Even an underdog has teeth.
Vincent Nobile is proof.
Sunday he used them to deliver a winning bite round after round en route to successfully defending his Summit Racing NHRA Nationals Pro Stock crown in Norwalk, Ohio. In winning Sunday’s event and Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge, he scored a $25,000 bonus for team owner Nick Mitsos.
Nobile ran a 6.661-second elapsed time at 208.01 miles per hour to defeat Jason Line, who ran a 6.705, 207.88.
“After yesterday I had full confidence in my team,” Nobile said. “They supplied me with a car capable of running fast rounds and winning. This was just our weekend. When it is your time, it’s you time and it was our time to break out.”
Sunday’s victory brought Nobile’s winning record to eleven straight rounds won at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park dating back to the first round at last year’s event.
Two of those victories came at the expense of teammate Allen Johnson this weekend, and even though there was a substantial bonus available for the team with a double-up victory, Nobile said there was no strategizing in Sunday’s semifinal match.
“We both came up there to race as if we were enemies,” Nobile added. “Luckily I was able to come out on top of my first pedalfest. That was probably the coolest win all day.”
Nobile was a picture of consistency in two of his three rounds en route to the final. He used a 6.630 to beat Warren Johnson in the first round and a 6.644 to drive past V. Gaines. The only exception was the ugly semifinal match Nobile mentioned, where his 7.792 elapsed time earned lane choice over Line’s pedestrian [by Pro Stock standards] 8.211. Line edged Shane Gray’s 9.142 in a pedalfest where both drivers lost traction and encountered severe tireshake.
“I watched that race and prepared myself for the reality that could happen to me,” Nobile said. “I was prepared that if it got ugly I was going to throw it in fifth gear as quickly as I could.”
Nobile could only think back to last season when team owner Nick Mitsos, after a fair bit of lobbying from the 20-year old Pro Stock driver’s dad John, provided his first big break as a driver.
On Sunday, it was as if Nobile had two fathers in the shutdown area – his biological father and Mitsos.
“Everyone was kind of speechless,” Nobile admitted. “Nick and my dad both told me they loved me a hundred times. I love them just as much back.”
This weekend he proved their love was justified by his actions.
“We showed our true championship colors and hopefully we can just continue,” Nobile said.
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