ELGIN- The third of five championship in the National Hot Rod Association’s Southeast Division will be held here today at Blaney Drag Strip.
Gates open this morning at 8 o’clock, with qualifying sessions scheduled throughout the day. Final eliminations in the $36,000 event will begin tonight at 7:30. Lee Weller of Westminster, Md., seeks his third straight divisional triumph in the Top Fuel class following wins March 27 at Warner Robins, Ga., and April 17 at Bradenton, Fla.
Weller’s top opposition is expected from three-time Southeast champion Clayton Harris of Moulton, Ala., and Don Durbin of San Jose, Calif. Other Top Fuel threats include Bradenton runner-up Bob Strauss of Montgomery, Ala., Marvin Schwartz of Largo, Fla., Fred Lemaster of Pompano Beach, Fla., Richard Tharp of Houma, La., and Ted Wolf of Pittsburg.
Former national champion Larry Fullerton of Jacksonville, Fla., leads Funny Car entrants and will do battle against Pete Miner of Pompano Beach, Bob Barry of Kings Point, N. Y., Murf McKinney of Otterbein, Ind., Donnie Plunkett of Roanoke, Va., and Dee Simmons of Greensboro, N. C.
National point leader Don Nicholson of Atlanta and Lamar Walden of Doraville, Ga., spice a Pro Stock field that includes Roy Hill of Randleman, N. C. Hill was runner-up to Nicholson at Warner Robins and finished second to Walkden at Bradenton. Other Pro Stock hopefuls include Richard DeLisi of Pompano Beach, David Surles of Fayetteville, N. C., and Dickey Byrd of Macon, Ga.
Current division point leader Chase Knight of Fort Lauderdale, winner at Warner Robins, heads the Pro Comp field. Defending national champion Wayne Clapp of Harvey, La., has won at Warner Robins and Bradenton and is heavily favored in the Competition class.
Cotton Perry of Ringgold, Ga., tops the Modified entry list. Perry is the division’s defending Modified champ and currently leads the Southeast point standings following his win at Bradenton.
Sonny Ray of Piedmont, Ala., seeks to widen his division point lead in Super Stock after winning at Bradenton, while Warner Robins winner Buck Jednak of Fort Lauderdale is favored among Stock competitors.