Former jet-car racer Jessie Harris, a 23-year-old from Rome, N.Y., completed the necessary runs to earn her Top Fuel license Thursday at Gainesville Raceway in central Florida. With former champ Frank Hawley and Top Fuel racers Clay Millican and Bobby Lagana Jr. looking on, Harris ended the day with a 4.66 at 314 mph to seal the deal.
"I'm so excited," said Harris, who most recently drove the Queen of Hearts jet dragster. "It's a big relief to have this out of the way so we can move forward with our plans. I can't thank Clay and his crew enough for letting me use their back-up car and for all the crew guys who came together for the first time to help me get this done."
Harris hopes to compete on the POWERade Drag Racing Series in 2008 as a teammate to Millican and race under mega-team owner and sponsor Evan Knoll's Torco/Knoll Gas umbrella.
"I called Evan right away and left a message to tell him we did it," Harris said. "He called right back and said it was time to get together and figure out what we were going to do.
"The experience I had from driving the jet car helped in the fact that I knew what 300 mph looked like. But otherwise, I can't say much is the same. The jet car makes 6,000 horsepower but it's all thrust. This thing is a beast from the moment you step on the throttle until you lift. I can already see that I'm going to need to workout more."
The officially licensing process requires final approval from NHRA's competition department.
In between Harris' licensing runs, Millican worked out a new tune-up on his primary car devised by co-crew chiefs Lance Larson and Johnny West. He posted numerous planned shutoff passes in the 4.8-second range and then got serious and zoomed to a 4.59 at 332 mph and a 4.56 at 326 mph.
"The car's running great and we're very encouraged," Millican said. "And we're just getting started. It's exciting and to see Jessie get her license and how excited it made her kinda reminds you of when it was all new for me. It's that buzz of why we all do this. She did great and she sure was ecstatic when she got it done. I'm proud of her."
Watch her run! Link Below!