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Millican Wins Top Fuel at IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals

March 28, 2004
Larry Sullivan
Contact: Travis Reynolds

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 28, 2004) - Clay Millican won the 3rd Annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs Sunday at San Antonio Raceway. Millican, of Drummonds, Tenn., ran the quarter-mile in 4.596-seconds at 311.49 mph during an uncontested final round.

Glen Kerunsky, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Pro Modified; Mark Thomas, Louisville, Ohio, Funny Car; and John Montecalvo, Center Moriches, N.Y., Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock were winners in their respective categories.

In round one of Top Fuel, Millican defeated Rick Cooper with a 4.583 ET at 320.36 mph. Millican held the track records for both ET and speed, and with this run, he reset both. Bruce Litton defeated Galveston's Mitch King in round one. King was late off the tree, and Litton made a solid pass: 4.790, 297.48. Litton went on to defeat Grant Flowers in round two, but after crossing the finish line struck the wall. Litton was airlifted from the track and later released from the hospital.

"I'm fine. I've got a headache and concussion," said Litton, after returning to the track. "They released me to race, and I wanted to come back, but knew it wasn't possible.

"The bottom line is, the lord was with me today. It was a horrendous crash, and I feel very fortunate. I hardly have a scratch on me."

After Litton's accident, the semifinal round between Millican and Todd Paton became the final round. Millican beat Paton off the line, both drivers lost traction at half track, but Millican's recovery was more successful and he crossed the finish at 5.799-seconds. Millican came back and laid down a good run for the San Antonio fans.

"It's a weird way to win a race," said Millican. "Sitting in the water box and seeing Bruce crash like that, it was a strange feeling. We've beaten each other up all over the country, we've raced each other so much. It was tough. But you have to go out there and hope it doesn't happen to you.

"I got the word as I was getting in the car that Bruce was on his way back and I knew the grandstands were full here in Texas and decided to step on the pedal and put on a good show."

In Pro Modified, Kerunsky, who entered the day qualified No. 16, took out No. 1 qualifier Zach Barklage in round one with a 6.328, 223.99. He then beat Mitch Stott, defending Pro Modified world champion, with a better reaction time and 6.286 ET. He advanced to the semifinals to face Steve Vick and defeated Vick with a 6.265. He met Harold Martin in the final round, taking the race with a 6.275, 218.94.

"Coming from 16 and beating these guys today was just awesome," said Kerunsky. "Last year we did well in IHRA, a few semifinals, and we thought we were doing really good. Today we think we're doing fantastic. It's great to get a win under our belt with IHRA."

Martin began the weekend hitting the wall Friday night, but came back Saturday and held the No. 1 qualifying spot for one round. He entered Sunday qualified second and defeated Pat Musi in round one with a 6.690, 208.49. Martin then faced former Pro Modified world champion Shannon Jenkins. In a rare move, Jenkins left early and lost the race with a red light. Martin advanced to the final round after Rick Distefano could not make the semifinal round.

Funny Car winner Thomas met John Sullivan in round one. Thomas shook the tires but recovered to defeat Sullivan with a 5.850, 240.00. His round two opponent was Ronnie Midyette. Midyette deep staged, but reacted too quickly and lost with a red light. Thomas blew off the blower belt, but snuck away with the win and advanced to the finals against defending world champion Rob Atchison. Thomas defeated Atchison with a 5.879,239.40, with the difference coming from Thomas' better reaction time.

"It feels great to win the opening race of the season," said Thomas. "Rob was running fast and we were running close all weekend. To win on a hole-shot is a really good feeling. The car is running great and when I can cut a light I know I'm on my game plan. I'm ready to race and this is what we came for."

Atchison took a free pass in round one as Chris Foster couldn't make the call. The defending world champion made a good pass with a 5.861, 238.85. In round two, Atchison defeated Terry McMillen. McMillen had the better reaction time, but Atchison ran a 5.849 ET for the win and advanced to the final round.

Sunoco Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier Montecalvo met Bert Jackson in round one. Jackson had the starting line advantage and Montecalvo came close to the wall. He quickly recovered and drove around Jackson with a 6.580, 213.03. In round two he faced Frank Gugliotta. It was Montecalvo all the way with a 6.559. Brian Gahm, defending world champion, was waiting for Montecalvo in the third round. But again it was Montecalvo with the starting line advantage and laying down his third consecutive 213 mph pass of the day. He took out John Nobile in the final round. Montecalvo used a starting line advantage to win, as both drivers ran 213 mph, and Nobile actually covering the quarter-mile in less time.

"This is just a tremendous way to start the year," said Montecalvo. "It really builds momentum and morale with the team. This is the first race we have Jeff (former Pro Stock competitor) and Cindy Dobbins on board and my guys who have been with me for a while, we've just gelled together like you couldn't believe.

"I think you'll see this Chevy in the winner's circle quite a few times this season."

Nobile began the day qualified third and defeated Carl Baker in round one. Baker had a huge advantage at the starting line, but Nobile ran him down to take the win. He then defeated Pete Berner in round two and met Elijah Morton in round three. Nobile again trailed at the start, but caught Morton and ran around him to advance to the final round against Montecalvo.

The next event on the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series is the 34th Annual Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, N.C., April 23 - 25.

About IHRA

Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA is the fastest growing drag racing sanctioning body in North America. IHRA-sanctioned professional, sportsman and bracket racing provides competition opportunities for drivers at all levels, developing future starts through the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries and the Junior Dragster Series. IHRA recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year agreement with SPEED Channel to televise the Hooters Drag Racing Series Saturday nights, reaching 63 million households in North America. IHRA is part of Clear Channel Entertainment's Motor Sports division. Please visit www.ihra.com  for more information.

MARION, Texas -- Monday's final results from the Third annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks & RVs and the San Antonio Express-News at San Antonio Raceway. The $1.1 million race is the first of 12 in the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Clay Millican, 4.596 seconds, 311.49 mph def. Bruce Litton, broke.

Pro Modified -- Glen Kerunsky, Chevy Bel Air, 6.275, 218.94 def. Harold Martin, Pontiac Grand Am, 7.110, 146.85.

Funny Car -- Mark Thomas, Dodge Avenger, 5.897, 239.40 def. Rob Atchison, Pontiac Firebird, 5.870, 238.85.

Pro Stock -- John Montecalvo, Chevy Cavalier, 6.566, 213.40 def. John Nobile, Ford Escort, 6.542, 213.13.

Top Stock -- Vance Cummins, Dodge Dart, 16.786, 77.83 def. Danny Byrd, Chevy Nova, foul.

Top Sportsman -- Ricky Adkins, Chevy Camaro, 7.559, 172.43 def. Darrell Froboese, Ford Thunderbird, 7.726, 176.17.

Top Dragster -- Daniel Fjeldahl, 12.337, 73.34 def. Gary Williams, foul.

Quick Rod -- Ron Folk, Dragster, 8.894, 173.99 def. Damon Dabbs, Dragster, foul.

Super Rod -- Michael Pennington, Ford Roadster, 9.919, 157.82 def. Mike Carlson, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 9.912, 152.69.

Hot Rod -- Bill Levatino Jr., Chevy Camaro, 10.885, 138.09 def. John Yamaguchi, Chevy Nova, 10.841, 131.09.

Stock -- Nick Folk, Chevy Camaro, 11.070, 115.46 def. Bill McClister, Ford Mustang, 11.271, 117.61.

Super Stock -- Monty Bogan Jr, Chevy Camaro, 9.196, 151.80 def. Michael Lyons, Ford Probe, 8.756, 156.57.

ET Box -- Tim Lee, Buick Regal, 11.716, 109.32 def. Scott Ball, Chevy Bel Air, 10.795, 114.95.

ET No Box -- Roger Grant, Chevy Nova, 12.399, 107.44 def. Russell Clawson, Chevy Camaro, 10.481, 128.09.

ET Bracket -- Tim Lee, Buick Regal, 11.699, 114.36 def. Roger Grant, Chevy Nova, 12.392, 107.61.

MARION, Texas -- Final round-by-round results from the Third annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks & RVs and the San Antonio Express-News at San Antonio Raceway, the first of 12 events in the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series - TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE -- Todd Paton, 5.003, 253.23 def. Tim Cullinan, 5.079, 248.25; Bruce Litton, 4.790, 297.48 def. Mitch King, 6.195, 136.69; Grant Flowers, 5.145, 271.52 def. Mark Kinsella, broke; Clay Millican, 4.583, 320.36 def. Rick Cooper, 12.646, 78.32; SEMIFINALS -- Litton, 4.817, 302.69 def. Flowers, 5.487, 193.18; Millican, 5.799, 247.93 def. Paton, 5.977, 205.51; FINAL -- Millican, 4.596, 311.49 def. Litton, broke.

PRO MODIFIED:

ROUND ONE -- Mitch Stott, Chevy Corvette, 6.292, 225.97 def. Von Smith, Ford Mustang, 15.687, 52.13; Shannon Jenkins, Chevy Camaro, 6.393, 224.32 def. Mike Janis, Corvette, 6.557, 220.94; Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.293, 224.02 def. Frankie Taylor, Corvette, 6.280, 227.00; Steve Vick, Camaro, 6.287, 224.10 def. Al Billes, Corvette, 8.792, 104.66; Rick Distefano, Corvette, 6.300, 225.75 def. Thomas Patterson, Willys, 6.529, 212.43; Glen Kerunsky, Chevy Bel Air, 6.328, 223.99 def. Zach Barklage, Pontiac Grand Am, 7.263, 216.51; Harold Martin, Grand Am, 6.690, 208.49 def. Pat Musi, Bel Air, 8.025, 120.92; Scotty Cannon, Studebaker, 6.235, 227.50 def. Dennis Radford, Dodge Viper, 6.288, 223.88; QUARTERFINALS -- Martin, 6.300, 220.91 def. Jenkins, foul; Distefano, 6.236, 210.08 def. Castellana, 6.318, 223.36; Kerunsky, 6.286, 224.51 def. M. Stott, 6.321, 226.09; Vick, 6.479, 221.56 def. Cannon, 6.868, 179.64; SEMIFINALS -- Kerunsky, 6.265, 225.07 def. Vick, 7.159, 146.34; Martin, 8.072, 130.85 def. Distefano, broke; FINAL -- Kerunsky, 6.275, 218.94 def. Martin, 7.110, 146.85.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE -- Rob Atchison, Pontiac Firebird, 5.861, 238.85 was unopposed; Mark Thomas, Dodge Avenger, 5.850, 240.00 def. John Sullivan, Pontiac Firehawk, 6.109, 227.57; Ronnie Midyette, Chevy Camaro, 5.935, 236.92 def. Ray Drew, Ford Mustang, broke; Terry McMillen, Avenger, 5.992, 234.57 def. Chris Foster, Avenger, foul; SEMIFINALS -- Atchison, 5.849, 239.14 def. McMillen, 8.731, 93.53; Thomas, 8.131, 110.15 def. Midyette, foul; FINAL -- Thomas, 5.897, 239.40 def. Atchison, 5.870, 238.85.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE -- Frank Gugliotta, Ford Escort, 6.611, 212.06 def. John Bartunek, Chevy Cavalier, foul; Tony Gillig, Ford Mustang, 6.706, 210.83 def. Charlie Peppers, Mustang, 8.872, 128.30; Pete Berner, Mustang, 6.575, 209.14 def. Steve Spiess, Cavalier, 24.006, 30.53; Brian Gahm, Mustang, 6.571, 212.39 def. Mike Bell, Ford ZX2, 6.882, 163.37; Rick Jones, Dodge Stratus, 6.565, 211.83 def. Robert Patrick, Escort, 6.683, 210.90; John Nobile, Escort, 6.570, 213.40 def. Carl Baker, Mercury Cougar, 6.651, 210.08; Elijah Morton, Mustang, 6.549, 212.46 def. Larry O'Brien, Stratus, foul; John Montecalvo, Cavalier, 6.580, 213.03 def. Bert Jackson, Cavalier, 6.704, 207.37; QUARTERFINALS -- Montecalvo, 6.559, 213.33 def. Gugliotta, 11.268, 76.29; Nobile, 6.529, 213.47 def. Berner, 6.557, 211.53; Gahm, 6.581, 211.63 def. Jones, 6.575, 211.59; Morton, 6.599, 211.43 def. Gillig, 6.662, 210.05; SEMIFINALS -- Montecalvo, 6.551, 213.47 def. Gahm, 6.610, 208.33; Nobile, 6.545, 213.23 def. Morton, 6.605, 211.63; FINAL -- Montecalvo, 6.566, 213.40 def. Nobile, 6.542, 213.13.

