Topeka Pro Stock notebook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 WESTERN AUTO PARTS AMERICA NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK *Double duty: Mike Edwards is one of the few NHRA Pro Stock drivers who also serves as crew chief for his car.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

WESTERN AUTO PARTS AMERICA NATIONALS PRO STOCK NOTEBOOK *Double duty: Mike Edwards is one of the few NHRA Pro Stock drivers who also serves as crew chief for his car. It's tough duty, and Edwards admits that the workload gets overwhelming at times. "This year it seems like it is," Edwards said. "It seems like I can't do either one of them this year." Edwards enjoys tuning just as much as driving, but he would hand over the tuning chores -- under one condition. "If it meant for the team to be successful," Edwards said. "My No. 1 goal is to be successful and make JK Racing as good as we possibly can. If that's what it takes, I'll be more than happy to do that." *Look out: Winston Pro Stock points leader Warren Johnson made NHRA history last month with a pass of 200.13 mph in the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird at Richmond, Va., the first 200-mph speed by an NHRA Pro Stock. If that doesn't spell enough trouble for his competition, Johnson also thinks that his engines will become even more powerful soon. "We've assembled an inventory of parts and have intensified our research-and-development program," Johnson said. "We're picking up the performance pace at just the right time, and I believe we're not too far away from stepping up the pace some more." Johnson set NHRA elapsed-time and speed national records of 6.883 seconds, 200.53 mph at Richmond. He is the defending champion of the Western Auto Parts America Nationals presented by Slick 50. *Hammonds starts second season: Denver Nuggets power forward Tom Hammonds plans to continue his second season of NHRA Pro Stock racing at this event. Hammonds, 30, from Crestview, Fla., failed to qualify in his NHRA season debut in the Winnebago Oldsmobile Cutlass at the Mopar Parts Nationals, May 15-18 at Englishtown, N.J. He was 32nd in the 35-car field with a best run of 8.124 seconds, 121.32 mph. "I got a taste of what it felt like to run in Pro Stock last year, and it has been hard to get it out of my mouth," Hammonds said. "It is kind of ironic, but I'd almost much rather be out racing in Topeka than banging under the boards with the likes of Karl Malone, Charles Barkley or Shawn Kemp." Hammonds, 6-foot-9, will compete in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series until late September, when he joins Nuggets' training camp. "I see my days in the NBA winding down," Hammonds said. "I can envision myself playing only another three or four years. That's the point of me making my move into Pro Stock now, because being Tom Hammonds the NBA basketball player -- as opposed to when I'm finished playing -- might open doors." Former NBA power forward Larry Nance also races in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Nance will drive the Summit Racing Oldsmobile Cutlass at this event. *Mopar to flex truck muscle: Veteran Pro Stock crew chiefs Mike Sullivan and Jim Hayter will guide the new Team Mopar NHRA Pro Stock Truck program. Two Dodge Dakota Pro Stock Trucks are scheduled to make exhibition passes at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, July 17-20 at Denver. Team Mopar Pro Stock teammates Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion will drive. Sullivan formerly was co-crew chief for Alderman and Geoffrion with the now-defunct Wayne County Speed Shop team. Hayter is a veteran mechanic with many NHRA Pro Stock teams. *Quick field: There's no doubt that the Pro Stock elapsed-time event record will fall at this event, Mike Edwards said. In fact, Edwards thinks the entire 16-car field could be quicker than the existing event record, a 7.033-second pass by Warren Johnson in 1995. "The track is usually awesome," Edwards said of Heartland Park Topeka. "It will be a 7-flat or 6.99 bump." All 16 qualified cars recorded six-second times at two events this season, the Pennzoil Nationals in late April at Richmond, Va., and the Mopar Parts Nationals earlier this month at Englishtown, N.J. *Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. May 30 and continues at 7 p.m. that evening. Qualifying ends with sessions at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. May 31. Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. June 1. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 10 a.m. May 29. *Tickets: Tickets are available for the Western Auto Parts America Nationals presented by Slick 50. Call Heartland Park Topeka at (800) 43- RACES. Tickets also are available at Ticketmaster outlets throughout the Midwest. *On TV: The Nashville Network (TNN) will televise two and one-half hours of live, semifinal- and final-round competition from the Western Auto Parts America Nationals presented by Slick 50 at 3:30 p.m. (CDT) June 1. *On the Web: The NHRA home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.goracing.com/nhra/ offers more information about NHRA Winston Drag Racing, including qualifying and eliminations results, news, point standings, statistics and driver biographies. -30-

5/20/97-WA4-080

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 Darrell Alderman , Warren Johnson , Scott Geoffrion , Mike Edwards , Larry Nance