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Friday, March 21, 2003 - 11:27:41 AM PST

Team Report: Doug Vancil

Vance & Hines Race Report
Vancil's third win nearly locks up championship

In any championship sport, the team that comes away with the big prize is the one that is performing above the others at the end of the season. While Doug Vancil and the Vance & Hines Nitro Harley team have performed well all season, they chose the end of the season to turn up the wick.

Vancil's performance at the IHRA CARQUEST Autumn Nationals in Rockingham, North Carolina, could not have been stronger, more demoralizing to his competition or come at a better time. With only two races left in the season, Vancil is in the driver's seat and practically has a mathematical lock to cinch the Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley championship.

The results speak for themselves: Number one qualifier; low elapsed time of every round of eliminations, low e.t. of the event in the final with a win over Mike Romine. The win was Vancil's second in a row and third of the season in five final round appearances.

"It was another good race for us," said Vancil. "We need to keep the momentum going for the last two races."

Vancil opened the event with a baseline 6.70 elapsed time at 207 mph in the first qualifying session. Tire-smoking passes in the next two sessions did not improve on the 6.70 and Vancil found himself in the fourth position going into the final session. 

"For the 6.70 we were down on power and it drove through the clutch," said Vancil. "We were just trying to get down the track so it actually worked for us. For the next two laps we had plenty of horsepower, we just had trouble getting it to stick to the track. I was a little concerned going into the final session. There have been some races where a 6.70 would not have qualified so I knew we needed to get down the track well."

After a few tune-up changes Vancil secured the number one qualifying position in dramatic fashion, taking it in the last session with a 6.56 at 205 mph.

In the first round of eliminations Vancil met Bill Furr and was able to get by with an early shut-off 6.60 at 198 mph - still the quickest of the round. In the semifinals Vancil was the immediate winner as Mark Cox red lighted. Still, Vancil motored to a 6.52 at 207 mph which was, at the time, the low e.t. of the meet.

The final was delayed over three and a half hours due to rain. The combination of cooler air (read: more horsepower) and cooler track (read: less traction) is a tricky situation to deal with but Vancil proved his tuning savvy as he was able to turn the hot lap of the event at 6.44/206 and take the win over Romine.

"Once they got it dried up the track was better than it was during the day," said Vancil. "The track crew did a great job prepping the track. The air was better and we were able to put down a good number."

With the final results tallied up, Vancil has a 155 points lead over Steve Stordeur going into Budd's Creek, Maryland, the second to last race of the year. If Vancil makes four clean qualifying laps and secures a spot in the field of the Sunday show at the last two races, then he will lock up the championship regardless of what Stordeur does.

"We just need to do well at the next two," said Vancil. "We want to do our best and we want to try to win races. We are not going to make any changes because I know we can run good with what we have. We always go back to what we know. I think we will do OK."

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