MARION, Texas -- Point standings (top 10) for IHRA professional categories following the Third annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks & RVs and the San Antonio Express-News at San Antonio Raceway, the first of 12 events in the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1. Clay Millican, 131; 2. Bruce Litton, 104; 3. Todd Paton, 87; 4. Grant Flowers, 85; 5. Mark Kinsella, 70; 6. Tim Cullinan, 68; 7. Mitch King, 66; 8. Rick Cooper, 64; 9. (tie) Mike Bowers, 25; Gary Cooper, 25; Gene Davis, 25; Doug Foley, 25; Dave Hirata, 25; Chris Karamesines, 25; Bobby Lagana Jr, 25.

Pro Modified

1. Glen Kerunsky, 101; 2. Harold Martin, 95; 3. Rick Distefano, 74; 4. Steve Vick, 64; 5. Scotty Cannon, 52; 6. Shannon Jenkins, 47; 7. Mike Castellana, 46; 8. Zach Barklage, 36; 9. (tie) Al Billes, 33; Mitch Stott, 33.

Funny Car

1. Mark Thomas, 95; 2. Rob Atchison, 76; 3. Ronnie Midyette, 54; 4. Terry McMillen, 37; 5. Ray Drew, 31; 6. John Sullivan, 30; 7. Chris Foster, 18.

Pro Stock

1. John Montecalvo, 116; 2. John Nobile, 94; 3. Elijah Morton, 75; 4. Brian Gahm, 72; 5. Rick Jones, 53; 6. Pete Berner, 51; 7. Tony Gillig, 50; 8. Frank Gugliotta, 49; 9. John Bartunek, 28; 10. Charlie Peppers, 27.

Results provided by the FastNews Network,
courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment
** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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19-Year-Old Barklage Tops in Pro Modified at
Amalie Oil Texas Nationals Millican No. 1 in Top Fuel

March 27, 2004
Larry Sullivan
Contact: Travis Reynolds

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 27, 2004) - Zach Barklage, 19, from Lake Ozark, Mo., took the top Pro
Modified qualifying spot Saturday at the 3rd Annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by
Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs at San Antonio Raceway. Defending Top Fuel world champion Clay
Millican, from Drummonds, Tenn., maintained his top ranking from Friday, running a 4.631 second
elapsed time at 309.77 mph.

Other top qualifiers include Rob Atchison, London, Ontario, Canada (Funny Car); and John
Montecalvo, Center Moriches, N.Y. (Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock).

During the final pass of the evening, Millican laid down the 4.631. He is the defending champion
of this event and has the top speed and low elapsed time for the weekend. Humble, Texas-native
Mark Kinsella qualified second, followed by Bruce Litton and Tim Cullinan.

Barklage jumped into the first number 1 qualifying spot of his career during the final Pro
Modified session with a 6.208 second, 229.16 mph run. The 19-year-old driver reset the track
speed record with that run. Harold Martin, who nearly ended his weekend by hitting the wall
Friday, is qualified second, followed by Rick DiStefano, Al Billes and Scotty Cannon.

Defending Funny Car champion Atchison kept his hold on the field, remaining number 1 qualifier
while breaking the track elapsed time record with a 5.814. Mark Thomas, a five-time world
champion, qualified second, with Ronnie Midyette and Chris Foster third and fourth.

Montecalvo ended Friday in the fourth spot but moved to number 1 during Saturday's second
qualifying session with his 6.533 second, 213.57 mph effort, resetting both ends of the track
Pro Stock record. Elijah Morton, John Nobile and Rick Jones round out second through fourth,
with the bump spot set at 6.643 by Bert Jackson. Jason Collins and Doug Kirk, both of whom won
events during the 2003 season, did not qualify.

About IHRA

Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA is the fastest growing drag racing sanctioning body in
North America. IHRA-sanctioned professional, sportsman and bracket racing provides competition
opportunities for drivers at all levels, developing future starts through the Hooters IHRA Drag
Racing Series, Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries and the Junior Dragster Series. IHRA
recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year agreement with SPEED Channel to televise the
Hooters Drag Racing Series Saturday nights, reaching 63 million households in North America.
IHRA is part of Clear Channel Entertainment's Motor Sports division. Please visit www.ihra.com
<\\server\treynolds\My Documents\Press Packet\2003\IHRA tagline.doc> for more information.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the Third
annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks & RVs and the San Antonio
Express-News at San Antonio Raceway, the first of 12 events in the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag
Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday.

Top Fuel -- 1. Clay Millican, 4.631 seconds, 309.77 mph vs. 8. Rick Cooper, 5.027,
230.61; 2. Mark Kinsella, 4.669, 303.30 vs. 7. Grant Flowers, 4.963, 279.96; 3. Bruce Litton,
4.785, 304.25 vs. 6. Mitch King, 4.883, 255.63; 4. Tim Cullinan, 4.817, 283.91 vs. 5. Todd
Paton, 4.882, 288.33.

Pro Modified -- 1. Zach Barklage, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.208, 229.16 vs. 16. Glen
Kerunsky, Chevy Bel Air, 6.308, 224.25; 2. Harold Martin, Grand Am, 6.218, 226.47 vs. 15. Pat
Musi, Bel Air, 6.301, 218.83; 3. Rick Distefano, Chevy Corvette, 6.223, 224.85 vs. 14. Thomas
Patterson, Willys, 6.296, 221.82; 4. Al Billes, Corvette, 6.224, 226.96 vs. 13. Steve Vick,
Chevy Camaro, 6.288, 223.10; 5. Scotty Cannon, Studebaker, 6.227, 228.15 vs. 12. Dennis
Radford, Dodge Viper, 6.284, 223.73; 6. Frankie Taylor, Corvette, 6.231, 226.70 vs. 11. Mike
Castellana, Camaro, 6.281, 223.43; 7. Mike Janis, Corvette, 6.239, 228.00 vs. 10. Shannon
Jenkins, Camaro, 6.279, 224.43; 8. Von Smith, Ford Mustang, 6.241, 228.61 vs. 9. Mitch Stott,
Corvette, 6.265, 226.73.

Funny Car -- 1. Rob Atchison, Pontiac Firebird, 5.814, 239.78 vs. Bye; 2. Mark Thomas,
Dodge Avenger, 5.856, 240.38 vs. 7. John Sullivan, Pontiac Firehawk, 6.140, 229.12; 3. Ronnie
Midyette, Chevy Camaro, 5.946, 240.81 vs. 6. Ray Drew, Ford Mustang, 6.034, 227.50; 4. Chris
Foster, Avenger, 5.964, 235.68 vs. 5. Terry McMillen, Avenger, 6.019, 235.10.

Pro Stock -- 1. John Montecalvo, Chevy Cavalier, 6.533, 213.57 vs. 16. Bert Jackson,
Cavalier, 6.643, 208.49; 2. Elijah Morton, Ford Mustang, 6.544, 212.29 vs. 15. Larry O'Brien,
Dodge Stratus, 6.629, 209.79; 3. John Nobile, Ford Escort, 6.545, 213.27 vs. 14. Carl Baker,
Mercury Cougar, 6.616, 210.67; 4. Rick Jones, Stratus, 6.553, 212.06 vs. 13. Robert Patrick,
Escort, 6.605, 212.26; 5. Brian Gahm, Mustang, 6.559, 211.76 vs. 12. Mike Bell, Ford ZX2,
6.603, 211.00; 6. Pete Berner, Mustang, 6.566, 210.90 vs. 11. Steve Spiess, Cavalier, 6.593,
211.56; 7. Tony Gillig, Mustang, 6.568, 211.83 vs. 10. Charlie Peppers, Mustang, 6.589, 212.03;
8. Frank Gugliotta, Escort, 6.577, 212.96 vs. 9. John Bartunek, Cavalier, 6.588, 212.49.

Results provided by the FastNews Network,
courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment
** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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Millican Leads IHRA Qualifying at Amalie Oil Texas Nationals

March 26, 2004
Larry Sullivan
Contact: Travis Reynolds

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 26, 2004) - Clay Millican led first day Top Fuel qualifying Friday at the 3rd Annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs at San Antonio Raceway. Millican, of Drummonds, Tenn., ran the quarter-mile in 4.642-seconds at 303.23 mph to claim the top spot.

Other No. 1 qualifiers include Al Billes, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, (Pro Modified); Rob Atchison, London, Ontario, Canada, (Funny Car); and Rick Jones, Galesburg, Ill., (Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock).

Millican opened the 2003 season with a win at the Texas Nationals and went on to claim nine more events en route to his third consecutive Top Fuel World Championship. He holds the ET and speed record for San Antonio Raceway at 4.591, 319.98. Other drivers holding top spots in Top Fuel include Mark Kinsella, Humble, Texas, in second, Todd Paton third, and Mitch King, Galveston, Texas, fourth. Bruce Litton is No. 9 of an eight-car qualified field.

After the first round of Pro Modified qualifying, Billes was No. 2 but came back in the second session with a 6.224. Scotty Cannon, a former six-time World Champion, was No. 1 for two runs before being bumped to the second spot. Von Smith is third.

Although missing this event last season, Atchison won six races and his first career Funny Car World Championship in 2003. He holds the No. 1 spot with a 5.853, 239.31. Mark Thomas and Chris Foster sit second and third.

Jones moved into the top Pro Stock spot in the second qualifying session with a 6.553, 212.06. Jones is another competitor looking to repeat his win here at San Antonio Raceway from 2003. Elijah Morton holds the No. 2 spot with Brian Gahm and John Montecalvo third and fourth. Montecalvo set the track speed record at 212.26 mph.

Qualifying resumes Saturday with final eliminations Sunday. The Amalie Oil Texas Nationals is the first event of the twelve-race 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series.

About IHRA

Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA is the fastest growing drag racing sanctioning body in North America. IHRA-sanctioned professional, sportsman and bracket racing provides competition opportunities for drivers at all levels, developing future starts through the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries and the Junior Dragster Series. IHRA recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year agreement with SPEED Channel to televise the Hooters Drag Racing Series Saturday nights, reaching 63 million households in North America. IHRA is part of Clear Channel Entertainment's Motor Sports division. Please visit www.ihra.com  for more information.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Results Friday after qualifying for the Third annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks & RVs and the San Antonio Express-News at San Antonio Raceway, first of 12 events in the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.

Top Fuel -- 1. Clay Millican, 4.642 seconds, 303.23 mph; 2. Mark Kinsella, 4.728, 303.30; 3. Todd Paton, 4.882, 288.33; 4. Mitch King, 4.883, 242.19; 5. Bobby Lagana Jr, 5.035, 291.89; 6. Doug Foley, 5.070, 283.43; 7. John Sipple, 5.282, 242.89; 8. Gene Davis, 5.314, 224.96.

Pro Modified -- 1. Al Billes, Chevy Corvette, 6.224, 225.86; 2. Scotty Cannon, Studebaker, 6.227, 228.15; 3. Von Smith, Ford Mustang, 6.241, 228.61; 4. Frankie Taylor, Corvette, 6.253, 224.62; 5. Mitch Stott, Corvette, 6.265, 226.70; 6. Mike Janis, Corvette, 6.278, 227.88; 7. Shannon Jenkins, Chevy Camaro, 6.279, 224.43; 8. Zach Barklage, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.281, 226.51; 9. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.283, 222.29; 10. Rick Distefano, Corvette, 6.295, 217.28; 11. Thomas Patterson, Willys, 6.296, 221.82; 12. Glen Kerunsky, Chevy Bel Air, 6.308, 224.25; 13. Steve Vick, Camaro, 6.311, 222.47; 14. Dennis Radford, Dodge Viper, 6.326, 222.95; 15. Pat Moore, Bel Air, 6.337, 223.17; 16. Steve Engel, Corvette, 6.350, 223.39.

Funny Car -- 1. Rob Atchison, Pontiac Firebird, 5.853, 239.53; 2. Mark Thomas, Dodge Avenger, 5.856, 240.38; 3. Chris Foster, Avenger, 5.989, 234.57; 4. Terry McMillen, Avenger, 6.019, 235.10; 5. Ronnie Midyette, Chevy Camaro, 6.030, 240.38; 6. Ray Drew, Ford Mustang, 6.034, 227.50; 7. John Sullivan, Pontiac Firehawk, 6.219, 206.04.

