Rockingham Winston Invitational fact sheet

Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 12:58:42 -0800 Contact: Rob Goodman (910) 741-5297 E-mail: goodmar@rjrt.com Sports Marketing Enterprises R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. 1997 WINSTON ...

Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 12:58:42 -0800 Contact: Rob Goodman (910) 741-5297 E-mail: goodmar@rjrt.com Sports Marketing Enterprises R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

1997 WINSTON INVITATIONAL Fact Sheet

WHAT: The ninth annual Winston Invitational, the all-star- event of the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

WHERE: Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham., N.C. Track is located on U.S. Highway 1, north of Rockingham, directly across from North Carolina Motor Speedway.

WHEN: April 4-6, 1997.

WHO: The sport's most prominent touring professionals including reigning Winston champions John Force (Funny Car), Kenny Bernstein (Top Fuel), Jim Yates (Pro Stock) and David Schultz (Pro Stock Motorcycle) plus top drivers from the NHRA's Federal-Mogul Series competing in the Castrol GTX Challenge.

PURSE: The richest race of the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series will pay $100,000 to the champions in Top Fuel and Funny Car, $50,000 to the Pro Stock winner and $10,000 to the Pro Stock Motorcycle champion. Those eliminated in the first round of Top Fuel and Funny Car will earn a record $10,000 each, part of a total guaranteed purse of $692,700.

DEFENDING Reigning Winston champion John Force last year won the CHAMPIONS: Winston Invitational for a record third time. Blaine Johnson, winner of the 1996 Top Fuel title, was killed in an accident last fall at Indianapolis, but will be represented by rookie Gary Scelzi, driver the Johnson family's Team Winston dragster. Warren Johnson's 1996 Pro Stock victory was his first NHRA victory in a Pontiac after 14 seasons driving Oldsmobiles.

SPECIAL AWARDS Jerzees Activewear 1OK Awards. Jerzees Activewear, a division of Russell Athletic, will pay the sport's biggest bonuses ($10,000 each) to the No. 1 qualifiers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock.

Close Call Phone Card Low ET Award. $1,000 to the No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle from the Close Call phone card sweepstakes.

Freeman Motor Company Award: $500 to the No. 1 qualifier in Super Stock and Stock plus $1,000 to the winner in both categories Winston Top 10 Bonuses. $2,000 to the Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers presently in the Top 10 in Winston points; $1,000 to the Top 10 in Pro Stock; $500 to the Top 10 in Pro Stock Bike.

NITE OF FIRE: Castrol again will present the Friday Nite of Fire qualifying session in conjunction with Western Auto, Pep Boys, Wal-mart, K-mart and Advance Auto Parts.

SCHEDULE: Thursday, April 3 -- Pit parking and registration, noon-6 p.m. Friday, April 4 -- Gates open 8 a.m.; pro qualifying, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 5 -- Gates open 7 a.m.; pro qualifying, noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, April 6 -- Gates open 7 a.m., pre-race ceremonies 11 a.m.; professional eliminations, noon.

SPECIAL Winston Invitational Golf Tournament at the Jack EVENTS: Nicklaus-designed Legacy Golf Course, shotgun start at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 3.

Business After Hours, hosted by Rockingham Dragway, the Richmond County and Moore County Chambers of Commerce, 4-7 p.m., Thursday, April 3, at the racetrack.

TICKETS: Rockingham's one-price tickets include free parking and pit access. Tickets are $25 Friday, $35 Saturday and $35 Sunday. Reserved seats are an additional $10 Saturday and $15 Sunday. Junior tickets (ages 6-12) are $10 daily. Children under six are free, but must have a reserved seat ticket to sit in the reserved seat grandstand. An event Super Saver ticket is $85 in advance, a savings of $10 over the three days. Admission to Friday's Castrol Nite of Fire qualifying session is free to those who submit an original, computerized receipt for a case of Castrol from Advance Auto Parts, K-mart, Wal-Mart, Pep Boys or Western Auto.

OTHER Rockingham Dragway (910) 582-3400; CONTACTS: Steve Earwood or Dave Densmore

NHRA: Jim Edmunds at (818) 914-4761

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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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , John Force , Gary Scelzi