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Wed, 28 Jun 2000, 12:06 PM

Who is Louie Allison?
Courtesy of Matt Davis

Just the Fastest Pinstripper on Earth!

DENVER -- Fans of the IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series may have noticed a familiar name missing from the qualifying sheets at the first four 2000 IHRA national events. That name is 'Pontiac' Jack Ostrander. While the veteran has not driven at the first four IHRA events, his car has been present at all the IHRA national events with new driver Louie Allison. You say Louie Allison?

Louie Allison does burnout.
While the name may not be familiar to the casual Top Fuel fan, Louie Allison has been attending drag racing events as a Jack Ostrander crew member since 1988. The Denver pinstripper attended his first event with Ostrander at the 1988 NHRA Springnationals in Columbus, Ohio. Since then Allison has been one of the many dedicated volunteer Ostrander crew members.

While top dollar Top Fuel teams have crew members for specific duties, the Ostrander crew is 100% volunteer with crew members doing what it takes to get the car to the line each and every time the call going out for Top Fuel to the lanes.

At the end of the 1999 season, Ostrander had knee surgery which sidelined him from the driving seat for the first half of the 2000 season. Instead of picking a seasoned veteran to take over the Rocky Mountain Express / 300 Bowl Top Fuel Dragster, Ostrander turned to crew member and friend Allison.

"Myself and Jack originally had the conversation about me driving about 4 years ago," Allison said. "We discussed a two-car team and how much sense it made to run the IHRA series with 2 cars if the financial backing could be secured. While we never did get that backing, this year the opportunity came for me to drive the car and I can't thank Jack enough."

Never having driven a car faster than 13-seconds or 80 mph, Allison went to Rockingham Dragway in February to try and obtain his license to wheel the fastest accelerating racing vehicle on earth. At Rockingham, Allison ran 5.13-seconds in the quarter-mile, but did not secure his license during the test session. At the IHRA Winter Nationals in Darlington, weather played havoc for the entire event and again Allison did not get his 'official' IHRA driving license. That license finally came at the IHRA Spring Nationals in Rockingham, N.C. He then went to the IHRA Canadian Nationals in Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada and qualified for his first event. In final eliminations Allison was the only Top Fuel driver to record a sub .500 reaction time, but he lost to 2-time IHRA champion Paul Romine in round one.

If that was not enough, at the last IHRA national event, the Summer Nationals in Cordova, Ill, June 10th, Allison did not just qualify for the event, he took out veteran Jim Head in round one with a 4.993 at 297.42 miles-per-hour.

"I couldn't believe we went 297," Allison said. "Jack's career best is 297 and with a new injector this year, among a few other trick items, at Cordova, things came together where this car just hauled butt. I don't think anyone at IHRA even knew what I looked like because they had this 'Nitro War' deal for the semifinals and no one even came and got me because I don't think they knew who I was or what I even looked like!"

If they didn't know who Louie Allison was before Cordova, they know now. Dubbed by the IHRA announcers as Louie 'the lizard', Allison is out to inform the media, he doesn't drive a Budweiser sponsored car, but Jack Ostrander's dragster.

"I don't know what that lizard stuff is about with the announcers, but I want people to know I am the fastest pinstripper I know of and proud of it," Allison said. "You can get rid of that lizard stuff, I'm from Denver and drink Coors anyway."

So with the lizard nickname out and the 'fastest pinstripper on earth' in, Allison is ready for the CARQUEST Auto Parts Empire Nationals, July 14th-16th at New York Int'l Raceway Park in Leicester, NY.

"I don't know what to expect at Leicester, but I just want to do good for Jack and our crew," Allison said. "Jack has been doing this a long time and has been a long time supporter of IHRA drag racing and I want him to get the respect he deserves. You never know, at one of these events, we're going to get our spare car down from upstairs and do the two-car team deal like the big teams. I can't wait for that to happen and it's not to far away, trust me."

The CARQUEST Auto Parts Empire Nationals will air on TNN September 3rd at 10:30 pm.

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