in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of September 28, 1999
So what happened to those promised "weekend updates" on all the racing action at the IHRA Carquest Autumn Nationals and other venues? Well, it didn't take long for the grind of working seven nights a week to take its toll. Only about seven weeks into it again and I'm already running out of time and energy to do much more than drag myself to work each night. So, while there was some work going on behind the scenes (more about that later), the story of Glen May and Steve Harker's weekend was left unwritten.... until now.As the IHRA Pro Mod season nears its conclusion, Glen May entered the Rockingham, North Carolina Autumn Nationals sitting sixth in the points standings. Some early season successes, followed by a string of first round losses left Glen in a very respectable, but not championship contending, position. Even with the mid-season debut of his new Ford Ranger truck, the performance momentum continued, with instant 6.40's at over 215 mph from the radical new ride.
Unfortunately at Rockingham the wheels, so to speak, fell off the truck. The first qualifying session on Friday saw the tires shake so hard that Glen crossed the centreline at the 330 foot mark, disqualifying the run. He wasn't the only racer having trouble with the track, as many of the supercharged cars had major difficulties hooking up. A later 6.62, on Friday night, left him on the outside of the tough 16-car field, which featured a 6.50 bubble after the first day of qualifying. With two more sessions on Saturday, surely things were looking up for the Richmond, BC team.
Saturday afternoon's session saw the truck step up to a 6.54 at 216 mph, still not good enough, leaving Glen as fifth alternate at that point. Going into the final qualifying round during the "Night of Thunder", the team was determined to keep intact their string of qualifying at every IHRA national event this season. (Eight in a row at this point). A best of the weekend 6.472 was simply not quite good enough, leaving the "Cranberry Connection" fourth alternate. The speed on this run, "only" 205.33 mph, indicated a serious loss of top-end power, possibly contributing to the DNQ finish. No mention was made in the race report on Drag Race Central, however.
With only two events left on the IHRA schedule, including this coming weekend's Budds Creek, Maryland "President's Cup Nationals", Glen's early season dream of an IHRA Championship is all but over. Still, he's had a great run of success, with best marks for the season of 6.33 at 218 mph, marks that any Pro Mod racer, anywhere, can be envious of. He's gone to the final round at one national event, the semis at another and qualified at eight of nine events so far. And he's still number nine in the points standings. All in all, a VERY successful season, especially considering it's his first attempt to run with the "really big boys" on the IHRA circuit.
To read all about it and see what numbers he's run, click on the pic of his new truck and go to the Glen May "Dream Season" story. With two more events on the schedule, we've still got more to add to this continuing saga, so be sure to check back next week for the latest updates on Glen and the "Cranberry Connection" team.So who is Steve Harker and why am I writing about him? Steve, from Brisbane, Australia is the latest Aussie to test the deep waters of NHRA competition. Currently the quickest and fastest Top Alcohol Funny Car outside North America, with bests of 5.72 and 254.95 (at Willowbank Raceway), Glen decided earlier this year to expand his racing horizons with a second car based in Atlanta, Georgia. He purchased a new chassis, body and engine in the US, brought over his blower and fuel system from Australia and is based in the Atlanta area shop of fellow Aussie, Peter Osterio, of RaceData software fame.
Planning to run the final five events of the NHRA national event season, Steve debuted the new car this past weekend at the Division Two points meet at Richmond, Virginia. And it was a pretty fair debut at that. He qualified in the third position, behind only Frank Manzo and Tony Bartone (two pretty fair racers in their own right, eh?), with a 5.99 at 238.98 mph. Not bad for a start. Then, in the first round, Steve disposed of Fran Monaghan with an early shutoff 6.17. The semi-finals saw him face two-time defending NHRA National Champion Frank Manzo, and despite being outrun (5.90 to a 6.06 at 238 mph), acquitted himself admirably.
For someone to travel halfway around the world, put together a brand new car, go to a totally unfamiliar track, qualify right behind two of the very best cars in the world, then lose in the semi-finals to one of those racers.... well, in my books, that is one awesome achievement. Good on ya' Steve and best wishes for even better performances starting this coming weekend at the "Advance Auto Parts Nationals" at Topeka's Heartland Park Raceway.It's been a while since we've had added more than the occasional picture in our ever-popular "Aussie Drag Babes" photo gallery, but in the past week we finally got around to updating it. Mainly thanks to our good friend in Warwick, Australia, Peter Bower, webmaster of the Warwick District Drag Racing Association website. I've shamelessly pillaged his "Motorsport Maidens" gallery and added quite a few new girls to our own Drag Babes section. Thanks, Pete. Click on the pic to see all the new additions. You won't be disappointed! And now for something completely different. After months of searching for enough photos of non-North American or Australian woman, we've finally lucked onto a veritable treasure trove of "International Babes". (Thanks again, Peter!). You'll notice that the word drag doesn't appear in the title, because for the most part, these are the girls of the off-the-planet world of Formula One racing. They've got the most money, fanciest cars, and yes, unfortunately, the best looking women. Click on the pic to check out the latest addition to the Northern Thunder Photo Gallery. It will be worth it... guaranteed. Another long-postponed photo gallery is finally open to the public. Remember that trip I took to Australia this summer? Three months downunder and not very much (photographically speaking) to show for it. I'm absolutely determined to have a digital camera with me next time around and regular web access so I don't get so far behind on updates such as the "More Travels with Bob" photo gallery. Of course it's still under construction (hey, what else is new?), but we've got the first two pages posted and will get the balance done later this week. Click on the pic of Tom having "way too much fun" to enter the gallery. Last note for the day: According to all reports, the final Canadian National Open Series event of the season at the Eagle Motorplex in Ashcroft, BC, was a major success. Thank goodness. The turnout of racers from Alberta was especially impressive and surely much appreciated by the hard working gang at the 'Plex. No word yet on what the track's plans are for the 2000 season, but with this show of support, it's to be hoped that there will be another season for the "little track that could". For pictures and reports on the race, check out Larry Pfister's Horsepower Heaven website.