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IHRA at Darlington:
New Season, New Cars, New Rules

The "new" IHRA opened its third season at Darlington, SC with their Winter Nationals. Unlike past years when the usual cast of characters showed for the race, this year the pits were full of new cars, new teams and new sponsors, especially in the Top fuel and Pro Modified classes.

The Top Fuel division saw an influx of new teams and some old ones with new sponsors and better equipment. For the first time since the late eighties when Kenny Bernstein, Darrel Gwynn and other hitters raced with IHRA, the Top Fuel teams at this event had to be considered on a par in every respect with their NHRA counterparts.

The always popular Pro Mod class was full of new "old" cars as '41 Willys, 1967-69 Camaros and early model 'Vettes dominated the entry list. In fact, the only late model entry that qualified in the 16 car Pro Mod field was Harold Martin's 2000 Firebird.

On the other hand, IHRA's mountain motored Pro Stock field was filled with late model Detroit iron. For the first time in nearly a decade fans and racers didn't have any problems telling the difference between Pro Stock and Pro Mod. Despite some weather problems the first race of the 2000 IHRA season delivered everything that a fan could want including stellar performances from fuel cars and controversy in the doorslammers classes. If this race is an indication of what the IHRA season is going to be like, the $20 ticket to get into an IHRA race might be the best deal in drag racing.

There were upsets all over the place in Pro Modified. Fred Hahn, who qualified Jim Oddy's '54 'Vette number 4 with a 6.38 / 221, shook the tires hard and lost to #13 qualifier Quain Stott in the first round. (photo above.)

Due to rainy weather, the Pro Mods only got two shots to qualify. Carl Moyer's immaculate '57 Chevy missed the show by three-thousandths of a second with a 6.481 lap at 216 mph.
Tracy Howard's Top Fuel crew worked late into the night on Thursday trying to get their car into the tough show. Unfortunately, their 6.77 wouldn't get them in the program.



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