:::::: Rumor Mill ::::::

RHONDA HARTMAN-SMITH'S RETURN?

We are told that veteran Top Fuel racer Rhonda Hartman-Smith will soon return to the drag racing ranks, but it won't be in a dragster. Our source tells us that she will soon take over the driving chores on a classic Dodge Charger and it will be a quick one. Recently husband John Smith took it for a test run and recorded an eighth-mile 4.03, 192.

ERICA'S SECOND CAR

You can chalk this one up to being the gospel. Erica Enders will have a teammate soon, but don't expect a name from the usual suspects. In fact, this driver will have no previous professional drag racing experience. This unnamed driver will climb behind the wheel of the red Stratus that Enders currently wheels. Enders will drive the Enders & Haas Stratus recently tested in St. Louis.

GOOD MORNING DRAG RACING!

Torco's CompetitionPlus.com has learned of a major coup for drag racing in the days leading up to the NHRA event in Englishtown. Reportedly, three of drag racing's top female stars, Melanie Troxel, Ashley Force and Angelle Sampey, have all been invited onto the set of ABC's Good Morning America show.

From what we hear, Troxel's Evan Knoll-sponsored Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA tribute dragster will be on display in Times Square during the NYC morning hours for the show. 

PRO STOCK TEAM LOSES SPONSOR?

World has it that a major Pro Stock team on the NHRA POWERade tour has lost
their major backing due to the sponsor's dismal financial status. Reportedly,
this sponsor failed to meet their contractural obligations and notified the team
last week they had no intention of fulfilling their contract, whom we'll keep
unnamed as we await official confirmation from their management. If what we are
hearing in addition to this pans out, this situation may only cause a ripple in
the ocean as we are told by our source.

BECKMAN'S TOP FUEL TEST

Don Schumacher confirmed during the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., that Jack Beckman will be making test runs in a dragster. The original plan was to commence following St. Louis but the dragster was not ready. Schumacher then conveyed the test would follow Bristol. Word comes to us that Beckman will test next week in Indy to renew his Top Fuel license. 

NHRA PRO MODIFIED SHOOTOUT?

Torco's CompetitionPlus.com has learned that the AMS Pro Modified Challenge will soon be announcing that it has signed a new sponsor for a $50,000 eight-car shootout. From what we are hearing, this special event will also feature the opportunity for one lucky racer to pocket an extra $25K.

EICKE'S NEW GIG

Word has it that an announcement is forthcoming that cylinder head specialist Dale Eicke has joined forces with carburetor magnate Barry Grant. Grant was in Commerce without his race car but pointed out that they may be soon returning to competition. The team is working hard on horsepower gains in their Charlotte, NC.-based shop.

RATT AND ROLL?

The rumor that the 1980's rock band 'Ratt' will be coming on board as an
associate sponsor on Clay Millican's Knoll Gas dragster was neither confirmed
nor denied by Millican, a former Top Fuel finalist at Atlanta.

"I keep hearing that," was all the smiling Tennessee native
would say about the subject.

GANN DOWN FOR THE COUNT?

Torco’s Competitionplus.com has heard that Pro Stock Motorcycle standout
Shawn Gann was injured in a recent pit bike  accident, and may be forced to
miss this coming weekend’s NHRA Summit  Racing Equipment Southern Nationals
in Atlanta.  Gann reportedly  received only minor injuries, but they may
still be severe enough to keep him off one of those six second quarter mile
burners.

STEWART'S NEW GIG

Expect an official announcement soon regarding the employment status for John Stewart. The former tuner is said to be headed to the Clay Millican team to work with Mike Kloeber as early as Commerce. Our source tells us that he will also make the rounds at some IHRA events assisting Scotty Cannon.

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