Pro Stock -- 1. Rick Jones, Dodge Stratus, 6.553, 212.06; 2. Elijah Morton, Ford Mustang, 6.553, 211.89; 3. Brian Gahm, Mustang, 6.559, 211.76; 4. John Montecalvo, Chevy Cavalier, 6.572, 212.26; 5. Tony Gillig, Mustang, 6.578, 211.83; 6. Charlie Peppers, Mustang, 6.589, 211.33; 7. John Nobile, Ford Escort, 6.603, 212.16; 8. Robert Patrick, Escort, 6.608, 211.86; 9. Frank Gugliotta, Escort, 6.611, 211.69; 10. John Bartunek, Cavalier, 6.617, 211.39; 11. Steve Spiess, Cavalier, 6.623, 210.50; 12. Mike Bell, Ford ZX2, 6.633, 210.67; 13. Pete Berner, Mustang, 6.640, 210.90; 14. Larry O'Brien, Stratus, 6.641, 209.79; 15. Chuck DeMory, Escort, 6.718, 207.11; 16. Robert Mansfield, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.751, 208.42.

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Scotty Cannon returns to Hooters IHRA Drag Racing
Competition during the IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals

March 22, 2004
Contact: Bobby Bennett, Jr., Harley Communications

SAN ANTONIO, Texas  The IHRA's prodigal son is back. Just six years after his emotional departure from the sanctioning body that helped him earn a premiere ride in the NHRA's nitro Funny Car division, the Oakley-sponsored driver will be back in his old stomping grounds for this weekend's IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs at San Antonio Raceway. The trademark Mohawk hairdo is intact, his old flamed '53 Studebaker has already plunked down six-teens in testing and the popular Oakley-sponsored icon who can still pack them in the small (and big) venues is aiming to pick up where he left off in 1998 at the IHRA World Finals in Shreveport, La.

 

Cannon never got over finishing runner-up to Shannon Jenkins at that race. There's a lot more fuel burning in his physical motor as makes a run for the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing championship.

 

There are a lot of new tough drivers to deal with now like Mitch Stott, Mike Janis, Thomas Patterson and Mike Castellana.

 

Then there was 'ole Shannon (Jenkins) and we used to mix it up back in the day.

 

Back in the day, Cannon can spin some tales on that. Those days seemed distant when he and Jenkins missed the cut for the eight-car NHRA Gatornationals field. Both were ranked in the top 16 of qualifiers.

 

We just got behind early and ran out of times and chances, Cannon explained. We are staying over and testing on Monday and Tuesday. I'd rather take a butt-whipping than to DNQ.

 

Qualifying for the IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals kicks off on Friday and concludes on Saturday. Final eliminations are slated for Sunday.

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IHRA Summit SuperSeries Sportsman Program Kicks-Off April 1

March 17, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (March 17, 2004) – In two weeks, racers throughout the country will head to their local dragstrip with one thing in mind: to become the 2004 Summit SuperSeries World Champion.

The program, which rewards sportsman racers competing at IHRA-sanctioned tracks in the U.S., Canada and for the first year, Aruba, enters its third year and will again crown a Box world champion and a No Box world champion. Drivers participate at their home track, and their final score for the season is compared on a divisional, or regional, level, and ultimately on a national level, to crown the two world champions. Up for grabs for each world champion is over $100,000 in cash and prizes.

"What makes this amazing program work is the fact that racers can compete at their local track, within 20 miles from home, and still chase an IHRA World Championship," said IHRA Director of Track Services Tom Kreager. "And the payouts go well beyond the two $100,000 prize packages for the two world champions. Racers are paid for their divisional accomplishments and accomplishments at their home track.

"Last season IHRA and Summit Racing Equipment paid over 500 racers."

How it Works

Participants race at their home track within the Box or No Box category. The racers first 40 rounds of competition are factored in to a score called a Performance Rating (PR), which is simply the number of rounds won, divided by 40. In other words, the PR is like a batting average, based on a fixed amount of ‘at bats’. Each round of competition is like an ‘at-bat’ (except there are no walks). Win the round and your PR increases, lose and it goes down.

The points are tabulated by IHRA after every weekend and the drivers are compared at their home track within their declared class. The best driver from each track advances to the divisional level and is compared with the best drivers within their division. The best driver from each of the five divisions advances to the national level and is compared with the best drivers in the entire program. The best of the best is world champion. At the end of the season, IHRA and Summit Racing Equipment pay: the top five at each track in Box and No Box; the top five in each division in Box and No Box; and the two national finalists in Box and No Box.

Qualifying participants win cash and prizes (see, "Show me the money!", below). Of those receiving payouts, from the world champion to the top five on the track level, Summit Racing Equipment will automatically double any driver’s cash winnings if he/she qualifies for the Summit Bonus. To be eligible, the driver must purchase $1,000 from Summit Racing Equipment between December 1, 2003 and July 1, 2004.

"Show me the money!"

As mentioned, cash and prizes are awarded through the program.

The two World Champions win $25,000 ($50,000 if the driver meets the Summit Bonus), a world championship diamond ring, and an IHRA Iron Man.

Plus, the Box world champion receives a turnkey Worthy/Sunset Quick Rod dragster, courtesy of Worthy Race Cars and Sunset RaceCraft Racing Engines, 2 Pit Pro pit bikes and the Aruba Aloe trip for two. The No Box world champion receives a 2005 Pontiac G6, a complete Huntsville Engine & Performance 540 Big Block Chevy Racing Engine (as seen in the current Summit catalog), and the Aruba Aloe trip for two.

Top five finishers in Box and No Box from each division receive $2,500, $1,000, $750, $500, $250, respectively. Top five finishers in Box and No Box at each track receive $250, $125, $65, $40, $25, respectively. All payouts are automatically doubled for any competitor meeting the Summit Bonus.

In addition to cash and prizes, the two world champions are honored at the IHRA Awards Banquet, along with IHRA’s professional and sportsman world champions. Divisional and local winnings will be paid at the driver’s home track banquet.

Sign Up Today

If you’ve made it this far, we can tell a few things about you: you like money, free cars, engines, scooters and trips to paradise (most people do). So your question is, ‘How do I participate in the Summit SuperSeries?’

Call your local IHRA track and verify they are signed up to run the Summit SuperSeries. Next, contact IHRA and sign up for your Summit SuperSeries membership and "X" number unique to the program. Once registered, you must display IHRA and Summit SuperSeries decals in designated locations (see rulebook) on your car during the entire 2004 season.

Now you are eligible. But you can’t take the chance of leaving any money on the table, so link to www.summitracing.com/store_bin/freecatalog/  and request a free catalog. Make sure you order all your race parts and any other items from Summit. When ordering, please reference the Summit source code: SPR004. Please note: tax, shipping, handling, returns and or refused merchandise do not count towards the $1,000 total. Log onto www.summitracing.com  for more information on products.

For more information, obtain a 2004 Summit SuperSeries brochure from your local track or check out the program’s landing page on www.ihra.com .

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Top Fuel: Supercharged versus Injected

Dave Hirata to Contest Injected Nitro Dragster at
Amalie Oil Texas Nationals March 26-28


Dave Hirata and his parents ( ihra photo )

March 16, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (March 16, 2004) -- When IHRA announced changes to the Top Fuel rules allowing Injected Nitro Dragsters into the field, the drag racing world began to talk. Stories appeared on Web sites and various publications as to the effect this would have on racing. None were more excited then the A-Fuel drivers themselves.

Dave Hirata, an A-Fuel competitor since 1998, will be one of the drivers at the season opener in San Antonio to contest his Injected Nitro Dragster in the Top Fuel category. In 1999 and 2000 he held the NHRA national record for ET and mph and has four national event wins and three divisionals.

When I talked to Hirata, he was at the family collision repair and service shop, Lowell Body Shop in Lowell, Ind., a business his parents started 47 years ago.

What is the difference between the A-Fuel dragster and the Top Fuel dragster?

Dave Hirata:

Raw horsepower period. The Top Fuel cars out there that have their combination together have so much horsepower that I feel some of it is unusable, and with us coming in and able to use a 500-cubic inch motor and clutch management, we think we can get our car into the 4s.

Whether we can compete with Millican? No, I don’t think it’s possible. Whether we can be an impact on the class? I think that is very possible. We just can’t generate the brute horsepower that a Top Fuel car makes. But as far as what we can do with our cars, it has been such an untapped area, it is going to be a lot of fun. No one knows. We’ve talked about it for years: what can these cars do. Now it’s our chance.

From a fan sitting in the stands, what will he see different from the Top Fuel car?

DH:

I don’t know how familiar IHRA fans are with the injected Nitro cars. I think we can put on a heck of a show. These cars look like a Top Fuel car going down the track. You’ve got the Nitro smell, plus they crack and pop like no one has probably ever heard. It is a totally different sound.

This could turn into the "Pro Mod" issue. I think a good controversy always stirs interest. I’ve liked the Pro Mod issue in IHRA. You always have that little fued. Maybe the IHRA officials don’t like it, but it’s good to have. I hope the fans are going to be curious as to what will really happen. It’s a whole new deal. The nitrous and blown cars in Pro Mod has been going on for years, but this is a whole new entity in the world of Top Fuel drag racing. I think we can create a lot of interest with the fans.

The first car in the 4s, at 300 mph, that is kind of the big thing all the injected fuel cars will be after. But how fast and quick we can go, no one really knows.

I heard these may actually be louder on the starting line than the Top Fuel cars. Is this true?

DH:

The difference is they are high-compression motors. If you’ve never heard a high-compression motor on Nitro, it’s pretty bitchin’. They pop and bang, it sounds like the rods want to come out of them. It’s a totally different sound than the Top Fuel car.

The Top Fuel car to me is a pretty smooth-running, consistent, loud monster. But you put an A-Fuel car on the high-side and let the clutch out – it’s violent. It’s because we have to run high-compression to make up for the blower.

You’re going to see big air scoops above the roll cage. You’ll see them with sheet metal intakes. It’s gonna look nearly like a nitrous Pro Mod motor, sheet metal intakes, big fuel injectors on top of an intake manifold, and this scoop hanging up above the roll cage. And if the fan base doesn’t know, when these cars pull around the corner, they’re going to go "what the hell is that!"

What will make the biggest difference in the performance of these dragsters from what people are used to seeing?

DH:

In addition to the weight reduction, the biggest thing that will change the performance level is that clutch. That is our weak link; it’s what holds us back from applying our horsepower. The thing is, the reason we are going to be pioneers, is because we can’t go to a Top Fuel team and say "we want to run our clutch like yours." I don’t want to say it can’t be done, but I don’t anticipate it is going to be apples and apples. Other than finding out some little tidbits, we’re going to be winging it. I’m very fortunate to know a lot of Top Fuel competitors that I can talk to, but what I’ve been hearing is "we don’t know, we don’t know how to run your cars." So other than picking their brains and getting as much information, seeing how it applies to different situations with us, we really have nothing to go with as far as running the clutch. We are going to start a clutch management program.

IHRA is being pretty liberal. They see the difference in the cars, and they’re giving us some liberal issues to start that might make us competitive.

Also, the gear ratio is going to be a big issue. The only problem with the gears is the ones we feel we should run are not readily available to call up a manufacturer and say send me a gear.

Is your car ready for San Antonio?

DH:

This is a totally different motor combination. All the sudden, we’re trying to slam it together in a month and a half. Whether we come to San Antonio with a perfect program, we’ll see. We definitely plan on coming up there and testing the waters.

This has really sparked another interest in my father (Ken Hirata) because it’s a whole new ballgame for us. My parents are as hardcore about this as I am and they are in their 70s. Trying to put this together (with him) has become really fun, but it is a huge investment that we’re going to make and we’re not just going to take some old motor we ran in NHRA and come over there and do the best we can. We’ve got a whole new deal, a whole new program for this.

I’ve caught bits and pieces from some of the Top Fuel guys that they aren’t happy. I’m not trying to stir the pot, but we are going to come over there and run within the rules and try to make a dent in this program. We’re going to run our car as hard as we can and the best team and the best people are going to come to the top. I think it will be really good for the class.

At which race will we first see Dave Hirata qualify?

DH:

Our plan is to qualify at San Antonio. I’m not sure what combination we’ll have, but we plan on coming down there with a couple guns loaded. It’s the only way we know how to run our car. That’s because of my father. (The car) is on kill every run. We’re not coming there just to qualify.

And realistically, Clay Millican, he’s the guy, and hey, I’m coming to take him out. Evenly matched both cars going down the track, I’m going to say it can happen. We’re going to have to have some luck, but we’re not coming out there to qualify. We’re coming out there to win. That’s our mindset.

Well, I think that’s what a lot of people want to hear.

DH:

A lot of people running the fuel injected cars say "well if we just qualify, the qualifying money." And that’s great because the money issue becomes a factor. But you know what, we’re going there to win. I’m not coming to make qualifying money and plan on going home after round one. Qualifying, that’s great, but it’s not our goal. Our goal is to come over there and win.

