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Scotty Cannon to make Top Fuel debut at Amalie Oil Tx. Nationals


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Travis Reynolds

(419) 706-8631

travisreynolds@livenation.com

Media Contact: Mike Perry

(419) 660-4213

mikeperryihra@livenation.com

 

SCOTTY CANNON SET TO MAKE IHRA TOP FUEL DEBUT AT AMALIE OIL TEXAS NATIONALS

 

NORWALK, Ohio (March 5, 2007) - Drag racing fans can see one of the sport’s legends, Scotty Cannon, who made a name for himself winning six Pro Modified world championships, make his Top Fuel debut March 23 – 25 at San Antonio Raceway during the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by NAPA AUTO PARTS.

 

Cannon made a name for himself winning four consecutive IHRA Pro Modified world championships from 1991 – 1994. He added two more in 1996 and 1998 to become the only six-time champion in that class anywhere. The name Cannon became synonymous with Pro Mod, and still is today.

 

He would go on to race NHRA Nitro Funny Car in an Oakley-sponsored ride owned by Don Schumacher. He finished in the top ten twice during his five-year career and left the class unable to do what he had become so used to doing: win.

 

After helping his son Scott Cannon Jr. establish himself last year as a true commodity in IHRA Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified, Cannon Sr. will make his return to full-time racing this year in Evan Knoll’s Seelye-Wright Auto Group Top Fuel dragster.

 

Cannon, from Lyman, S.C., has never driven a Top Fuel dragster. However, with his stout racing credentials, and the fact that he drove a Nitro Funny Car for five years, I can’t imagine there being many growing pains as he straps in for the first time.

 

“I’ve been with Evan and Torco since ’94 or ’95, and not just as a sponsor. We got to be pretty good friends too,” said Cannon. “He asked me why I wasn’t back out there driving, and I told him I was ready, and had never really considered that I quit.”

 

The two agreed that if Knoll wasn’t driving his dragster, Cannon should.

 

“He’s given me such a great opportunity. It’s great to be able to work with someone like that, someone who loves racing. There is a difference if you are just getting sponsored by someone who is giving you money to drive the car. That’s good, but it adds a little more to it when you are driving a car for someone who wants it and loves racing as much as you," said Cannon.

 

He is taking his first foray in Top Fuel in stride.

 

“The pressure is the same. I’ve always put myself on giving 110 percent. If you are doing that, the level of pressure is as high as it’s going to be anyway," said Cannon. "So, there really isn’t going to be any more or less pressure this year.

 

“You just go out and give it everything, that’s all you can do. If you over-react and try to give it more and make something happen that you can’t like try to make a miracle happen, it’s just not going to.”

 

Cannon is humble, yet confident, when talking about his chances to win the championship. It’s a response not unlike many of our favorite champions.

 

“I hate to even comment on that. I’d say just as good as anybody’s," he said. "The key to all this is that I’ve got most of my old crew back when we finished sixth in Funny Car in 2000. The other key is that we are getting the sister-car to J.R. Todd’s, with the same Jimmy Walsh tune-up in it.

 

“Plus, we’ll have Jimmy in our corner so-to-speak. So, that makes me feel a lot better. I’d say we have a good chance winning the championship. If we didn’t, I wouldn’t want to be out there doing it.”

 

Reflecting on his career, Cannon was there at the beginning of the Pro Modified craze. The experience he gained, as well as racing the Nitro Funny Car, should help fuel a great season of racing.

 

“I was one of the founders of the Pro Mod program. I was there when the doors first opened, and through all the rules and the controversy and hype. As it grew, I grew with it," he said. "The difference with this dragster, it’s a class that’s been established a long time. You have to get in mid-stream, dive in head first and you get a little bit of everything at one time.

 

“You work on racing 24-hours-a-day in your mind, even when you are sleeping, trying to make it happen, and you just try to line everything up and surround yourself with good people. If you surround yourself with good people and everyone is trying to accomplish the same thing, naturally, that was the key to winning my six championships in Pro Mod.

 

“With the fuel (Funny) Car, the first year we didn’t do really good. But my second year, we finished sixth, and I thought that was pretty good. Then, I changed some personnel and tried to speed the process up. And I wound up falling backwards. I found out a lot from that. You can’t force-feed it. You just have to work as hard as you can. I’ve learned a great deal. I think I can take the stuff I learned and find out where I made mistakes, and I think I can execute it a lot better than I did a couple years back.

 

“It’s obvious I wasn’t happy with my results. I could go back and pick out little things here and there, but you just have to put it behind you, learn from it and go back out there. The good thing is I’m only 44 years old. I still have a lot of time in front of me. One good win, a couple good races and we’ll forget about a long time ago.”

 

Among all the questions that come with Cannon’s announcement, what happens to Scott Jr.’s own Pro Modified career? With last year’s win at Rockingham Dragway, he proved he can drive, although father’s presence undoubtedly influenced his performance.

 

“All I did on that car was make the last call, and most times, I didn’t change it. Scott and some of the guys that work on that team can make the calls anyway. Plus, I’ll be at the track when Scott’s racing. We’ve had this talk, and it’s a really good question. I don’t think it’s going to hurt it at all. If anything, it’s going to really make the team mature because I’ll be missing from the scene a little bit. So, we’ll have to wait and see," he said.

 

What are the chances of seeing a championship card with two Scott Cannon’s at season’s end?

 

“That’s our goal of course, because you never set your goals low. Always set them high," Cannon said. "Maybe it’s far-fetched, but I know we have some supporters who love that idea.”

 

For more information or media requests, please contact Travis Reynolds at (419) 706-8631, travisreynolds@livenation.com, or Mike Perry at (419) 660-4213, mikeperryihra@livenation.com.

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Scotty tested for the first time this weekend in Valdosta, Georgia at the Eastern Spring "Test" Nationals.After doing a "lets see how this works" pass on his first rundown the track,Scotty returned to the starting line for his 2nd pass ever in a Top Fuel Car and laid down a 4.75 ET at 309 MPH.Should be "Game On" in San Antonio,I expect to see him at the top of the charts with lo to upper 4.5's after some more seat time.

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