U.S. Nationals More Than Just Another Drag Race For Indianapolis Resident Paul Romine INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 28, 2001)-- Growing up in the Indianapolis area, most racers dreamed of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Paul Romine always...
U.S. Nationals More Than Just Another Drag Race For Indianapolis Resident Paul Romine
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 28, 2001)-- Growing up in the Indianapolis area, most racers dreamed of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Paul Romine always dreamed of racing at Indianapolis Raceway Park and the NHRA U.S. Nationals. For 47 years, 40 of them at IRP, the NHRA U.S. Nationals has been the biggest and best drag race in the world.
"I remember watching Shirley, Big Daddy, Snake, all the big names battle for the title and thinking how much it would mean to win Indy," said Romine, who is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, and owns Dealers Engine Sales, Inc. on the east side of town. "In '97 we came out of nowhere and on the last shot of qualifying, we hauled ass until the blower belt broke, but qualified for Indy, the greatest of all drag races with a 4.70 at only 263. That was awesome. I remember Bernstein, Dixon and a lot of the names went home, but we raced on Monday."
Romine qualified for his first U.S. Nationals in 1997, but had to wait until 1999 for his first round win at his hometown track.
"The '99 season just wasn't going good for us until we got to Indy," said Romine, who is a 3-time IHRA champion in Top Fuel. "Clayton (Harris, Romine's late crew chief who passed away in November) and the guys worked hard trying to step on it in IHRA, but things just weren't going good. We finally brought out this radical Spitzer chassis at Brainerd with some controversy, then went to Ohio for an IHRA race and ran 310. After that we said to hell with it, let's go to Indy and step on it."
Step on it they did. In round one, Romine and his CARQUEST Auto Parts Top Fuel team pulled off the upset of the 1999 season, drilling World Champion Gary Scelzi on the line with a .418 light and winning the race with a 4.666 / 306.60 to 4.588 / 306.12.
"That's probably still the best round win I've ever had," Romine said. "Winning the final round of the March Meet in Bakersfield in '96 was special and surviving (Clay) Millican for the IHRA title at Rockingham was exciting, but beating the NHRA champ at Indy, nothing could top that other than winning the race."
Winning the race is something Romine would do almost anything for. And now a teammate to Doug Herbert, this season he has one of his best chances of his career to take home the trophy on Monday afternoon. With the IHRA title out of range for the CARQUEST team, Romine's focus in on 2002 while also helping Doug Herbert develop a solid NHRA tune-up.
"Were going to Indy to win, there's nothing more to say," said Romine, who has never been to a NHRA final round. "Qualifying and a round win doesn't cut it. I've never won a NHRA national event and if it happened at Indianapolis, it would be the greatest accomplishment of my career."
Pro qualifying is set to begin Friday, Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and will continue Saturday, Sept. 1 at 12:45 and 4:35 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Final professional eliminations begin Monday, Sept. 3 at 11 a.m.
ESPN will televise three hours of eliminations Monday, Sept. 3 at 4 p.m. (ET). ESPN2 will televise three hours of early round coverage Sunday, Sept. 2 at 8:30 a.m. (ET). ESPN2 also will televise 90 minutes of qualifying highlights Saturday, Sept. 1 at noon (ET).
CARQUEST Auto Parts Stores in the Indianapolis area in conjunction with Valvoline Oil are offering $10 discount coupons to the 47th annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Friday night qualifying, to be held Friday, Aug. 31, 2001 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
For each case of Valvoline branded product purchased from an Indianapolis-area CARQUEST Auto Parts location, a customer will receive (1) $10.00 discount coupon off the general admission cost to the Friday night qualifying session only. Limit (1) discount coupon per event ticket. Discount coupon and store receipt must be attached together to qualify for the $10 off discount.
CARQUEST Corporation began in 1974 with 100 auto parts stores. Today there are nearly 4,000 CARQUEST Auto Parts stores across North America. CARQUEST supplies the professional automotive service repair industry as well as do-it-yourselfers with replacement parts, tools and equipment. For more information, please visit www.CARQUEST.com.