:::::: News ::::::

ESTN PRE-ENTRIES - 01-02

The following are the pre-entries received for the 8th annual Eastern Spring Test Nationals presented by Torco's CompetitionPlus.com hosted by South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, Ga. 

GILBERTSON'S NEW CREW CHIEF

Bob Gilbertson, owner/driver of the Autolite/Prestone nitro Funny Car, has
announced that Nicky Boninfante Jr. will re-join the Terminator Motorsports team
as crew chief for the 2008 season.
 
Boninfante was Gilbertson's crew chief from 2003
to 2006 before stepping aside in 2007 to concentrate on his family-owned
business and cut back to a limited race schedule.  Boninfante spent last year
working with Top Fuel driver Bruce Litton who he tuned to the 2007 IHRA
championship.
 
Boninfante replaces Tommy Delago, who he shared
crew chief duties with in 2006 then Delago took over the job solo for the 2007
season.

DICK MCCLUNG PASSES

Dick McClung, 79, a former dirt track racer and a member of the board
of directors of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by
the Automobile Club of Southern California, passed away on Wed., Dec.
19, after suffering a massive heart attack.

“We were blessed to have Dick McClung on our Board,” said Tony Thacker,
executive director of the Parks Museum.  “In addition to his
enthusiastic work for the Museum, Dick donated race helmets, Indy 500
badges and other artifacts, along with sizeable cash contributions. He
was a true inspiration and loved the Museum. He’ll be greatly missed.”

The Dick McClung Helmet Collection is widely regarded as the finest of
its kind.  Each helmet is accompanied by a photo of a top racing driver
wearing the actual helmet and a brief story about the driver.

CHILLIK WINS HANGOVER NATIONALS

75048bf.jpgIn spite of the National Weather Service putting the area under a winter weather
warning 7 hours before the gates opened, nearly 140 participants turned out for
the 9th Annual Hangover Nationals at Dragway 42.

At times the wind
driven snow became so heavy that it was difficult to see past the finish line
but the racers did their best to keep the diverse assortment of vehicles under
control and the event was run with only one single "no harm, no foul" spinout
slowing the action.

Three hours of time trials led to eight rounds of
eliminations, with the past three Hangover Nationals champions going deep into
the program.

TIM GROSE REMEMBERS “THE CRASH”

grose_02.jpg

grose_03.jpgTim Grose, a former nitro Funny Car driver, has been an interested spectator to the recent controversy of the Funny Car chassis and subsequent crashes, but points out that while his was bad for that era in drag racing, he’s seen a lot worse today.

“I was fortunate to walk away. I still don’t think mine compares to some of those I’ve seen today.”

While he’d prefer that his name be associated more as a competitor who generated the most with the least, he’s still haunted by the reminders of a grisly crash that some rank as one of the worst in the class.

MORE CLASSIC FUNNY CARS

This week's classic drag racing clip from YouTube.com features the final of the 1980 Popular Hot Rodding Nationals at the then U.S. 131 Dragway in Martin, Michigan. Adding to the greatness of this clip featuring Ron Colson and Gary Burgin is a post-run interview with Dave McClelland.

HANKINSON CONFIRMS RUMOR

In 2007, Craig Hankinson was a candidate for NHRA rookie driver of the year. This season, he'll be tuning a potential one.

Torco's
CompetitionPlus.com confirmed today that Hankinson will serve as crew
chief for former nitro racer turned Pro Stock driver Johnny Gray. Gray
will drive a Dodge Stratus utilizing Larry Morgan horsepower.

Hankinson confirmed that he will put his driving career on hold.

JANIS NAMED TINDLE CREW CHIEF

Tim Tindle, 2007 Promod Rookie of the Year, has named two-time IHRA Pro Mod World Champion
Mike Janis and son Mike Janis Jr. Crew Chief and Co-Crew Chief of the
Tindle Racing Promod Team.

"I can't begin to explain how excited I am of this upcoming
season," 
Tindle said. "I am proud of what we were able to accomplish in our first year
of Promod racing and I have had the opportunity to learn a lot. We have
made a lot of changes as we prepare for the upcoming season and we are
really excited about it. This year may be one of the fastest and most
competitive lineups that NHRA Pro Mods have seen. We welcome Mike and
Mike Janis Jr. to our operation and we are looking forward to getting
this season started."

A CATALYST FOR THE NEW YEAR

Isn’t it funny how the simple things that seem so insignificant in our young lives can make such a huge impact as we age?

Take for instance a simple word - catalyst, I used to dislike the word, but now I thank God for it.

This dislike can be traced to the fifth grade when the difference
between an average and above average grade on a vocabulary test was the
word catalyst.

I thought it was a part on a car and answered accordingly.

HOLLIE AND DONNIE FAULKNER EXPECTING

Hollie and Donnie Faulkner just called to let the Torco's
CompetitionPlus.com readers know that on August 26, 2008, the couple
are expecting a child. The Faulkners are the proprietors of the Rolling
O Store on the NHRA Midway. Last spring, the Faulkners lost their
unborn son Eric Blake Faulkner.

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