Joliet: Hartman-Smith Saturday summary

Rhonda Hartman-Smith Now The Quickest Female On The Planet Husband-and-Wife Top Fuel Drivers Both Set Career-Best Elapsed Time On The Same Day CHICAGO, IL, May 31, 2003 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith, driver of the FRAM Filters Top Fuel Dragster, ...

Rhonda Hartman-Smith Now The Quickest Female On The Planet

Husband-and-Wife Top Fuel Drivers Both Set Career-Best Elapsed Time On The Same Day

CHICAGO, IL, May 31, 2003 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith, driver of the FRAM Filters Top Fuel Dragster, became the quickest female to cover the quarter-mile drag strip in 4.56-seconds (316.23 mph) during Top Fuel qualifying rounds at the Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals at the infamous Route 66 Raceway.

"I am honored to be the quickest female on earth," comments Hartman-Smith. "Not only did I run my career-best elapsed time (4.56-seconds) today, but my fellow teammate and husband, John "Bodie" Smith, also posted his career-best elapsed time of 4.51-seconds, as well as his career-best speed (325.77 mph) on the same day. John and I are fortunate to have such dedicated crewmembers with the passion and drive to excel. We recently hired Lance Larsen as a team consultant to assist Virgil Hartman (team owner/tuner) with tuning responsibilities and to step up the level of performance on both team cars -- a move that has proven to be a successful one."

Rhonda earned her career-best speed of 323.66 mph earlier this season at the SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada. She posted her previous career-best elapsed time -- 4.57-seconds -- last season at the NHRA Matco Tools Supernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey.

The other half of the husband-and-wife Top Fuel team, John "Bodie" Smith, posted his third career-best elapsed time of the season. Smith and his Prestone Products Top Fuel Dragster secured a 4.51-second elapsed time at 325 mph during the second round of Top Fuel qualifying. His earned his previous career-best elapsed time (4.54-seconds at 318 mph) at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at the Houston Raceway Park and his prior career-best elapsed time of 4.591-seconds at the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition, Smith made his first final-round appearance at the MAC Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida on March 16, 2003 against Brandon Bernstein.

Both Rhonda and John raced each other three times during Top Fuel elimination rounds at three consecutive NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events this season. Rhonda and her FRAM Filters sponsored Top Fuel Dragster has a two-to-one lead over John's Prestone Products-backed ride. The couple's last head-to-head meeting was at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas -- Rhonda and earned the win by one thousandth of a second (mere inches) with a 4.814-second elapsed time at 295 mph over John's 4.815-second elapsed time at 295 mph.

Hartman Motorsports is a family owned and operated automotive race team competing in the Top Fuel category of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Virgil Hartman is the team owner/tuner; daughter Rhonda Hartman-Smith drives the team's primary car (FRAM Filters Top Fuel Dragster) and son-in-law John "Bodie" Smith drives the second team car (Prestone Products Top Fuel Dragster).

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Series NHRA
Drivers Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Brandon Bernstein