Words and photos by Ian Tocher

orgive my ignorance, but when I arrived at Phenix Motor Sports Raceway on Feb. 29, I expected to find a bunch of Pro Stock-type cars. All I knew was that the Dixie Pro Stock series was going to hold its second race of the 2004 season at the east Alabama 1/8-miler. Instead, I found 13 nitrous Pro Mod cars preparing to duke it out in a Quick-8 format. Fine by me. I soon learned the Dixie Pro Stocks have been around since the '70s, when teams like Sox & Martin, Gapp & Roush, and Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins would periodically mix it up with the south's local heroes. Gradually the series evolved into the nitrous-assisted show it is today, leaving its title a bit of a misnomer, but feeding the passion for Pro Mods that the sizable crowd on hand in Phenix City readily confirmed.

Dan Parker, with help from crew members Kevin, Erica, Sandro, and Dennis, steered
Bill and Terry George's 1963 Corvette to the race win at Phenix City, AL

After two rounds of qualifying, Dothan, AL's Keith Baker sat on top with a 4.189 at 173.31 mph in his 1998 Corvette. A trio of 4.23s followed, with James Hancock Jr. second at 4.230, David Griffis next at 4.234, and eventual event winner Dan Parker rounding out the top half of the field with a 4.238-secs pass. In a brand-new car making its first full-track passes, Parker made the biggest jump in qualifying after rattling the tires and winding up 12th after his first attempt.

Lynne Milner also improved considerably in her '57 Chevy, going from 10th to 5th with a 4.371 on her second qualifying pass. Filling out the field were Jason Thomas, Doug Patton, and Dixie Pro Stocks administrator Alan Moody.

Keith Baker, a part-time competitor on the IHRA national-event trail, is sporting an
all-new look for 2004. In conjunction with Drag Racing Online, the Baker team is conducting a contest for fans to name the spider now adorning the hood of their
'98 'Vette. Send your suggestions to Fifty bucks
and a DRO hat will go to the person with the winning name, as chosen by
team owner Johnny Baker.

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