Reading Pro Stock notebook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 PIONEER ELECTRONICS KEYSTONE NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK *Watchful eye: It will only take one run down the quarter-mile at Maple Grove Raceway for Tom Hammonds...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 PIONEER ELECTRONICS KEYSTONE NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK *Watchful eye: It will only take one run down the quarter-mile at Maple Grove Raceway for Tom Hammonds to forget his rolling crash during the 1996 Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals. "I'll look at it, exactly where that spot was," Hammonds said. "And when I go past it, it will be out of my mind after that. Just like that." Hammonds lost control of his Oldsmobile Cutlass about 300 feet into the run. It careened from the left to the right lane, rolled and clipped the retaining wall next to the right lane. Hammonds was unhurt. *Shift in focus: Tom Hammonds admits that he could squeeze in one more NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series event before Denver Nuggets' training camp starts, but he doesn't want his preparation for the rigors of the upcoming NBA season to suffer. "I need to get back and get my mental frame of mind back into basketball," Hammonds said. "I need to just get used to the upcoming season and get ready for it." Despite the time demands of racing full-time during the summer, Hammonds stays fit for the NBA season by running and weight training. "I should be in pretty good shape," said Hammonds, an eight-year NBA veteran. "That's the main thing, as far as training camp is concerned, to come back in good shape and learn the plays. "It's a tough process. It's a lot of hard work, a lot of running and a lot of physical conditioning. It's nothing that I'm not used to." *Family affair: Kurt Johnson's second consecutive victory at the U.S. Nationals in the ACDelco Pontiac Firebird kept his family in the winner's circle at Indianapolis Raceway Park for the sixth consecutive year. Johnson's father, Warren Johnson, won this event four consecutive years from 1992-95. "It's unbelievable," Kurt Johnson said. "Who could think that Dad would win here four years in a row, and then I would win the last two. If you're going to win a race, if you're going to shine anywhere, Indy is the place to shine." Johnson has encountered both shiny and dull moments at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals during his career. He won this event in 1993 but failed to qualify in 1996. *It's all over: No one will catch Jim Yates this year for the NHRA Winston championship, Pro Stock driver Steve Schmidt said. "No chance," Schmidt said. "I think Jim Yates has the best program out there. He has the best car, is making the best runs and has a lot of confidence." Yates leads second-place Warren Johnson by 144 points in the NHRA Winston point standings. Kurt Johnson is third, 160 behind. *First time for everything: Jim Yates suffered his initial first- round loss of the season at the U.S. Nationals when he lost to Bruce Allen. But the early loss didn't hurt Yates in the point standings, as second-place Warren Johnson also lost in the first round, to Scott Geoffrion. Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson and Pro Stock Motorcycle riders Matt Hines and John Myers remain the only NHRA professional competitors to win at least one round in every event this season. *Top spots crucial: Statistics show that a Pro Stock driver has little chance to win an NHRA national event this season if they qualify outside the top four. Only three of 16 Pro Stock titles have been won this season by drivers who qualified fifth or lower. Tom Martino won the Slick 50 Nationals and Pontiac Excitement Nationals from the No. 7 spot, and Mike Edwards qualified 10th en route to a victory at the Northwest Nationals. *Truckin': The exhibition NHRA Pro Stock Truck program will continue at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals as Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford pickups will race against each other in exhibition passes. Longtime NHRA competitors Jerry Haas and John Lingenfelter will drive two Chevrolet S-10 trucks, Team Mopar Pro Stock drivers Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion will drive two Dodge Dakotas, and Roy Hill and Richie Stevens will drive two Ford Rangers. The Pro Stock Truck program started at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals, June 12-15 at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, with Chevrolet exhibition passes by Haas and Lingenfelter. Dodge made its debut at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, July 17-20 at Denver. Ford unveiled its trucks at the Autolite Nationals, July 25-27 at Sonoma, Calif. The Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford trucks each are powered by a 358 cubic-inch, eight-cylinder engine. The minimum weight of the trucks with driver is 2,300 pounds. *Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. Sept. 12 and continues at 7 p.m. that evening. Qualifying ends with sessions at noon and 4 p.m. Sept. 13. Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. Sept. 14. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11. *Tickets: Tickets are available for the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals. Call Maple Grove Raceway at (610) 856-7200. *On TV: TNN will televise 90 minutes of live, final-round competition from the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 14. TNN also will televise one hour of live, first-round competition at 11 a.m. (EDT) Sept. 14. *On the Web: The NHRA home page on the World Wide Web at offers more information about NHRA Winston Drag Racing, including qualifying and eliminations results, news, point standings, statistics and driver biographies. -30-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , John Lingenfelter , Tom Hammonds , Tom Martino , Scott Geoffrion , Steve Schmidt , Jerry Haas