Blaney Sets Drag Race

Weller Advances Easily

ELGIN- For most drag racing competitors, a jump from Competition Eliminator in the sportsman ranks to Top Fuel Eliminator – the sport’s highest professional class – is not an easy one.

Many in fact, encounter such difficulty with the nitro- burning dragster that they later return to the sportsman divisions.

But for Lee Weller of WEstminster, Md., the move has been rather easy to say the least.

Less than two years ago, the 33-year-old speed shop owner was driving B/Dragsters in Competition Eliminator and held the National Hot Rod Association record for his class.

Now, as he enters the third of five NHRA southeast Division points meets here Saturday at Blaney Drag Strip. Weller holds a commanding lead in the division’s Top Fuel point standing and ranks sixth nationally.

Weller made his move from sportsman dragsters to 2,000-horsepower Top Fuel machines early last season when he joined the husband-wife team of Jim and Alison Lee of The Plains, Va., owners of winning Top Fuel dragster for the past 10 years.

This season, following a year of experience together, the trio is unbeaten in the Southeast Division Following triumphs March 27 at Warner Robins, Ga., and April 17 at Bradenton, Fla.

A thrid straight victory at Blaney – where Weller was runner-up last year to former national champion Gary Beck – would virtually assure Weller’s first division crown and the fourth for his owners.

But a win in Saturday’s $36,000 event won’t come

(See WELLER, 2-D, Col. 1)

June 1, 1977  State (published as The State)  Columbia, South Carolina
Page 40

Weller Eyes 3rd ’77 Win

(Continued From Page 1-D)

easy. Other Top Fuel entrants include defending division champ Clayton Harris, Don Durbin, Bob Strauss, Richard Tharp, Marvin Schwartz and Fred Lemaster.

Larry Fullerton, Bob Barry and Don Neese lead the entry list for the Funny Car division. Current National point leader Don Nicholson is expected to battle defending division champ Roy Hill and Lamar Walden for Pro Stock honors.

Top sportsman entrants include Chase Knight, Jerry Gwynn, Dale Armstrong and Wilfred Boutilier in Pro Comp; Wayne Clapp and Ray Hanke in Competition; Cotton Perry, Dempsey Hardy and David Surles in Modified; Sonny Ray and Seve Bagwell in Super Stock and Back Jednak and Don Wolff in Stock.

Blaney’s gates open Saturday morning at 8 o’clock with qualifying session taking place throughout the day. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 7:30 Saturday night on the quarter-mile asphalt strip.

June 1, 1977  State (published as The State)  
Columbia, South Carolina
Page 41

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