But the guys that talk about the qualifying money. That’s why you’re going? Because that’s not why I’m going.

***

The Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs and the San Antonio Express-News, March 26 - 28 at San Antonio Raceway. For tickets, call the track at 210-698-2310 or check out the event preview at www.ihra.com  for more details.

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Bruce Litton preparing for 2004 with aggressive program


Bruce Litton ( Photo by Tim Johnson )

March 8, 2004
Bobby Bennett, Harley Communications

INDIANAPOLIS:  If actions speak louder than words, then Bruce Litton is gearing up for a tremendous 2004 season. The Lucas Oil-sponsored driver from Indianapolis has renewed his deal with the high-quality oil producer and added another company to his 320-plus mile per hour rolling billboard for the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series.

 

Litton has been aligned with Lucas Oil since 1997. When Litton's Wix Filters backing ended after the 2001 season, Lucas Oil Products stepped into the major sponsorship role.

 

 I really, really like the Lucas family, explained Litton. I think a lot of Forrest and Charlotte Lucas and they have a great supporting cast. They are my sponsor, but they are also great friends. It makes it a lot easier to promote a product when it is of high quality and when you really believe in the people producing it.

 

Litton brings to the table an arsenal of associate sponsorship which includes Torco Race Fuels, Stoops Freightliner, United Trailers and Allegra Printing.

 

Torco Race Fuels is the newest addition to Litton's line-up.

 

 We are proud to be an associate from not only the racing aspect but from the family aspect of Bruce's team, explained Evan Knoll, founder of Torco Racing Fuels. I am proud to get exposure from a great team on and off the track with Litton.

 

Litton's team has been busy during the off-season building new cars and buying an arsenal of parts and spares. In two weeks, Litton will officially kick off his seventh season as a Top Fuel driver.

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IHRA Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour Heads to Tuscola Motorsports Park March 19-21

Top Sportsman and Top Dragster Quick 8 Saturday and Sunday

March 12, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (March 12, 2004) – The first Division 4 event of the IHRA Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour will be held March 19-21 at Tuscola Motorsports Park in Lena, Miss.

This 1/8-mile race, sponsored by Glidewell Trailers, will feature the best of IHRA’s Pro-Am competitors in Erson Cams Top Sportsman, Mallory Top Dragster, ACCEL DFI Super Stock, Hays Stock, ACCEL Quick Rod, Lakewood Super Rod and Hurst Hot Rod, consisting of dragsters and door cars. A purse of nearly $15,000 will be divided among the competitors, plus contingency postings. In addition to event winnings, competitors can gain vital points towards Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour championships and Hooters national championships.

Gates open Friday, March 19 at 12 noon, with Tech open from 1 – 8 p.m. and Test and Tune for $20 from 6 – 10 p.m. Gates and Tech open Saturday, March 20 at 8 a.m., with Time Trials and Qualifying beginning at 9 a.m. The Saturday night E.T. Bracket Race starts at 6 p.m. and consists of an Electronics and No Electronics class.

Saturday will feature the Quick 8 Shootout qualifying for the Top Sportsman/Top Dragster combo class at 4 and 5 p.m.

Gates open Sunday, March 21 at 8 a.m. There will be no Time Trials, but racers may enter the Pro-Am this day. Pro-Am elimination rounds begin at 10 a.m. Top Sportsman/Top Dragster Quick 8 Shootout eliminations will run Sunday.

Entry for competitors is $115 (car and driver, must have IHRA membership and license) and a two-day crewman pass is $35. A single day ticket is $20. Children under 12 admitted free.

The track is located at 624 Highway 487 West, Lena, MS 39094. Contact the track at 601-298-9990 or 601-507-1983. For more information check out www.ihra.com  or www.tuscolamotorsports.com.

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IHRA ANNOUNCES 2004 BROADCAST TEAM FOR
HOOTERS IHRA DRAG RACING SERIES ON SPEED CHANNEL

Ken Stout
( IHRA Photo )
March 9, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (March 9, 2004) – The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and Clear Channel Entertainment – Motor Sports announced today that an all new broadcast team will handle play by play, color and pit reporting for the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing series on SPEED Channel. IHRA veteran announcer Ken Stout will continue as play by play, newcomer Johnny Rocca will handle the color and current USHRA Monster Jam Superstar and former WWF and WCW Champion, Madusa will report on the pit and lifestyle action.

The Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series will again be produced by Anita Hallman and HallBrook Productions.

Returning from the 2003 broadcast team, Ken Stout has been announcing motor sports events, including coverage of USHRA Monster Truck events, drag racing, off-road racing and boat racing for over ten years. This year, Stout will also work as pit reporter for the ASA and Champion Off Road Racing Series (CORR), as host of the CORR Sportsman Series and the IHBA Drag Boat Series, all on SPEED Channel. He has also been a regular contributor to ESPN’s "Speedworld".

"Its great to be back for a second year with IHRA," said Stout. "With HallBrook returning as the production company in 2004, it will make us a well-oiled machine from the first event. Just like a race team, you create relationships and build experience by bringing the same team back year after year. I feel like we laid the groundwork last season and the nucleus of the show has been established.

"I look forward to working with Monster Jam Superstar Madusa and Johnny Rocca, a seasoned Pro Modified driver. I feel like we will continue to raise the bar."

Johnny Rocca
( IHRA Photo )

Former Pro Modified racer Johnny Rocca will serve as color commentator on the IHRA broadcasts. Rocca, a successful business owner from the Washington, D.C. area, has been involved with drag racing for over 40 years and is considered one of the most colorful figures in the sport.

"I am really excited about being part of the team," said Rocca. "I think I can bring ‘behind the scenes knowledge’ to the program with my extended background in the sport. I know most of the IHRA team and racers and this will give me the opportunity to stay involved in drag racing but from a different vantage point. I know what it’s like to be in the racecar, and when something happens on the track, I can tell the audience what is really happening. If a car or driver reacts a certain way, I know why he’s doing that. I intend to bring this insight to the fans.

"I think it’s a marvelous opportunity for me; I guess there is life after racing after all."

Monster Jam Superstar Madusa will be the pit reporter for the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series.

Madusa
( IHRA Photo )

An international sports star most recently of Monster Truck fame, Madusa began her career in professional wresting and is a multiple-time world champion in both the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. She has been driving monster trucks since 1999 and competes on the USHRA Monster Jam circuit.

"I’m looking forward to presenting the IHRA show in a new light," said Madusa. "Fans can expect to see something new and rejuvenating, fun and off the wall. I am an adrenaline junky and my enthusiasm tends to rub off on others. It should help bring out a lot of the personality from the drivers and hopefully bring the event to life on television".

Reflecting on the team, IHRA President Bill Bader commented, "SPEED Channel is the fastest-growing sports cable network and the only 24-hour cable network devoted exclusively to motor sports and the human fascination with speed. The network’s commitment is testimony to our six years of growth and the commitment Hooters has made as our series sponsor."

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Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs
and the San Antonio Express-News Offers Discounts for Fans and Families

( IHRA Photo )
March 8, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (March 8, 2004) – Texas drag racing fans will enjoy a variety of affordable ticket prices when attending the 3rd Annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals, presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs and the San Antonio Express-News, March 26-28 at San Antonio Raceway located in Seguin, Texas.

"We understand our valued customers, especially families, have a choice where they spend their leisure dollars," stated IHRA Vice President of Marketing Aaron Polburn. "Fans coming to San Antonio Raceway will find IHRA wants to make our unique brand of drag racing and entertainment as affordable as possible."

Fans attending Sunday’s Championship Finals (March 28) can obtain a coupon courtesy of Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs and the San Antonio Express-News good for $10 off an Adult general admission ticket. The coupon, available at Ancira dealerships and in the San Antonio Express-News, is redeemable at the track box office and includes a free kid’s ticket.

"We salute the Ancira Group and the Express-News for offering Texas drag racing fans this big discount to check out the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series," explained Polburn. "We want as many fans as possible to enjoy this generosity and experience our ‘Nitro Finals’ on Sunday."

Pepsi offers a coupon good for a free kid’s ticket with the purchase of one adult General Admission ticket any day, Friday – Sunday. The coupon is available in the Pepsi display at participating grocery stores in San Antonio and is redeemable at the track box office.

"Free parking and a free pit pass are always included in the price of your ticket to the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals," said Polburn. "We believe in ‘opening our locker room to the public’ so fans can meet drivers, get an autograph and see the teams work on their cars, close up. You can reach out and touch the drivers. IHRA and San Antonio Raceway work hard to present a quality show and value for our fans."

Tickets for Children 6-12 at all IHRA National Events, including the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals, are always a bargain at only $5.

"We want families to be able to bring their kids out for an unforgettable evening of fireworks and entertainment, in addition to the world-class drag racing," adds Polburn.

The Dragstrip at San Antonio Raceway presents the spectacular "Night of Fire", Saturday, March 27, featuring the final round of pro qualifying under the lights. Headlining after pro qualifying are Ken Nelson’s wheelstanding "Cool Bus", Jon Oswell’s "Ladder Truck 33" wheelstanding fire truck, a giant fireworks display and the legendary 200 mile per hour Jet Kenworth of Bob Motz.

"Our ‘Night of Fire’ show has something for fans of all ages and designed with the family in mind," commented Polburn. "Not only will you see the final round of pro qualifying under the lights with header flames shooting eight feet in the air, but fans of all ages love the smoke, fire, music and entertainment the ‘Night of Fire’ provides.

"Think of "Night of Fire" as a Metallica concert with 300 mile per hour race cars," concluded Polburn.

The Dragstrip at San Antonio Raceway is located off Interstate 10 (Exit 597), west of Seguin, TX, 15 minutes from the I-410 beltway. For tickets and information, call 210-698-2310 or check out the race preview at www.ihra.com.

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IHRA Announces ACCEL Sportsman Survivor Series for Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour

March 4, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (March 4, 2004) – The IHRA Competition Department announced the formation of the ACCEL Sportsman Survivor Series for the Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Series Tour competitors.

This special sportsman program, contested during the World Finals at Rockingham (N.C.) Dragway October 22 - 24, consists of the top eight racers in each of the seven Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour classes based on the national point standings. The racers will be paired and run-off, resulting in a winner for each class. "We feel that the name is a reflection of the intense nature of the competition in each sportsman class contested on the Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour divisional events and as a part of the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing national event series," said Mr. Gasket Vice President of Marketing, Dennis Rogers. "To get to become a member of the ‘elite eight’, every racer will have to persevere and overcome some adversity. We feel that the racers that qualify for this event will truly be survivors. And when the final rounds are in the books, we will have seen the survival of the fittest.

"With a total purse of $70,000 up for grabs, plus the prestige that a victory as the Final Survivor will generate, we feel this will certainly spice up the sportsman ranks."

The payout schedule: winner - $5,000, runner-up - $1,500, semi-finalist - $750, first round qualifier - $500.

The program will officially begin April 25, in conjunction with the IHRA Spring Nationals in Rockingham, N.C. All participants will be awarded the full points value of any events they have participated in up to that point.

"We wanted to give competitors a chance to get ready for this program without penalizing the drivers who have already participated in a Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour event," said IHRA Director of Racing Operations Skooter Peaco. "This will allow everyone enough time to buy and install the products and get the paperwork done.

"We have completed a handful of Pro-Am events in Division 2 and want those drivers to have an equal shot at qualifying. By awarding everyone their full points value for any events they have competed in up to April 25, we can start off in Rockingham on a level playing field. It is also pretty cool to start and end the program in Rockingham on the kick-off year. In 2005 and beyond, we will begin the program January 1 and continue to conclude it at the World Finals."

About Mr. Gasket

Mr. Gasket manufactures a variety of performance parts and accessories, including carburetor and fuel accessories, cooling system accessories, engine components, fasteners, gaskets, and suspension and drive line components.

Besides gaskets and fasteners, the Mr. Gasket brand provides a variety of performance and racing products for all parts of your vehicle including: carburetor and fuel accessories, chrome-plated accessories, cooling system accessories, engine components, ignition and electrical accessories, shifter accessories, specialty tools and suspension and driveline components. Mr. Gasket also includes Ultra-Seal gaskets and fasteners.

About IHRA

Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA is the fastest growing drag racing sanctioning body in North America. IHRA-sanctioned professional, sportsman and bracket racing provides competition opportunities for drivers at all levels, developing future starts through the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries and the PM-1 Junior Dragster Series. IHRA recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year agreement with SPEED Channel to televise the Hooters Drag Racing Series Saturday nights, reaching 63 million households in North America. IHRA is part of Clear Channel Entertainment’s Motor Sports division. Please visit www.ihra.com for more information.

