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BILLY HARPER


9/3 - Harper Makes It to Elite Eight in Indy

8/27 - Harper Goes to First Round of Eliminations at Norwalk

7/29 - Harper Makes Strong Showing in Michigan

7/24 - Harper Will Feel Right at Home at Michigan Dragstrip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harper Makes It to Elite Eight in Indy

CLERMONT, Ind. - 9/3 - While the average person may think the Indy 500 is the hottest racing ticket in Indianapolis, drag racing fans know that the real action is held across town at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) in Clermont, Indiana. This past weekend, Billy Harper, along with the best in the drag racing business, descended on the quarter-mile asphalt strip of IRP to show race fans what it takes to travel at speeds of more than 225 miles per hour. Harper, in his reptile-inspired Dodge Viper, proved to be a crowd favorite at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) U.S. Mac Nationals not only for his slick paint scheme, but more importantly for his super-fast passes.

In drag racing, only the best cars are allowed to compete in the final show. Twenty-six pro modified cars started out the weekend's events in hopes they would have the power to make it to Monday's elite and final eight cars. Harper, who made it to the semi-finals in 2001, was confident his car had what it would take to get to the big show.

"This team has worked so hard over the last few months to give me a car and an engine that would be competitive," explained Harper. "We don't compete every weekend like a lot of these teams do, so we don't really have our momentum going week to week. Even with our limited schedule, these guys are so good, you would think that we are a full-time team."

Round one of qualifying started out a little shaky, literally, as the Dodge Viper shook at the line and headed to the wall before Harper saved it from damage. Once his competitors had cycled around through their passes, Harper was listed in the 25th position. Problems continued into round two when Harper's Dodge fishtailed following takeoff.

Knowing that he was going to have to kick it in, and quickly, Harper rallied in round three knocking off a 6.294- second run at a speed of nearly 225 miles per hour. The pass put Harper and his crew second out of 26 following completion of the round. Harper made two strong passes in both rounds four and five backing up his third round performance. Once the five rounds of qualifying were complete, the 2000 Dodge Viper was listed fourth out of 26 in the final rundown.

With only eight men left standing by Monday's big show, Harper was paired against the 1953 Corvette of Troy Critchley. Unfortunately, during the pass, Harper's Viper broke going down the strip sending him across the centerline, which caused disqualification.

"We had a great car today," stated owner and driver Billy Harper. "It is just so fun to come here to Indy and compete on the same strip as people like John Force and Kenny Bernstein. The fans at this track are awesome. They cheer for everyone and they make everyone feel welcome. I hope that we can come back next year to compete."

Harper and his teammates will be heading to the home of Rock and Roll for the next event on their limited schedule. Memphis Motorsports Park will host the NHRA for the 15th Annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals which will start on September 19 and continue through September 22.

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Harper Goes to First Round of Eliminations at Norwalk

NORWALK, Ohio - 8/27 - Thirty-seven pro modified cars descended on Norwalk, Ohio this past weekend to compete in the 25th Annual International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Sunoco World Nationals. Despite the fierce competition, Billy Harper and his 2000 Dodge Viper qualified fifth for the final rounds of competition.

Harper lined up on Friday for the first round of qualifying in the left lane of the quarter-mile asphalt drag strip paired against Zach Barklage and his 2002 Grand Am. Harper easily beat the time of his competitor clocking in with a speed of 211.30 miles per hour. Harper was listed in the 21st position upon the completion of Friday's qualifying round.

On Saturday, Harper and his team, who were scheduled to go out last in the second round of qualifying, were forced to patiently wait as their competitors attempted to improve on the earlier times. Unfortunately, round two wasn't as successful for the 2000 Dodge Viper team, and once the field completed their passes, Harper was listed in the 29th position.

With just one more round of qualifying left to make it into the 16-car final field, Harper and his crew anxiously approached the line for their third pass. The team saved its best for last as Harper shot down the drag strip at a speed of 224.40 miles per hour. Once all 37 cars had made their qualifying runs, Harper and his 2000 Dodge Viper were listed in fifth.

