"I've been too busy to think about it, but I'll miss drag racing," Glidden said. "I love all the fans. Their support has been incredible. Maybe now they can cheer for our NASCAR deal."

*Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. March 21 and continues at 7 p.m. that evening. Qualifying ends with sessions at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. March 22. Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. March 23. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 10 a.m. March 20.

*Tickets: Tickets are available for the Slick 50 Nationals. Call Houston Raceway Park at (281) 383-2666 or check the track's World Wide Web site at http://www.houstonraceway.com for ticket information. Tickets also can be purchased from Ticketmaster. To order through Ticketmaster, call (713) 629-3700.

*On TV: ESPN2 will televise two hours of live, final-round competition from the Slick 50 Nationals at 4 p.m. (CST) March 23. ESPN2 also will televise Friday-night qualifying with a two-hour, same-day show starting at 11:30 p.m. (CST) March 21. All-day, live coverage of final eliminations will be shown on pay-per-view from 10:30-6 p.m. (CST) March 23. The telecast costs $14.95. Viewers must order the programming through their satellite or cable provider.

*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-


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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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Bob Glidden , Bruce Allen , George Marnell , Steve Schmidt
Teams Williams