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HOOTERS IHRA DRAG RACING SERIES KICKS OFF MARCH 26-28 IN SAN ANTONIO

Terry McMillen, of Elkhart, Ind.

March 3, 2004
Travis Reynolds
Photo by Tim Johnson

NORWALK, Ohio (March 3, 2004) – The 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series kicks off at the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs and the San Antonio Express-News, March 26 – 28 at San Antonio Raceway. Returning to the facility for the second consecutive year, IHRA drivers Clay Millican, Top Fuel, and Mitch Stott, Pro Modified, will look to repeat their performances from 2003. Both competitors left San Antonio with a win, early season victories eventually leading each to world championships.

While Millican has dominated the Top Fuel field for the last two seasons, 2004 is an entirely different year for the Werner Enterprises-sponsored driver from Drummonds, Tenn. Many will be taking charge at the three-time IHRA World Champion.

Bruce Litton has finished runner-up to Millican for the past two seasons. Driving the Lucas Oil dragster, Litton, of Indianapolis, has accumulated eight event wins in his career, yet only two in the past two years.

A new face to the Top Fuel field is former Top Alcohol driver Doug Foley. Fielding a dragster acquired from Litton, Foley earned his license mid-January in Bradenton, Fla. Some may say Foley has a lot to learn, but he is no stranger to the educational process, operating a drag racing school in Atco, N.J.

A new facet to the Top Fuel category will be the presence of the Nitro-Injected dragsters running in the class. While the jury is out on how competitive these vehicles can be, the speculation alone has created talk throughout the industry. Possible entries include Dave Hirata of Lowell, Ind., Mike Bowers of Dallas, Texas, and Pat Dakin of Dayton, Ohio.

In Pro Modified competition, all eyes will be on reigning champ Stott. After a hot start in 2003, Stott struggled, failing to qualify at two events, but held on to the points lead. He outlasted his brother Quain Stott and former champion Mike Janis. The Mill Spring, N.C.-native Mitch will again race his Radiac Abrasives Corvette, with an updated paint-scheme for the season.

A new face in the Pro Modified ranks will be a familiar one: Scotty Cannon. His last race with IHRA was his 1998 championship season. Six years later, after pursuing a career in Nitro Funny Car with NHRA, the winningest Pro Modified driver, from Lyman, S.C., returns to IHRA with his Oakley-sponsored team to build on his six World Championships and 28 career event wins.

In addition to Cannon, former Funny Car World Champion Von Smith will race a full season in Pro Modified. Smith competed twice in 2003, and his pick for the driver to beat this year is 2002 champion Shannon Jenkins. This is a very stacked field.

After an off-season filled with celebrity dinners and appearances, defending World Champion Rob Atchison will return to Funny Car competition in 2004. The 28-year old from London, Ontario, who hadn’t won an event heading into 2003, went on to win six races en route to his first championship. His success has since turned him into a national hero in his homeland of Canada, and the pressure is on to repeat. Atchison is looking for his first event win in San Antonio. The team missed the event last season as the hauler was snowed in.

Challenging Atchison will be five-time World Champion Mark Thomas. Crew chief Jimmy Rector adds to Thomas’ threat with two World Championships of his own.

Terry McMillen, of Elkhart, Ind., debuted a new paint-scheme for his Amalie Oil Funny Car at the San Antonio race in 2003. Featuring an alligator face on the hood, the car became a fan favorite and adopted the name "The Instagator." McMillen returns to San Antonio Raceway after finishing in the top ten the last three seasons.

While all of IHRA’s professional classes raised the competition bar in 2003, none did so more than Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock. Brian Gahm of Lucasville, Ohio, will return as the two-time defending World Champion. With only one event win last season, he waited until the final race of the season to clinch his championship. Gahm also became the first Sunoco Pro Stock driver to break into the 6.40s in IHRA history when he did so at Grand Bend Motorplex.

Others to watch for are Carl Baker, Frank Gugliotta and Rick Jones. Baker, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, racing the Summit Racing Equipment Cougar, seemed destined to win the championship last season but could not hold onto his points lead, winding up 50 points back from Gahm.

By season’s end, only 300 points separated the top ten (Gahm – Elijah Morton). With last season’s tough field of drivers and competitors like Tony Gillig and Robert Patrick returning to IHRA, the field is wide open and Gahm has his hands full as he tries to "three-peat."

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San Antonio Express-News Named Co-Presenting Partner of the
IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals

March 2, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (March 2, 2004) – IHRA Vice President of Marketing Aaron Polburn announced the San Antonio Express-News will be a co-presenting sponsor of the Texas Nationals at San Antonio Raceway March 26 – 28. Officially known as the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs and the San Antonio Express-News, this new partnership will enhance the overall presence of the event in the Texas market.

"We are pleased to partner with the San Antonio Express-News," said Polburn. "Their participation gives our event the visibility and credibility we need to make the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals one of the yearly highlights on the San Antonio sports and entertainment calendar.

"The San Antonio Express-News is thrilled to be a presenting sponsor of the Amalie Oil Nationals," said Elena Ticer, Marketing Manager for the San Antonio Express-News. "A racing event of this caliber provides San Antonio and South Texas with the prime opportunity to see some of the most talented competitors performing to their best ability in our own backyard."

"With the help of the San Antonio Express-News and Ancira Cars, Trucks and RV's, families can come to the Championship finals for a fair price and get their kids in free with free parking and pit pass," added Polburn. "We know you work hard for your entetainment dollar and IHRA, San Antonio Raceway and Ancira want to help you see world class drag racing without breaking the budget."

The San Antonio Express-News and Ancira offer a coupon good for $10 off Sunday’s (March 28) Adult General Admission ticket and one free kid’s ticket. The coupon, which includes free parking and pit pass, will appear in upcoming issues of the newspaper.

The San Antonio Express-News has the third largest circulation in Texas. For more information check out their Web site at www.mysanantonio.com.

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EATON ELECTRICAL RENEWS "NIGHT OF FIRE" SPONSORSHIP
OF MOPAR CANADIAN NATIONALS PRESENTED BY CASTROL

February 27, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (February 27, 2004) – IHRA and Grand Bend Motorplex announced that Eaton Electrical will sponsor Saturday’s "Night of Fire" during the 5th Annual Mopar Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol, June 11 - 13 at Grand Bend Motorplex in Ontario.

"It’s great to see Eaton Electrical back for a second year as our ‘Night of Fire’ sponsor," said Grand Bend Motorplex Chief Operating Officer Paul Spriet. "They have made a great commitment to Canadian drag racing over the years, evidenced by their sponsorship of Pro Modified racer Carl Spiering, and their involvement with this race."

Eaton Electrical (Canadian operations) is based in Burlington, Ontario. Part of the Cleveland-based Eaton Corporation, Eaton Electrical (through its Cutler-Hammer brand products) is a global leader in electrical control, power distribution and industrial automation products and services. Eaton Electrical utilizes advanced product development, world-class manufacturing and offers global engineering services and support. Eaton Electrical is also the sponsor of Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series Pro Modified driver Carl Spiering. Eaton Electrical (in partnership with dragracecanada.com), recently announced the "Swift 16" lottery for Pro Modified and Funny Car competitors at the three IHRA Canadian events for 2004.

"Eaton Electrical is pleased to sponsor this year’s Night of Fire at the IHRA Canadian Nationals in Grand Bend. We at Eaton are big fans of the IHRA drag racing program. The Night of Fire sponsorship is an exciting, highly anticipated event at all IHRA National events and we’re just delighted to present this loud and colorful form of entertainment to our customers, their families and all IHRA drag racing fans," said Clayton Tychkowsky, General Manager of Eaton Electrical (Canadian Operations).

In 2003, Eaton Electrical increased their Ultimate Power Trip program by holding more events in Canada and the US. The Ultimate Power Trip program rewards customers with hospitality and entertainment at various events.

"Once again, The Ultimate Power Trip program has surpassed all expectations and provided Eaton Electrical with unprecedented profile with respect to our branding efforts" said Tychkowsky. "The Ultimate Power Trip continues to allow us to build important relationships with our customers while educating and exposing them to our products and services - not only at the tracks but at Eaton Electrical facilities and Distributor events as well."

About Eaton Electrical

Eaton Electrical is a global leader in electrical control, power distribution and industrial automation products and services. Through advanced product development, world-class manufacturing methods and global engineering services and support, Eaton electrical provides customer-driven solutions under names such as Cutler-Hammer, Durant, Heinemann, Holec and MEM which globally serve the changing needs of the industrial, utility, light commercial, residential and OEM markets. For more information visit

www.eatonelectrical.ca

About Eaton Corporation

Eaton Corporation is a global diversified industrial manufacturer with 2002 sales of $7.2 billion that is a leader in fluid power systems; electrical power quality, distribution and control; automotive engine air management and fuel economy; and intelligent drivetrain systems for fuel economy and safety in trucks. Eaton has 51,000 employees and sells products in more than 50 countries. For more information visit

www.eaton.com

About IHRA

Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA is the fastest growing drag racing sanctioning body in North America. IHRA-sanctioned professional, sportsman and bracket racing provides competition opportunities for drivers at all levels, developing future starts through the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries and the Junior Dragster Series. IHRA recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year agreement with SPEED Channel to televise the Hooters Drag Racing Series Saturday nights, reaching 63 million households in North America. IHRA is part of Clear Channel Entertainment’s Motor Sports division. Please visit www.ihra.com for more information.

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Sunoco Pro Stock racer Pete Berner aiming for 6.30s at
CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open at VMP

February 18, 2004
Contact: Bobby Bennett, Harley Communications

DINWIDDIE, Va. Just one month ago, IHRA Sunoco Pro Stock racer Pete Berner established himself as the quickest and fastest driver in the history of the class with an unofficial 6.458 blast in testing. The Crete, Illinois-based driver is grinning mighty proud these days, but not solely because of that run. Berner is excited about the potential of his car headed into the IHRA's official test session, March 11-14 during the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va. He boldly proclaims that if the track jibes up with tremendous atmospheric conditions that are prevalent in mid-March that the 6.3-second zone could be breached.

Berner considers himself a perfectionist and even though he holds the unofficial performance mark in the class, he admits that it could have been better.

We kind of missed our tune-up and could have gone even faster. We are going to do more testing. I think if the conditions are right, you will see a low 6.40 and a 6.39 or better if the air goes below sea level. We went a 6.48, 214 and with better conditions could have gone a 6.43.

Since the test session, the car has been taken to Jerry Haas for some updates and improvements. Now Berner has even more reasons to smile. He has also planned to hit a Fun Ford Weekend the week prior to the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open.

If we can do well it will be a tremendous momentum headed into San Antonio. We want to run the Ford race to get in synch and then use the Spring Open to refine our tune-up.

The one thing that Berner remains steadfast will be a higher level of accountability aimed at himself as a driver in 2004.

I'm going to be rough on myself. At times I let my team down. I intend to improve this year.

In the end, VMP could provide the perfect momentum builder.

It's a great track and atmosphere is the key. The car will go fast and that's why I love running here. Bob (Gillig) has the car flying and Pat (Norcia) has the clutch working incredible. Jon Kaase will have the horsepower readily available and of course, Mike Vinezano will help us to pull it all together.

For more information on the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open, be sure to visit www.ihra.com or www.dragracecentral.com for updates.

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IHRA Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour Heads to Carolina Dragway March 5-7
Pro Modified Quick 8 Saturday and Sunday

February 26, 2004
Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (February 26, 2004) – The third Division 2 event of the IHRA Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour will be held March 5 - 7 at Carolina Dragway in Jackson, S.C. This is the 16th annual event for the facility.

This 1/8-mile race will feature the best of IHRA’s Pro-Am competitors in Erson Cams Top Sportsman, Mallory Top Dragster, ACCEL DFI Super Stock, Hays Stock, ACCEL Quick Rod, Lakewood Super Rod and Hurst Hot Rod, consisting of dragsters and door cars. A purse of nearly $15,000 will be divided among the competitors, plus contingency postings. In addition to event winnings, competitors can gain vital points towards Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour championships and Hooters national championships.

Gates open Friday, March 5 at 12 noon, with Tech open from 1 – 9 p.m. and Test and Tune for $20 from 3 – 7 p.m. Gates and Tech open Saturday, March 6 at 7:30 a.m., with Time Trials and Qualifying beginning at 9 a.m. The Saturday night E.T. Bracket Race starts at 6 p.m. and consists of Pro Modified Quick 8 qualifying (5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m.), a Pro ET, Sportsman, and Junior Dragster class.

