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The latest update as of August 29, 1999

It's very late Saturday night -- or very early Sunday morning -- depending on which way you look at it, so of necessity this has to be a short update. I've just got home from my job on the Vancouver waterfront and have to be in bed soon so I can drag my sorry old butt out to Mission Raceway tomorrow morning for a few hours before I head back to work. Home from Australia for only three weeks now and the "merry-go-round" is almost up to full speed again.

The latest results from Norwalk, Ohio's IHRA World Nationals show the debut of Glen May's brand new '99 Ford Ranger pickup truck to be an instant success -- so far. In the final Pro Mod qualifying session, during the "Night of Fire", Glen jumped to #5 in the field with a 6.401 at only 205.38 mph. The report doesn't indicate any particular reason for the "low" speed, so hopefully there's no damage and the newest "Cranberry Connection" will be ready to run hard during eliminations later today. Glen's first round opponent will be Billy Harper, who qualified at a very close 6.43, in a field that featured an IHRA record bubble of 6.460.

In fact, the first five alternates were all in the 6.40's, so just qualifying for the show was a feat in itself. Al Billes of Barrie, Ontario qualified #15 with a very good 6.45, but the other Canadian entrants weren't so lucky. Larry Sinke of Welland, Ontario never got on the pace all weekend and finished as the 16th alternate with a 6.91, while Waterloo, Ontario's Al Hinds ended up near the bottom with a 7.08 best.

In Alcohol Funny Car, Ontario's Paul Noakes lost his hold on the # 1 spot in the final qualifying session, dropping to #2 with a very good 5.963. The other Canadian (all from Ontario) cars in the field didn't improve on their Friday efforts and dropped down to #13 (Herb Rodgers) and #14 (Larry Dobbs), respectively. Like the Pro Mods, just qualifying for eliminations was a victory, with a very tough 6.145 bubble.

Just missing the show (as the #3 alternate) was Rob Atchison with a fine 6.17, and just behind him (#5 alternate) was Adam Szeler at 6.21. A total of 36 cars made up the entry list and even the #16 alternate ran a respectable best of 6.49. Quite a difference from the typical NHRA field, eh? By the way, in case the times seem a little slow by comparison, the IHRA rules for alky funnies don't allow screw blowers. It makes a big difference, doesn't it?

The "Night of Fire" at Norwalk truly was a fiery spectacle as Top Fuel car after Top Fuel car light up the night with engine explosions. Starting their final (second) qualifying session after 9:00 pm, the very lengthy cleanups required forced the alky funny cars (which followed) into a post-midnight finish. Long night indeed. Despite all the carnage, the T/F'ers ended up with an all four-second field, with an IHRA record bubble of 4.96, from the fairly large entry list of 14 cars for the eight car show. Departing from tradition, the fuellers only ran two qualifying sessions, Saturday afternoon and evening, in an attempt to save on expenses for what has to be considered to be an increasingly endangered species. At least the low-dollar, still doing it for fun variety of fuel car.

That's all we've got time for tonight, and tomorrow won't allow us any time to update Sunday's doing's until very, very late, so come back on Monday to see the weekend wrap-up. PS: Results from the Avon Park Super Series event in England will have to wait a few more days, as the European Top Methanol Racers Association web server crashed (again) and since it's a "Bank" (Statutory) holiday on Monday.... PPS: Just found the numbers (at least some of them) on the Eurodragster website. We'll endeavor to have a full report by Monday night.

Black Bar
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