Entering into the first round of eliminations, Harper was already pleased with his team's performance. "We have had a great weekend so far. With 37 pro mods here this weekend, I am really proud that we clocked the fifth fastest qualifying time. Regardless of how things work out in elminations, I would call this weekend a success."

Harper was paired for the first round of eliminations against Troy Critchley who was driving a 1953 Corvette. Despite beating Critchley off the line, Harper couldn't hold off the Corvette's advances and was eliminated.

The weekend's events enabled Harper to get warmed up for this weekend's National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) event to be held at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The 48th Annual U.S. Nationals will be held August 28 through September 2, with the first round of pro modified qualifying taking place on Friday, August 30.

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Harper Makes Strong Showing in Michigan

MARTIN, Mich. - 7/29 - Billy Harper's hopes for a strong showing in this past weekend's International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) 21st Annual Carquest Auto Parts Northern Nationals were fulfilled as the team made it to the final round of competition. The event, held at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan marks the team's second event of their limited 2002 racing season.

Harper and his team started their weekend events strong clocking the sixth fastest time in the first qualifying session with a time of 6.403 seconds. The quick pass on the quarter-mile dragstrip put Harper in the sixth position (out of 29 cars) heading into round two of qualifying.

With a strong pass already under their belts, Harper and the team headed to the strip for the second pass full of confidence. The second pass, clocked at 6.868 seconds at a speed of 141.15 miles per hour. After all the cars had cycled through with their second pass, Harper was on the board in the ninth position heading into the third round of qualifying.

Although the second set of qualifying runs didn't go as smoothly as the first, Harper was able to stand on his first qualifying run and advanced into the first round of eliminations on Sunday. Sitting 12th among the final group of 16 cars, Harper was ready for the challenge posed by competing driver Fred Hahn.

Hahn, an IHRA regular in victory lane proved to have just a little more power than Harper heading down the strip. Hahn's time of .440 seconds narrowly beat Harper's strong .464-second run. All in all, the weekend proved successful and gave Harper the chance to improve on his already impressive driving skills.

"It was a good weekend for the Billy Harper Motorsports team," stated Harper. "The new track is awesome and IHRA really put on a great show for the fans. We had a good car and made two really strong passes. This team deserves all the credit for getting us to the first round of elimination."

The Billy Harper Motorsports team makes its next stop on the racing circuit in the IHRA event to be held at Norwalk Raceway Park in Norwalk, Ohio. The weekend's activities begin on August 22 and will be broadcast on ESPN2 tape delayed.

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7/24 - Harper Will Feel Right at Home at Michigan Dragstrip

PADUCAH, Ky. - 7/24 - Billy Harper spends most of his waking hours thinking about construction projects. Harper, President of Harper Industries, a holding company for several construction related firms, knows just what goes into building a new stretch of road. With his concrete, sand and asphalt knowledge, he will probably have a greater appreciation than most for the 14-million dollar price tag of this weekend's racing venue: US 131Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan. The track re-opened its gates last month to drag strip enthusiasts with a 1/4-mile of new racing surface, six staging lanes, new grandstands and a larger pit area for the teams.

This weekend's event, the International Hot Road Association (IHRA) 21st Annual Carquest Auto Parts Northern Nationals, will mark the highlight of the 2002 season for the track located between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Harper is hoping that it will be the highlight of his 2002 season as well. Competing in only one other race this season, Harper has had a tough time staying away from his favorite pastime.

"I can't wait to get to Michigan to check out the new surface," said Harper. I've never been to that track before, but I hear with the improvements that it's one of the best dragstrips in the nation. The team has prepared an awesome machine for me and my motor should run like a dream after we smoothed out the kinks out a few weeks ago at Gateway."

Late last month the Billy Harper Motorsports team made its 2002 racing debut at Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway clocking the third-fastest nitrous time of the weekend. Although the Pro Modified Viper didn't make it to the final round of competition in the event, Harper was still pleased with his team's performance.

This weekend's activities begin Friday with the first round of Pro Modified qualifying. The pro mods will hit the 1/4 dragstrip again on Saturday before the big show on Sunday afternoon. For more information on Harper's favorite sport, log on to www.ihra.com.

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