Gates open Sunday, March 7 at 8 a.m. There will be no Time Trials, but racers may enter the Pro-Am this day. Pro-Am elimination rounds begin at 10 a.m. Pro Modified Quick 8 eliminations will run Sunday.

Entry for competitors is $115 (car and driver, must have IHRA membership and license) and a two-day crewman pass is $35. A single day ticket is $20. Children under 12 admitted free.

The track is located ˝ mile off State Highway 125 in Aiken, SC, at 302 Dragstrip Road. Contact the track at 803-471-3688 or www.carolinadragway.com.

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Performance Racing News "TOP Lotto" For IHRA Competitors

February 18, 2004
Travis Reynolds

Performance Racing News, Canada’s largest and most widely read Motorsports publication in conjunction with presenting sponsor Pace American/The Trailer Shop announce the PRN "Top Lotto", a new program offering a $500.00* payout to a qualifier in both Erson Cams Top Sportsman and Mallory Top Dragster classes.

The rules are simple:

* No pre-registration is required; however to be eligible participating racers must display a Performance Racing News special edition decal (to be provided) at each event.

* Racers must qualify in one of the 48 final slots - according to official IHRA results.

* All qualified racers will be equally eligible to win.

* Class alternates will not be eligible.

Following the completion of qualifying, the PRN "Top Lotto" will occur. A number will be drawn which corresponds to a qualified position, determining the winner for both Erson Cams Top Sportsman and Mallory Top Dragster categories. The draw will be made by an attending VIP and a special presentation will then follow.

A total of $1000.00* per event will be paid at the following events: the 5th Annual Mopar Canadian Nationals (Grand Bend, ON) June 11-13th, the 2nd Annual Rocky Mountain Nationals (Edmonton, AB) July 2-4th, and the 3rd Annual ACDelco Canadian Nationals (Toronto, ON) July 30th-August 1st).

* Denotes: Canadian Funds

Racers wanting more information can write to program director Bruce Biegler at :

editor@dragracecanada.com

For more information on Pace American Trailers/The Trailer Shop visit them on-line at www.trailershop.com. Since 1989 Performance Racing News has been the leader in presenting print coverage for drag racing in Canada.

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DragRaceCanada Announces IHRA "Swift 16" Lottery

February 16, 2004
Travis Reynolds

DragRaceCanada.com, Canada’s premier all drag racing website, in conjunction with it’s overall presenting sponsor Eaton Electrical (Canada), announces the DragRaceCanada "Swift 16" Lottery for IHRA’s Pro Modified and Funny Car classes at the three Canadian events on the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series. The program will offer a $500.00* payout to a qualifier in both Pro Modified and Funny Car classes.

The rules are simple:

* No pre-registration is required; however to be eligible participating racers must display special edition decals (to be provided) at each event.

* Racers must qualify in one of the 16 final slots - according to official IHRA results.

* All qualified racers will be equally eligible to win.

* Class alternates will not be eligible.

After qualifying is complete, the DragRaceCanada "Swift 16" Lottery will occur. In this random draw the number, which corresponds to the qualified position, will determine the winner for both Pro Modified and Alcohol Funny Car categories. Both the draw and a presentation will be made by an attending VIP at the event’s Eaton Electrical Ultimate Power Trip hospitality center.

A total of $1000.00* per event will be paid out to racers attending: the 5th Annual Mopar Canadian Nationals (Grand Bend, ON) June 11-13th, the 2nd Annual Rocky Mountain Nationals (Edmonton, AB) July 2-4th, and the 3rd Annual ACDelco Canadian Nationals (Cayuga, ON) July 30th-August 1st).

Denotes: Canadian Funds

Racers wanting more information can write to program director Bruce Biegler at: editor@dragracecanada.com

For more information on Eaton Electrical and its Cutler-Hammer brand products and services visit them on-line at www.eatonelectrical.ca

DragRaceCanada.com, presented by Eaton Electrical (Canada) is Canada’s largest and most visited all drag racing website. All Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series events are showcased.

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Virginia Motorsports Park Begins Track Preparation Upcoming
CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open and ACDelco Nationals

February 9, 2004
Email: HarleynSC@aol.com

DINWIDDIE, Va. - Virginia Motorsports Park has taken the first steps toward preparing for IHRA's preseason test session the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open, March 11-14. The facility, which hosts the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series event, the ACDelco Nationals May 28 - 30, is undergoing improvements to its existing surface.

Freeburn Track Grinding was retained to grind the entire quarter-mile and work began this week.

“It’s all about staying ahead of the game,” explained track manager Bryan Pierce. “We take pride in our racing facility and it’s our objective to always keep Virginia Motorsports Park better than it has to be. This week’s work is laying the groundwork for a velvety smooth track surface. With that said, we expect even quicker times and faster speeds.

“In a little over thirty days, we will open our gates for the official IHRA preseason test event – the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open, and we are going to make sure that the top professional and sportsman drivers have the necessary testing they need headed into the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals in San Antonio.

“Of course, it won’t hurt them when they run the ACDelco Nationals here a couple of months later. Each week that we run on this surface makes it even better.”

IHRA Director of Field Operations Jim Weinert is quick to point out that VMP is taking steps to make a good track even better. He is expected to be on hand at the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open where 6.0s in Pro Modified and 6.4s in Sunoco Pro Stock are expected to be common.

“The work they are doing will help in getting rid of some of the grooves on the top end,” explained Weinert, who track-prep prowess is largely regarded in the sport.

“This will help in getting a better glue application on the top end. There’s a very good chance that we’ll see some records.”

In 2002, the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open yielded tremendous elapsed times in the Pro Modified and Sunoco Pro Stock ranks. Pro Modified racer Al Billes recorded a 6.112 and former IHRA Pro Stock World Champion Gene Wilson blasted out a 6.51 in Charlie Hunt’s Cougar.

Pre-enter for the 4th annual CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open. Professional teams are given free testing in exchange for participating in a special “Chicago Style” Shootout on Saturday.

The Spring Open will provide professional drivers the opportunity to test provided that they participate in a special "Chicago Style" eliminations program on Sunday. Pre-entry is encouraged for the professionals as it not only assists the VMP crew with determining parking space as well as publicity for the event. If you have a sponsor, this would be a great way to garner publicity for them. Professional teams that pre-enter will be given free entry for three crewmen.

Sportsman drivers that wish to test and tune during the event can receive a cost break by pre-entering. The standard fee for the CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open will be $75 at the gate for the entire weekend and $25 per day if a driver does not wish the entire program. However, if they pre-enter, the fee drops to $65 for the entire event.

Checks or money orders must be made payable to Virginia Motorsports Park. They may be sent to the following address:

Virginia Motorsports Park
8018 Boydton Plank Road
Petersburg, VA 23803

Deadline for pre-entry is March 4, 2004

A special e-mail address has been set up for those that wish to pre-enter online. Online pre-entries can be e-mailed to springopen2004@aol.com.

The following information must be included with each pre-entry.

Car Number:
Classification:
Driver Name:
Team Owner Name:
Address
City, State & Zip
Phone Number You Can Be Best Reached At:
Car Make:
Sponsor (if applicable):
Days you plan on attending - NOTE - If you plan on attending the complete event, please list - COMPLETE EVENT

The FastNews Network and DragRaceCentral.com will provide daily coverage of the event.

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SPEED CHANNEL RENEWED AS TELEVISION HOME FOR HOOTERS
IHRA DRAG RACING SERIES

February 4, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (February 4, 2004) – SPEED Channel has renewed as the television broadcast partner for the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, airing 24 hours of original IHRA programming, with each broadcast replaying at least once. The deal brings the series a minimum of 48 hours of airtime.

"IHRA is once again pleased to find the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series home on SPEED Channel," said IHRA President Bill Bader. "SPEED Channel has quickly become the channel of choice for motor sports worldwide and we’re honored to share TV time with NASCAR, Formula One, Champ Car, World Rally Championship, Hooters Pro Cup and other great series on SPEED Channel. The network’s commitment is a testimony to our six years of growth, as well as the commitment Hooters has made as our series sponsor."

Events will be taped in two-hour blocks with Top Fuel and Pro Modified headlining the first one-hour broadcast and Funny Car and Sunoco Pro Stock the second. Race coverage will also feature results from national event Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour racing and the Summit SuperSeries World Championship.

In 2004, SPEED Channel is the exclusive U.S. cable home for many of the top motor sports series in the world, including Formula One, The Champ Car World Series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, USAC, World Rally, ASA, IHRA, ALMS, Grand American Road Racing, F3000, USAR Hooters Pro Cup and live coverage of AMA and FIM motorcycle road racing events. The official network of the SCCA, SPEED Channel is the title sponsor of the SPEED World Challenge Championships. In addition, SPEED’s weekly Auto Focus block of programming brings car enthusiast television to Prime Time Monday through Thursday. Now available in more than 63 million homes in North America, SPEED Channel is the fastest growing sports cable network in the country and the home to NASCAR TV.

IHRA is part of Clear Channel Entertainment’s Motor Sports division.

Airdates for the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series on Speed Channel follow:

(All times Eastern)

3rd Annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals, presented by Ancira, Cars, Trucks and RVs San Antonio Raceway, San Antonio, Texas

Saturday, April 17, 4 p.m. Original *
Saturday, April 17, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, April 19, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, April 19, 4 p.m. Repeat **

34th Annual IHRA Spring Nationals, presented by Advance Auto Parts Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, N.C.

Saturday, May 8, 5 p.m. Original *
Saturday, May 15, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, May 10. 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, May 17, 3 p.m. Repeat **

4th Annual ACDelco Nationals Virginia Motorsports Park, Richmond, Va.

Saturday, June 5, 5 p.m. Original *
Saturday, June 12, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, June 14, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, June 14, 4 p.m. Repeat **

5th Annual MOPAR Canadian Nationals Grand Bend Motorplex, Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, July 10, 5 p.m. Original *
Saturday, July 17, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, July 12, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, July 19, 3 p.m. Repeat **

2nd Annual Rocky Mountain Nationals Budweiser Motorsports Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Saturday, July 24, 5 p.m. Original *
Saturday, July 31, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, July 26, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, August 2, 3 p.m. Repeat **

2nd Annual Motor City Nationals Milan Dragway, Detroit, Mich.

Monday, August 16, 3 p.m. Original *
Monday, August 21, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, August 23, 2 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, August 23, 3 p.m. Repeat **

3rd Annual ACDelco Canadian Nationals Toronto Motorsports Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, September 11, 5 p.m. Original *
Saturday, September 18, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, September 13, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, September 20, 3 p.m. Repeat **

3rd Annual Bethesda Softworks Northern Nationals U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Monday, September 27, 3 p.m. Original *
Saturday, October 2, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, October 4, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, October 4, 4 p.m. Repeat **

27th Annual Sunoco World Nationals, presented by PPG Norwalk Raceway Park, Cleveland, Ohio

Saturday, October 16, 5 p.m. Original *
Saturday, October 23, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, October 18, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, October 25, 3 p.m. Repeat **

9th Annual Amalie Oil North American Nationals New England Dragway, Boston, Mass.

Saturday, October 30, 5 p.m. Original *
Saturday, November 20, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, November 1, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, November 22, 3:30 p.m. Repeat **

13th Annual Presidents Cup Nationals Maryland International Raceway, Washington, D.C.

Saturday, November 27, 5 p.m. Original *
Saturday, December 18, 5 p.m. Original **
Monday, November 29, 3 p.m. Repeat *
Monday, December 20, 3 p.m. Repeat **

9th Annual Hooters World Finals Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, N.C.

To Be Announced

* - Denotes Top Fuel and Pro Modified competition

** - Denotes Funny Car and Sunoco Pro Stock competition

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MR. GASKET SPONSORS IHRA PRO-AM TOUR

February 4, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (February 4, 2004) – IHRA President Bill Bader announced Mr. Gasket as sponsor of the sanctioning body’s Pro-Am Tour. Known as the Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour, the series is comprised of 32 events with drivers competing in one of six divisions. "We are absolutely ecstatic to sponsor IHRA’s Pro-Am Tour," said Mr. Gasket Vice President of Marketing Dennis Rogers. "Mr. Gasket has a history of supporting racers on the grassroots level, and we are committed to maintaining our strong presence in that arena."

"Mr. Gasket joins Hooters Restaurants and Summit Racing Equipment as one of IHRA’s elite series sponsors and partners," said Bader. "We are pleased to have them aboard, expanding on our existing Pro-Am program and growing it into a platform to develop the best sportsman racers and future Pro Tour stars."

