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Instead of some shady spot in the pits, I get torn down right in front of the Pro Modified racers, one of them being Scotty, who had a smug look on his face. I was being protested for nitrous on my car. I was testing some stuff and my mph had jumped up, and if you do run nitrous, you can be in the last half of the track and suddenly just pull away from your opponent. Only a guy who uses the stuff could really spot it. Well, my car passed everything in that inspection.

I was told I was legal, but I'd have to make a single and then they would check the fuel, blower overdrive, weight, the whole deal…and there was Scotty leering at me. About that time, I had had it. Afterwards, if I got in my car and touched a switch, an IHRA tech guy would come over and check it. They stuck with me like glue.

I had pretty much had the course with IHRA and the whole Scotty Cannon deal by the time I was pulling up for my last qualifying run and I was determined to prove my suspicions, so I decided that if I had the opportunity I would prove it by using a set-up I had to go as quick as Scotty. What I had worked out was a way to inject nitro into the fuel system once I got the car making a run. I used a battery acid squeeze bulb filled with nitro. The end of the bottle would fit into the quick disconnect on the line to the hat. The way I would get it hooked up was to do a long burnout and hook up the system while I was backing up.

Well, that night the IHRA guys were watching closely, but I told my crew chief that if he had the chance to give me the bulb. Well, while I was setting behind the water, someone hollered at one of the IHRA guys that was standing beside the car and he turned around for an instant and when he did, I felt something land in my lap, it was the bulb filled with nitro.

I did a big, long burnout and stuck the hat connector line into the nitro squeeze bulb. I launched, made the run and set low e.t. with a 6.52, and then threw the squeeze bulb out of the car before the IHRA tech guys got there. My plan was to show how inept these fools were. Well, I'm under protest again. These guys checked out everything, I mean they even checked my drinking water bottle and my firesuit: It was that bad. Three IHRA officials, including Robert Leonard, were inside my car at any one time during this teardown. Finally after an hour, they said, "There's nothing there." Except for one thing. They found a plastic line, just an empty unconnected plastic line. They ask, "What's this?" I say, "You're IHRA tech, you tell me." There my car was, totally apart and there's still one fool in there with a packet of six wires, shaking it wildly. At that point, I said, "That'll do it, I've had it." I walked over and told them, "Cannon's car is illegal and so is MINE." I said, "This is a nitrous protest and you found nothing, I'm done."

Robert Leonard told me, "You'll be suspended for a year."

I said, "You don't understand, I'm done with IHRA. Period."

The next day Scotty runs the No. 16 qualifier and loses with a 6.68.

DRO: With IHRA out of the picture, we would guess this is where Super Chevy and Nitro Coupe came into the picture.

After Norwalk, I figured I was done racing. I called Paul Sergi at Summit, told him about the Norwalk deal and he said it was no big deal, after all, it's only IHRA. And then he said, "Where are we going racing next?"

To Summit's everlasting credit, the monthly checks never stopped even though I consciously walked away from IHRA and a number of race dates. They were wonderful.

A few days after Norwalk, I got a call from Butch McCall, who told me that Roger Gustin had this idea of nitro coupes and running them at Super Chevy shows. He told me my car was made for competition like this and that I should jump in. Super Chevy has been a great deal. You run all the same tracks where NHRA holds national events and usually we are the second biggest draw behind the national events. As a result, the TV coverage of these shows has made me right now the single most televised racer in the sport.

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