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Sun, 19 Nov 2000, 09:28 AM

Dillman Back on Top After Day Three
Courtesy of Moroso Motorsports Park

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Steve Dillman of Indianapolis, Ind., regained the overall points lead after three days of competition at the 19th annual Sunoco Five-Day E.T. Championships at Moroso Motorsports Park. Dillman used a strong round five finish in the third event to take the lead from Day Two winner Claude DeBonis of West Palm Beach. With two events remaining in the $197,000 event, Dillman has 67 points to DeBonis' 62. Dillman won the first of five $10,000 to win races when he drove his Winnebago dragster to a final round victory over Galena, Md's Butch Henry on Wednesday night. Following an early-round loss on Thursday, he returned with a solid showing to take the lead.

DeBonis, a former motorcycle E.T. champ, won the Thursday night race when he beat Ed Bousman of Clinton, Iowa in the final. DeBonis also earned $10,000 for his victory.

On Friday, the $10 grand top prize was won by Jim Ryan of Glen Burnie, Md. Ryan, whose older brother Steven is a former winner of the Moroso Five-Day E.T. Championships, scored a rare win for a full-bodied car when he drove his '72 Nova past Mark Cranmer's dragster in the final round. Ryan used a .517 reaction time and an 11.04 on his 11.01 dial in to take the win over Cranmer, who got a late start off the starting line with a .584 reaction time and ran an 8.30 on his dial in prediction of 8.27. Cranmer, of St. Georges, Del., advanced to the final with a semifinal victory over John Labbous Jr., of Mt. Juliet, Tenn. The quarterfinal finishers were Richard McLaughlin of Hatboro, Pa., and Dave Szerlag of Livonia, Mich.

With the win, Ryan moved to fourth in the overall standings with 57 points. Philip Chester of Clarksville, Tenn., is third with 60 points and Day Two runner-up Bousman rounds out the top five with 56 points. Competitors earn five points per round won with each day's winner receiving two additional points and each day's runner-up collecting one point. At the conclusion of the Five-Day event, the overall points champion will take home a $7,500 bonus.

At the conclusion of Friday's race, the track hosted a casino party and barbecue to benefit the Drag Racing Association of Women and several local charities. Competitors were allowed to purchase chips and participate in Las Vegas-style gaming. The chips could then be redeemed for a number of prizes which included a pair of pre-paid entry fees into the annual Millenium Million Dollar race in Rockingham, N.C., and the B&M Million Dollar Race, which will be held in Atlanta Dragway in October, 2001. The event was popular with the racers and raised several thousand dollars for charity.

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