With the partnership, which extends through the 2006 season, IHRA’s seven Sportsman classes will incorporate the names of Mr. Gasket’s line of products. The classes will take on the following names: Erson Cams Top Sportsman, Mallory Top Dragster, ACCEL DFI Super Stock, Hays Stock, ACCEL Quick Rod, Lakewood Super Rod and Hurst Hot Rod.

The Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour kicked off January 30 – February 1 at Immokalee (Florida) Regional Raceway and concludes the season at Virginia Motorsports Park September 3 – 5. National event track U.S. 131 Motorsports Park is new to the schedule for 2004, hosting a Division 3 race June 4 – 6.

IHRA’s Pro-Am Tour has grown from one division in 1971, to two divisions in 1999, and finally six divisions in 2002. While many Pro-Am drivers also follow the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, the Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour offers a competitive alternative without the expense incurred with extended travel. The champion, who receives $1,500 and a gold card, and runner-up, who receives $500, from each division per class are recognized for their accomplishments at the IHRA banquet.

About Mr. Gasket

Mr. Gasket manufactures a variety of performance parts and accessories, including carburetor and fuel accessories, cooling system accessories, engine components, fasteners, gaskets, and suspension and drive line components.

Besides gaskets and fasteners, the Mr. Gasket brand provides a variety of performance and racing products for all parts of your vehicle including: carburetor and fuel accessories, chrome-plated accessories, cooling system accessories, engine components, ignition and electrical accessories, shifter accessories, specialty tools and suspension and driveline components. Mr. Gasket also includes Ultra-Seal gaskets and fasteners.

About IHRA

Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA is the fastest growing drag racing sanctioning body in North America. IHRA-sanctioned professional, sportsman and bracket racing provides competition opportunities for drivers at all levels, developing future starts through the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries and the Junior Dragster Series. IHRA recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year agreement with SPEED Channel to televise the Hooters Drag Racing Series Saturday nights, reaching 63 million households in North America. IHRA is part of Clear Channel Entertainment’s Motor Sports division. Please visit www.ihra.com for more information.

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CLEAR CHANNEL ENTERTAINMENT - MOTOR SPORTS
ANNOUNCES 2004 "NIGHT UNDER FIRE" SCHEDULE

( IHRA Photo )
February 3, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

AURORA, Ill. (February 3, 2004) – With the increasing popularity of the International Hot Rod Association’s (IHRA) Saturday "Night of Fire," which highlights drag racing’s most entertaining vehicles during their Hooters national events, Clear Channel Entertainment – Motor Sports announces the formation of ten one-day drag racing events called "Night Under Fire." The show features the country’s top exhibition vehicles. Although the line-up varies at each show, the talent includes jet-powered semis like Bob Motz’s jet Kenworth, jet dragsters, jet funny cars, the erratic nitro-burning Fuel Altereds, a wheel-standing school bus and a wheel-standing fire truck, to name a few. The "Night Under Fire" will amplify drag racing’s most exciting, fan-friendly aspects. These vehicles, erupting with sparks and flames, demonstrate the most extreme level of motor sports.

"Our ‘Night Under Fire’ show has something for fans of all ages and designed with the family in mind," said IHRA Vice President of Marketing Aaron Polburn. "Not only will you see these exhibition vehicles under the lights with flames shooting eight feet in the air, but fans of all ages love the smoke, fire, music and entertainment the "Night Under Fire" provides.

"Think of "Night Under Fire" as a very, very fast Metallica concert," concluded Polburn.

A free pit pass is included with the price of admission. Fans can enter the pits, meet the drivers, get an autograph and see the teams work on their cars.

"We believe in ‘opening our locker room to the public.’ You can reach out and touch the drivers," added Polburn.

The "Night Under Fire" Schedule:

Most shows will begin at 7 p.m.

Check www.ihra.com for more details

March 20 Edinburg International Race Track Edinburg, Texas

April 17 Abilene Dragstrip Abilene, Texas

June 19 Kanawha Valley Dragway Point Pleasant, W.Va.

June 26 Pittsburgh Raceway Park New Alexandria, Pa.

June 26 San Antonio Raceway San Antonio, Texas

July 10 Tulsa International Raceway Tulsa, Okla.

August 7 Quaker City Raceway Salem, Ohio

August 21 Red River Raceway Shreveport, La.

September 18 Carolina Dragway Jackson, S.C.

October 9 (tentative) Hub City Dragway Hattiesburg, Miss.

IHRA is part of Clear Channel Entertainment’s Motor Sports division.

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'Turbo' Tim Cullinan gearing up
for the 2004 IHRA season

Photo: Tim Cullinan
( Photo by BILL WALTERS )
January 27, 2004
Courtesy of Bill Walters

Chicago, IL: Independent Top Fuel racer, Tim Cullinan, is hard at work in preparation for the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series. The 42-year-old Chicago native, who made his Top Fuel debut in 2001, is planning on attending as many as 10 IHRA national events during the 2004 season.

Cullinan, a former drag bike competitor, had his '95 Al Swindahl chassis upgraded by Ty Baumgartner Race Cars in Hallsville, Mo., during the off-season. Safety upgrades were made on the driver's roll cage and modifications were also made to the rear wing stand and fuel tank.

Veteran crew chief, Mike Smith, will return to handle the tuning chores in 2004, along with Ken Hergert, who will serve as co-crew chief. Smith provided the horsepower for Cullinan to earn his first No. 1 qualifying position and reach his first final round last season and he's confident that the team's first victory is just around the corner. "The main thing we are looking for this season is consistency," said Smith. "We've made major changes to the clutch and fuel systems over the winter."

Cullinan will once again be sponsored by J.P. Phillips Inc., a large plastering firm based in Chicago, which he owns. He will receive additional support from associate sponsors, Terrazzo and Marble Supply Companies and David Spurr Promotions. "We plan to run up to 10 races this season," said Cullinan, "but if we can secure some additional support, we'll make all 12 races. Our goal is to reach the winner's circle this year, be among the top five in points and be a thorn in everyone's side."

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Performance Racing News Teams with Rob Atchison

Photo: Rob Atchison at the 33rd Annual Hooters IHRA Awards Banquet
( Photo courtesy of Bryan Epps )
January 22, 2004
Written by: Bruce Biegler

TORONTO (January 22, 2004) – Performance Racing News, Canada’s largest and most widely distributed Motorsports publication, is pleased to announce a new associate sponsorship with Atchison Racing and Erickson Manufacturing, Rob Atchison’s defending Hooters IHRA Funny Car World Championship team. The Atchison Racing/Erickson Manufacturing Pontiac Firebird stunned the competition last season by winning six different events on the 12-race Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series to send the championship to Canada for only the third time in IHRA’s 18-year Alcohol Funny Car racing class history. Atchison, who was also voted as IHRA’s "Pro Driver of the Year" is now recognized as one of Canada’s most talented drivers.

"Performance Racing News has shown us nothing but solid support in the past so we are pleased to take things to the next level with them," said Robbie Atchison. "Their support of drag racing as a whole is second to none in Canada."

Performance Racing News, Canada’s longest running Motorsports publication traces it’s inception back to 1989. For 16 years the commitment of Performance Racing News to drag racing has been pronounced including full colour reports from all IHRA and NHRA national events as well as special features. Comprehensive behind the scene drag racing coverage is also presented through two regular columns: Straight Talk and Canadian Drag Racing Update. Performance Racing News produces the official event programs for IHRA national event races held in Canada and is a major sponsor at both Grand Bend Motorplex and Toronto Motorsports Park.

"We are the only national magazine that has dedicated major league drag racing coverage in every issue," said PRN General Manager Noel Simpson. "Within our commitment to drag racing we could not think of a better alignment than with the Erickson Manufacturing/Atchison Racing team."

While produced from Ontario, Canada, Performance Racing News is also widely distributed across the continental U.S.A. The monthly magazine’s high success and longevity is recognized through its diversity. In addition to drag racing, PRN features comprehensive coverage of all the major forms in Motorsports including open-wheeled, Stock car and motorcycle circuits.

The most current issues of Performance Racing News will be available at all IHRA national event races in 2004 directly from Atchison Racing.

Subscriptions are also available by calling 1-800-667-7223 or on-line at: www.prnmag.com

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Clay Millican and Team Werner/Lehman Racing
Going for Fourth Consecutive IHRA Title

Team Announces 2004 Plans

Photo: Clay Millican
( IHRA Photo )
January 22, 2004
Contact: Andrea Geurin

Chicago – Clay Millican and Lehman Racing have announced their plans to continue racing in the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) in 2004 with primary sponsor Werner Enterprises, and will attempt to win their fourth consecutive Top Fuel Championship, while also competing a limited National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) schedule.

"I am so excited to be back with Werner Enterprises and going for our fourth Championship," said Millican, who is entering his fifth year as a full-time Top Fuel driver. "Our team has been really pumped up all winter, and we can’t wait to get back on the racetrack."

The team, which won all of its past three championships with Werner Enterprises as its primary sponsor, will also attempt to break the record for the number of IHRA career victories. Last season, Team Werner broke the record for Top Fuel wins, surpassing legendary racer "Big Daddy" Don Garlits’ mark of 25 wins. The team now has 30 IHRA victories, and needs just two more to tie Rickie Smith as the all-time winningest IHRA driver in any professional class. Smith has a combined 32 wins in Pro Stock and Pro Mod.

"We have enjoyed a successful relationship with Werner Enterprises for the past three years, and we are excited about the opportunity to go for a fourth championship and another IHRA record with them," said Team Owner Peter Lehman.

The team will open the season at the IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs in San Antonio, Texas, on March 26-28. In last year’s inaugural event, Millican set a new IHRA Top Fuel elapsed time record with 4.591, becoming the first IHRA driver to ever go down the quarter mile strip in the 4.5-second range. It marked the first of his 10 wins in the 2003 season.

In addition to their 12-race IHRA schedule, the team will compete in 10-12 NHRA national events, which have yet to be determined.

For more information about Clay Millican, Lehman Racing, and Werner Enterprises, please visit www.lehmanracing.com or www.werner.com.

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IHRA Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour at Southern Dragway February 6 – 8
Scotty Cannon Headlines Saturday Night Pro Modified Match Race

Photo: Scotty Cannon.
( IHRA Photo )
January 21, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (January 21, 2004) – IHRA will host the second Division 2 Heat Wave race of the 2004 Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour February 6 - 8 at Southern Dragway in Douglas, Ga.

This 1/8-mile race will feature the best of IHRA’s Pro-Am competitors in Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Super Stock, Stock, Quick Rod, Super Rod and Hot Rod, consisting of dragsters and door cars. A purse of nearly $15,000 will be divided among the competitors, plus contingency postings. In addition to event winnings, competitors can gain vital points towards Mr. Gasket Pro-Am tour championships and Hooters national championships.

Gates open Friday, February 6 at 12 noon, with Tech open from 1 – 9 p.m. and Test and Tune for $20 from 3 – 7 p.m. Gates and Tech open Saturday, February 7 at 7:30 a.m., with Time Trials and Qualifying beginning at 9 a.m.

Saturday night features 5-time IHRA Pro Modified world champion Scotty Cannon in a match race versus Jason Scruggs, in addition to the 170 mph Pro and Mod Funny Bike Shootout. Saturday’s E.T. Bracket Race starts at 4:30 p.m., and consists of a Pro E.T. class, Sportsman (No Electronics) class and Jr. Dragsters.

Gates open Sunday, February 8 at 8 a.m. There will be no Time Trials, but racers may enter the Pro-Am this day. Pro-Am elimination rounds begin at 10 a.m.

Entry for competitors is $115 (car and driver, must have IHRA membership and license) and a two-day crewman pass is $35. A single day ticket is $20. Children under 12 admitted free.

The track is located at 1560 Ronnie Walker Road, 8 miles east of Douglas, Ga., off Georgia Hwy. 158. Turn onto Buril Mill Road and follow the signs to the track.

Check out their Web Site at www.southerndragway.com or visit www.ihra.com. For more information call 912-384-7733 or 912-393-1288.

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IHRA Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour Kicks Off at
Immokalee Regional Raceway Next Weekend

January 21, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (January 21, 2004) – The season opener of IHRA’s 2004 Mr. Gasket Pro-Am Tour kicks off January 30 - February 1 at Immokalee Regional Raceway in Southern Florida. This event marks the second consecutive Division 2 Heat Wave race at the facility and is sponsored by the Seminole Casino and Big Daddy’s Performance Parts.

This 1/8-mile race will feature the best of IHRA’s Pro-Am competitors in Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Super Stock, Stock, Quick Rod, Super Rod and Hot Rod, consisting of dragsters and door cars. A purse of nearly $15,000 will be divided among the competitors, plus contingency postings. In addition to event winnings, competitors can gain vital points towards Mr. Gasket Pro-Am tour championships and Hooters national championships.

