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Florida racer Cherissa Smallwood ready for big year in Pro Fuel

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Florida racer Cherissa Smallwood ready for big year in Pro Fuel


Smallwood to debut ‘Nitro and Lace’ dragster in Palm Beach




NORWALK, Ohio (January 19, 2011) – Nitro and lace.




While those two words are not a combination one would often associate with the world of professional drag racing, it is a pairing that racer Cherissa Smallwood hopes to one day make a common place in the world of Nitro Jam. Much in the tradition of such famous car names as “Swamp Rat” and “Jungle Jim”, Smallwood hopes to create her own brand with her all new “Nitro and Lace” Pro Fuel Dragster which she will debut at the Palm Beach Nitro Jam later this month and take on tour throughout the 2011 Nitro Jam season.




“We have big plans for 2011 and that all starts at West Palm. Our goal for this year is to turn the ‘Nitro and Lace’ dragster into one of the fastest cars out there and compete at all of the Nitro Jam events,” Smallwood said. “In 2010 we were very competitive and just missed going to the finals in Virginia by a few hundredths of a second. We also won five of our six rounds last year which was a major accomplishment for us. Being fast is great, but you have to turn that into round wins and in 2011 we hope we can do just that."



Smallwood certainly set the world on fire in 2010, making a grand entrance at Rockingham Dragway in the spring when she blew a tire at the quarter-mile mark in her first career Pro Fuel pass and managed to not only save the dragster, but she returned to compete later that same day. She also had a huge weekend in her second career start in Virginia when she fell just shy of going to her first career final by three hundredths of a second.




In addition to her on track success, Smallwood also fit in perfectly with the new Nitro Jam theme and became an immediate fan favorite.




“When we became aware of the program IHRA was putting together for the 2010 season we were impressed. IHRA revamped an already proven formula and that was one of the most impressive decisions we have come across in some time,” Smallwood said. “After trying it out last year, we are now so thrilled to be a part of the program fulltime. To us personally, the interaction with the fans has increased to another level and that is part of what makes Nitro Jam so great.




“Our job as racers is to put fans in the stands. Of course we love to race, but at this level fan support is everything. Putting on a show that brings people back again and again is what this is all about and we love getting that opportunity.”




Another aspect that has resulted in Smallwood’s immediate presence among the fans is that she is the only fulltime female Nitro Jam competitor on the tour. And with her new fan-friendly design, Smallwood looks forward to once again interacting with the Nitro Jam fans and making a splash both on and off the track.




“Being a female in a man’s sport gives me that extra incentive to perform at my highest level,” Smallwood said. “And of course being in front of thousands of fans shouting ‘girl power’ sure gives you a feeling of accomplishment. After my debut at the Rockingham race last year I can’t describe to you the passion for racing I found inside me again. I can’t wait to get on the track.”



Now all that is left is for Smallwood to put it all together and come away with a win against a very tough field of Pro Fuel cars including defending champion Bill Evans and the “Black Pearl” team and runner-up Mike Manners in “The Shredder” dragster.




And to help her achieve those goals in 2011, Smallwood recently announced the hiring of Anthony Dicero as her new crew chief. Dicero has an extensive nitro background and has already made an impact on the team, helping guide Smallwood to her career best lap at the World Finals in October. Smallwood has also announced a new website to go along with her new “Nitro and Lace” dragster design and she looks forward to adding an Ironman to her list of accomplishments this season as well.




“Mr. Ironman already has a reserved seat in the hauler to make the journey to his new home in Gainesville,” Smallwood said. “We can’t wait to get the season started in Palm Beach.”

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