Manners, Evans locked in epic Pro Fuel battle
Nitro Jam Media
Apr 12, 2011
Same story, different year.
It was only five months ago when Bill Evans and the “Black Pearl” crew wrapped up their first Nitro Jam championship to conclude an epic title fight with Mike Manners that wasn’t decided until the final pass of the 2010 season.
This year, already halfway through the schedule, it appears the same great battle will once again dominate the headlines as Evans and Manners are once again locked in an epic struggle in Nitro Jam’s popular 100 percent nitro-powered dragster class heading into Pro Fuel’s biggest race of the year next month in Pittsburgh.
“It has been a wonderful year so far for our team, especially with the two wins in San Antonio. We were a little disappointed with some of the inconsistency the first half of the year, but the car is running as good as ever at this point in the season,” Manners said. “The crew has done an excellent job keeping us fast and competitive and it looks like this year we might have something for that ‘Black Pearl’ team.”
Through four events, three of which have featured the Pro Fuel class, Evans currently holds a two point lead over the driver of the “Shredder” machine entering the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam next month at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.
Evans has cumulated 187 points via two wins and three runner-up finishes, two markers ahead of Manners who closed the gap at the recently completed San Antonio Nitro Jam as the Texas native, piloting the popular black and green “Shredder” dragster, swept the class in his first action since mid-February.
Now Pro Fuel will have an opportunity to be the headline attraction at Nitro Jam’s Pennsylvania debut May 20-21 as the stars of the newest dragster division will represent the quickest and fastest class on the property at the inaugural Pittsburgh Nitro Jam.
“Of course we are excited. We are treated very well by the IHRA and this class has become extremely popular over the past two years with so many people recognizing the car and knowing who we are,” Evans said. “Now we get to take that a step further by being one of the top classes in Pittsburgh next month. It should be a good one and we look forward to the opportunity.”
Manners has been the star in the division as of late, sweeping San Antonio to give him a grand total of three wins this season and the quickest and fastest laps of the season. Manners has also been the most consistent dragster in the class, allowing him to close the gap to just two entering Pittsburgh.
While Evans still holds the national record for the class, Manners owns the best numbers through three events this season, putting down an impressive 5.288-second lap at 274.06 miles per en route to his weekend sweep in Texas.
Manners also recently passed Evans in career finals with 12 and is just one win behind in the all-time win category with seven victories. Evans has eight trips to victory lane in two seasons.
In third place in the division is Robin Samsel and the “Predator” team whose lone victory back in February has helped him stay in the hunt, sitting just 42 points back of the top dogs. Rounding out the class in fourth is Florida native Cherissa Smallwood in the “Nitro and Lace” dragster.
In addition to the incredible competition, fans have grown to love the new nitro-powered dragster class with their unique designs and crowd interaction.
Now the fun comes to Pittsburgh Raceway Park as the stars of Pro Fuel bring their incredible show to Pittsburgh May 20-21 for the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam. The class will join the stars of Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car and Nitro Harley in two nights of incredible racing action.