Gates open Friday, January 30 at 12 noon, with Tech open from 1 – 9 p.m. and Test and Tune for $15 from 5 – 10 p.m. Gates and Tech open Saturday, January 31 at 7:30 a.m., with Time Trials and Qualifying from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Saturday night E.T. Bracket Race starts at 5:30 p.m. and consists of a Doorslammer Quick 8 race, a Combo Electronics class and No Electronics class.

Gates open Sunday, February 1 at 8 a.m. There will be no Time Trials, but racers may enter the Pro-Am this day. Pro-Am elimination rounds begin at 10 a.m.

Entry for competitors is $115 (car and driver, must have IHRA membership and license) and a two-day crewman pass is $35. A single day ticket is $20. Children under 12 admitted free.

The track is located at State Road 846 East in Immokalee, Fla., 800-826-1947 or 239-657-5954. Check out their Web Site at www.immrace.com or www.ihra.com

Directions: I-75 to State Road 82, East to 29. South to Immokalee. East on State Road 846. Airport on left. Signs for the Track will be at Airport entrance.

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WORLD CHAMPIONS CROWNED AT
33RD ANNUAL HOOTERS IHRA AWARDS BANQUET

Photo: 2003 Hooters IHRA Champions.
( IHRA Photo )
January 20, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (January 20, 2004) – IHRA hosted its 33rd annual Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series awards banquet Saturday in Covington, Ky., crowning its 2003 world champions and special award winners from the season. IHRA President Bill Bader also announced Mr. Gasket Group as series sponsor of the Pro-Am Tour.

Clay Millican was awarded his third consecutive IHRA Top Fuel World Championship, accompanied by a first-place check for $200,000. The highlight of the year for the Werner Enterprises-sponsored team was breaking the IHRA record for most career Top Fuel wins, a mark formerly held by Don Garlits. Team owner Peter Lehman was honored for the accomplishment with a plaque displaying the green light off the christmas tree when Millican broke the record. Millican was awarded the other green light after the race. Pro Modified world champion Mitch Stott saw his lifelong dream fulfilled when he was honored for his accomplishments. After a hot start early in the season, the Mill Spring, N.C.-native held on for the championship in his Radiac-sponsored Corvette, outlasting his older brother Quain. During his acceptance speech, Stott's son Donovan accompanied him on stage, jaws flapping on a piece of gum while Dad addressed the crowd at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

Photo: Rob Atchison & fiancé Julie Evans
( IHRA Photo )
Canadian Rob Atchison was awarded the first world championship of his young career. An early season event win at Grand Bend Motorplex sparked the season for Atchison, as he brought the Funny Car crown back to Canada since Todd Paton in 1995. Escorted by his fiancé Julie Evans, he was also voted "Pro Driver of the Year." Father and crew chief Bob Atchison won "Crew Chief of the Year" honors.

Lucasville, Ohio-native Brian Gahm became the first back-to-back Sunoco Pro Stock world champion since Rickie Smith in 1989. During his acceptance speech, Gahm praised his family, his trusty Ford Mustang, and his crew chief Cliff Moore, calling him his "crew chief of the year."

Two Summit SuperSeries world champions were crowned: Tom Cable and Steve Doornbosch.

Cable, who won the Box (Electronics) category of the class, raced this season at Maryland International Raceway. Many thanks went out to family and friends, especially his parents, best friend and crew chief Danny Watt, girlfriend Susan and son Anthony. Cable won a turnkey Worthy Race Cars dragster, a Kafko parts cleaner, and a check from Summit Racing Equipment for $55,500. Cable plans to race the dragster, which he painted himself, in the Top Dragster category this season at select IHRA national and divisional races.

Winner of the No Box (No Electronics) category, Doornbosch was crowned world champion for his accomplishments at Grand Bend (Ontario) Motorplex. The Canadian won a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, a Reher-Morrison engine, a Ray Price Harley-Davidson Buell Blast, a Kafko parts cleaner, and a check from Summit Racing Equipment for $55,500.

Joe Aluise, Jr. was awarded the GM Performance Parts Top Stock world championship, a welcomed prize after a year of abusing his 1963 Belvedere, pushing it to the limit every race.

Marco Abruzzi was crowned Top Sportsman world champion. The former motorcross racer was accompanied by his wife Kim. Nick Folk was awarded the Top Dragster world championship. The 23-year-old from Durand, Ill., whose older brother, Brian, races IHRA as well, accomplished this feat in only his second year racing IHRA.

Jeremy Mudd was awarded the Super Stock world championship, thanking among others, his father Jamie. The Stock world championship went to Michael Beard, of Madison, Ohio. A long time weekend racer, this marked his first season chasing a national championship, and was voted "Sportsman Rookie of the Year" also.

Britt Cummings was awarded the Quick Rod world championship and voted "Sportsman Driver of the Year." He highlighted his speech by calling IHRA official Howie Dalton on stage and cutting off his ponytail, fulfilling a bet from earlier in the season. The Super Rod world championship went to Almont, Michigan’s-John Vineyard. He was accompanied by his wife Suzie. Tony Fuller was awarded the Hot Rod world championship. The 23-year-old split his time between winning a world championship and earning a marketing degree from the University of Central Florida.

Of the seven Sportsman classes, all world champions were first-time IHRA champs.

Hooters Restaurants’ Vice President of Marketing Mike McNeil accepted the "Sponsor of the Year" award.

Other 2003 IHRA awards recipients included:

Moroso Grand Champion: Ricky Adkins

Most Improved Sportsman Driver: Ken Langlois

Most Improved Pro Driver: Frank Gugliotta

Track of the Year – Summit: Michelle Maynor, Alaska Raceway Park

Track of the Year – National: Joel Thompson, US 131 Motorsports Park

Track Operator of the Year: "Beaver" Bob McCardle, Beaver Springs Dragway

Track Promoter of the Year: Bob Harris, Piedmont Dragway

International Leadership: Juan Kock, International Raceway Park (Aruba)

Service Award: Bill Guthery, Marion County International Raceway

Sportsman Rookie of the Year: Michael Beard

Crew Chief of the Year: Dave Levatino (Britt, Slate and Larry Cummings and Manny Sousa) and Bob Atchison (Rob Atchison)

Lifetime Achievement: Bob Motz

Sportsman Driver of the Year: Britt Cummings

Pro Driver of the Year: Rob Atchison

IHRA Man of the Year: Bob Neubauer

Sportsman of the Year: Mark Horton

During an IHRA team breakfast held Sunday morning, the following received recognition awards from IHRA President Bill Bader.

Team Member of the Year: Tom Kreager

Outstanding Performance: Wendy Tysinger

Team Player Award: Steve LeTempt

Customer Service Award: Arlene Parker and Sam Kearns

Most Improved: Satch Gragg

The Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series is part of Clear Channel Entertainment's Motor Sports division.

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STEVE COLE NAMED DRAG REVIEW EDITOR FOR IHRA

Photo: Steve Cole
( IHRA Photo )
January 14, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (January 14, 2004) -- IHRA President Bill Bader announced Steve Cole has been named Editor of Drag Review magazine, IHRA’s in-house publication. Cole joins IHRA from Barry Grant, Inc., where he was Director of Communications.

"I feel extremely fortunate to become part of the excellent team here at IHRA and Drag Review," said Cole. "I have high standards for the publication and expect the Drag Review team to take it to the next level and beyond."

"Steve has a strong background in the motorsports publication world," said IHRA Vice President of Marketing Aaron Polburn. "He brings to Drag Review magazine the attitude and direction to continually grow the company by providing insightful coverage of everything IHRA.

"He is well-respected in the industry, and we are proud to have him aboard."

A native of upstate New York, Cole received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Cornell University. He spent nearly ten years in partnership in the family’s dairy farm business. During that period, he covered road racing at Watkins Glen International from 1968-76 – including the United States Grand Prix, the SCCA’s Can-Am, TransAm and Formula 5000 events for the Olean (N.Y.) Times Herald. In 1977, he moved to Ohio to join the National Tractor Pullers Association (NTPA) as editor of their magazine The Puller, plus other NTPA publications. In 1982, Cole became Marketing Communications Director for Cleveland, Ohio-based Mr. Gasket Company, followed by eight years working for Babcox Publications in Akron, Ohio, as editor of Specialty & Custom Dealer magazine. From 1991 to 1999, he operated his own marketing communications firm, specializing in performance and Motorsports aftermarket firms. In 1999 he began working at Holley as Communications Director, and eventually to Barry Grant, Inc.

Cole will be based at IHRA world headquarters in Norwalk, Ohio.

About IHRA
Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA is the fastest growing drag racing sanctioning body in North America. IHRA-sanctioned professional, sportsman and bracket racing provides competition opportunities for drivers at all levels, developing future starts through the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, IHRA Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries and the Junior Dragster Series. IHRA recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year agreement with SPEED Channel to televise the Hooters Drag Racing Series Saturday nights, reaching 63 million households in North America. Please visit www.ihra.com for more information.

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IHRA ANNOUNCES 2004 HOOTERS IHRA DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE CHANGE

VMP Moved to Earlier Date

January 6, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

NORWALK, Ohio (January 6, 2004) – IHRA announced today a change to the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series schedule to benefit fans and racers.

In order to avoid placing the 4th Annual ACDelco Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP) the weekend after the NASCAR race at Richmond International Raceway, the event will be rescheduled for May 28 – 30, 2004, one week later than originally scheduled.

"This change will place the race at VMP a few weeks away from the NASCAR race," said IHRA Director of Race Operations Skooter Peaco. "We’ve now given the fans a chance to experience both events with a break in between. Memorial Day weekend fit nicely in the overall IHRA schedule."

The 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series kicks off March 26-28 in San Antonio, Texas, at the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs. The ACDelco Nationals at VMP is the third event of the twelve-race series.

Change to 2004 IHRA Pro-Am Schedule

The IHRA Pro-Am Tour Division 2 event in Kinston has been moved one week earlier to May 21-23.

The IHRA Pro-Am Tour Division 5 event at Cedar Falls has been changed to July 23-25

For more information, check out IHRA’s Web Site at www.ihra.com.

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TOP FUEL DRIVER STEVE HAMILTON TEAMS WITH JOHN MITCHELL RACING FOR 2004

Photo: Steve Hamilton
( IHRA Photo )
January 5, 2004
Contact: Travis Reynolds

ENNIS, Montanna (January 5, 2004) – Steve Hamilton has announced he will race for John Mitchell Racing’s Montana Express Top Fuel team during the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series.

Hamilton, a 40-year-old African American from Lake Villa, Ill., has been racing for over 17 years. He began his racing career at Great Lakes Dragaway in the track’s weekly points program, and eventually moved up to IHRA’s Quick Rod class. He earned his Top Fuel license in 2000, and made appearances at two IHRA national events in 2002.

"I’m pleased to be driving for John Mitchell in 2004," said Hamilton. "Mitchell who is known for his Montana Express cars and is also known with driver "Aussie" Dave Grubnick. But what few racing fans know is, Mitchell also started the careers of Top Fuel World Champion Larry Dixon and his current teammate Ron Capps, Funny Car World Champion Tony Pedregon, and Frank Pedregon."

"I have worked with Steve for the past few months and see that he has the drive and the determination to make this program work," said Mitchell. "I believe he will become one of our sports best assets and will help take our team to a championship and the sport to the next level. He wants to win and be part of a team that can win championships.

"I have developed new drivers before and their careers speak for themselves. Steve will do the same. We are ready for 2004 and look forward to having a successful year," added Mitchell.

"Joining John’s team will allow me the opportunity to receive much more seat time and experience," added Hamilton. "We plan to do a lot of testing over the next couple of months. This will help me to better develop as a driver."

Mitchell’s Montana Express team has competed in NHRA for the past few seasons, frequently finishing in the top 10 in the point standings. Hamilton will run the entire IHRA circuit in 2004.

Hamilton is a former mechanic and has owned various companies, including a transmission shop and manufacturing company. He has been married for 21 years to wife Elona and has three children, Candice, Steven and Holly.

Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA is the fastest growing drag racing sanctioning body in North America. IHRA-sanctioned professional, sportsman and bracket racing provides competition opportunities for drivers at all levels, developing future starts through the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, IHRA Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries and the Junior Dragster Series. IHRA recently entered into an exclusive, multi-year agreement with SPEED Channel to televise the Hooters Drag Racing Series Saturday nights, reaching 63 million households in North America. Please visit www.ihra.com for more information.

The Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series is part of Clear Channel Entertainment's Motor Sports division.