Nitro News

WELCOME TO NHRA NITRO NEWS Welcome to the first edition of NHRA Nitro News, an electronic newsletter of the NHRA. For the past five years, the staffs of NHRA Online and National DRAGSTER have produced this weekly effort under the ...


Welcome to the first edition of NHRA Nitro News, an electronic newsletter of the NHRA. For the past five years, the staffs of NHRA Online and National DRAGSTER have produced this weekly effort under the title "E-Ticket!"


In an unprecedented move, the NHRA Technical Department is has made available for free download the NHRA Stock Car Classification Guides, which are used to position a vehicle in its proper class, anD NHRA Blueprint Specifications, which contain information vital to building NHRA-legal Stock and Super Stock engines. These documents previously were available for a fee, but NHRA is now making them available to all interested parties at no charge.


Don't count out Bruce Sarver just yet. The driver of Alan Johnson's new Firebird Funny Car may have failed to qualify in his second national event outing at the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals presented by Pennzoil, but he bounced back in post-event testing. Where he sped to 1,100- foot times of 4.93 at 290 mph at Firebird Int'l Raceway.


Hyabusa is Japanese for peregrine falcon, the world's fastest bird, but it's also Suzuki's latest entry into the high-tech world of sportbikes; in stock trim, is has run close to 200 mph. Hyabusa also will be the hot word this year in the Pro Stock Bike pits as reigning Winston champ Matt Hines and others will debut Hyabusa bodywork, designed and built by Dave Schultz and recently accepted for NHRA competition, on their machines before midyear. Hines will run his '99 Suzuki GSX-R at the PSB season-opening Mac Tools Gatornationals, but hopes to have a new GSX1300R Hyabusa body by the inaugural NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. "It's a pretty wild-looking body, and, from what I've seen, it looks very aerodynamic," said Hines. "It should help us toward our goal, which is to eventually run in the 6s at more than 200 mph." Star Racing team owner George Bryce also will abandon the GSX-R 750 bodywork that has been the class standard for more than a decade but plans to use the recently approved Suzuki TL1000R bodywork rather than the Hyabusa.


The PSB field will be further divisfied this year with the addition of the sport's first Pro Stock Honda this season by Greg Underdahl and new partner Dennis Mirante. The design is patterned after the popular CBR1100XX Blackbird sportbike. The revolutionary new bike, which Underdahl expects to debut at the Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals, will be powered by an engine built by Freedom Motorsports' Byron Hines.


Reggie Showers, a Pro Stock Bike racer who had both of his legs amputated below the knees following an electrocution accident when he was 14, has worked with the engineers at Prosthetic Design Inc. to develop prosthetic limbs that allow him to race comfortably at speeds of more than 185 mph. That relationship has now paid off for Showers, who signed PDI, and Damp Rid as sponsors, allowing him to attend, for the first time in his career, all 14 NHRA events this season. "A Pro Stock Bike has a pretty violent launch," said Showers. "Without the help of Prosthetic Design Inc. and its engineers, I would not be where I am today. They have taken cutting-edge technology learned from our drag racing relationship and now supply the industry with solutions that benefit both the clinical facilities and the amputee."


Still on the Bike beat, loo for Rob Korn, who made history as the first Harley-Davidson racer to qualify for a Pro Stock Bike field at an NHRA national event, to move from rider to crew chief this year, taking over the tuning chores for Screamin' Eagle rider Lori Francis and her FLH Ultraglide-bodied Harley- Davidson. A major factor in the decision to focus primarily on Francis' entry is the NHRA rule that allows V-twin- powered bikes like the Harley-Davidsons to compete at a 550-pound-minimum weight, 50 pounds lighter than Suzuki entries. At 180 pounds, Korn was unable to take advantage of the weight savings as well as Francis, who is substantially lighter.


Noted tuner and Pro Stock driver "Tricky Rickie" Smith has resigned -- after just two races -- as crew chief for two-time Winston champ Jim Yates and has taken a position as driver and team manager with KPK Motorsports Corp., which is partially owned by fellow Pro Stock driver and former Top Fuel pilot Kenny Koretsky. Smith will drive at the 21 races remaining on the NHRA circuit, racing his own car at select events when Koretsky is also competing and driving Koretsky's car at all races that Koretsky will miss. Yates will be his own crew chief for the immediate future. For more, see the story on NHRA Online. Meanwhile, Mike Smith, who was named assistant crew chief for Del Worsham's "red team" earlier this year, has left the Checker Schuck's Kragen team due to family commitments; Smith's wife and infant son live in Wisconsin while Worsham's team is based in Southern California. Look for his to take the seat of Ralph White's Top Fueler, perhaps as early as Gainesville. "Mike brought a lot to our team, but as the weeks passed it was obvious the race team needed to take a back seat to his family," said Worsham. "Being able to fly in to races on the weekends will be better for him. A weekend thing wasn't really something we could offer, because our rapidly growing program really demands full-time attention, so I'm happy for Mike that he's found a better fit. We wish him all the best driving, tuning, and with his family." The Worsham & Fink team plans to add another key tuner in the future.


Kenny Bernstein has found a neat way for he and his fans to commemorate his historic 301-mph blast at the 1992 Gatornationals. The barrier-breaking Bud King dragster resides in its authentic 300-mph state in the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona and the team recently borrowed one of the rear tires from the car to a company that has developed a method of producing a burnout stripe on the back of a T-shirt using the 300-mph tire. Bernstein will debut a limited-edition 300-mph burnout shirt in Gainesville, so fans can own a piece of history. Each shirt comes with a certificate of authenticity that lists the serial number of the Goodyear tire used on the historic run. The Bud King 300-mph tire will be returned to the dragster that sits in the NHRA Motorsports Museum to preserve its historical integrity.


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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Matt Hines , Kenny Bernstein , Reggie Showers , Kenny Koretsky , George Bryce , Mike Smit