JOHN NOBILE - #19 MMPS ALL-TIME
Tue, 2007-08-07 12:54
John Nobile will be the first to admit that he never dominated the IHRA mountain motor style of Pro Stock but he definitely let people know that he was there.
In the early days of his Pro Stock career, the 49-year-old Nobile split his time and attention between the NHRA, with its 500-cubic-inch engines, and the IHRA, where the huge 800-plus powerplants, the infamous mountain motors, ruled the two-lane quarter-mile.
“I started racing Pro Stock in the mid-1980s, and for years I raced in both NHRA and IHRA, but that got to be pretty hectic,” Nobile said. “In 1996 I was No. 2 in IHRA championship points, and I ran a limited schedule over there the next season, but after that I went NHRA racing for five seasons. I actually did pretty good in NHRA during that time. In fact, in 2000 Dodge picked us up and gave us a full sponsorship deal.
“But IHRA was always the more fun place to be,” Nobile said. “And it was the most affordable place to race, too. There were no politics to deal with. It was just more casual. People didn’t hide stuff, you know. We were in and out of each other’s pits, and nobody cared.
“In the beginning I was never a top runner in IHRA. I never had the big power or all the right stuff – I just did it out of my pocket. Things changed for me in 2003 when I decided to go Ford racing. I had Don Ness build me a car, an Escort ZX2 – and Jon Kaase did the engines for me.
“It was my first Ness car and my first Ford engine, and it was one of the best moves I ever made. We won the IHRA Pro Stock championship in 2004 and we won it in a big way. We set just about every track elapsed time and speed record; we set the IHRA E.T. record three times that year and finished the season with the record intact. It was just a Cinderella year, and me and my crew chief Kenny Sevier pretty well did it all on our own. The funny part of it all was that I only won one race that year, at Epping, New Hampshire, and that’s the only IHRA race I’ve ever won. I’ve finished runner-up like 15 times, but only won once.
“One race, one championship. That’s pretty good.”
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