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NHRA: Racing at National Trail Like Homecoming for Myers

11 June 1998

KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio -- Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran John Myers has called Birmingham, Ala. home for many years, but each year in early June he gets to make a return visit to a very special place.

Myers, 40, may not have the luxury of competing near his current home in the deep south, but getting the chance to race near his central Ohio birthplace every season is equally as satisfying. He says he gets an extra burst of adrenaline every time he pulls on to the property at the famed National Trail Raceway.

Myers hopes to use the adrenaline rush this season to score a victory at the 34th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals, June 11-14. The $1.6 million race is the 10th of 22 events in the $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

"We've got a good record there," said Myers, who has posted three victories and two runner-up finishes at National Trail. "No doubt the track has been good to us over the years. Heck, I was born in Columbus so it's kinda like going home I guess. I always look forward to racing there. I'm really looking forward to the improvements that NHRA has done to the facility. It should be a great weekend."

Myers, showing two semifinal appearances as his best efforts of the season, needs a win to boost his confidence in a season where the young stars of Pro Stock Motorcycle have been dominating. Matt Hines, Angelle Seeling and John Smith have been extremely tough in the first nine races.

"We're definitely still in the hunt," Myers said. "We're working hard and we found something with the bike at the recent Route 66 Nationals that really should help us for the remainder of the season. We'll definitely have a better package for Columbus."

Myers is currently fourth in the Winston standings, 221 points behind leader Hines. Hines has won four of five events this season and is responsible for beating Myers in eliminations at two events. Myers, who has won 33 races in 10 seasons and is the second-winningest Pro Stock Motorcycle rider in NHRA history, admits that Hines is in the zone. He says he's got a combination with his Suzuki right now that's tough to beat.

"Matt's pretty much running away with it," Myers said. "Anybody who says any different isn't really paying attention. He sort of reminds me of myself about eight years ago. I told him that after he won his first championship last year. I told him that I was proud of him and that he won his first championship just like I did, by running real good his first season and then coming in the following year and taking the title."

But Myers isn't about to hang up his helmet at this point. He's having too much fun to quit now.

"I still love racing as much as I ever did," he said. "I'm not dominating like I once did, but it's still a lot of fun. I really enjoy the competition. It makes you work harder, that's for sure. Then when you do win a round or two it makes you more appreciative of your accomplishment."

Besides, Myers feels like he's close to yet another win. He's also got a personal achievement mark that he wants to see remain in tact.

"Winning rounds is the main goal, it's still the primary objective," Myers said. "But I've sort of got a record going that I don't want to see end. I've never finished lower than second in the Winston standings and I'd like to keep that going this year. We definitely feel like we're right there."