The IHRA tour rolls into the beautiful New England region for drag racing's only major visit to the area. This event was normally contested in September, but with a revamped schedule hundreds this event promises to be a challenge for tuners.





SUNDAY FINAL - LAGANA DEFENDS TOP FUEL IN EPPING DSA_723lagana.jpgnfc-winnerDSA_7269_300.jpg


Last season Bobby Lagana Jr. won his second career IHRA Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Top Fuel event at New England Dragway, claiming a final round win over his drag racing mentor and idol, Chris Karamesines. This year the opponent was different, but Lagana ended up in the same place Sunday afternoon by visiting the winner’s circle after a finals win over T.J. Zizzo during the Amalie Oil North American Nationals presented by New England Dodge Dealers.


Other professional winners include Dale Creasy Jr. (Nitro Funny Car), Mike Janis (Pro Modified), Mark Thomas (Alcohol Funny Car) and Frank Gugliotta (Pro Stock).


Lagana, from Scarsdale, N.Y. carded a 4.980 at 285.23 mph to secure the win over Zizzo, who ran a 5.714 at 171.93. Despite losing, Zizzo leaves the race No. 1 in the points chase over Bruce Litton.


“I really just wanted to qualify so we could come out here and have some fun on Sunday,” said Lagana Jr. “My dad, he came down to top end crying. He was so happy. Problem is now he wants to take a lap in the car.”


Mike Smith’s Knoll Gas Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car debut was a success, but in the end he came up just short. Smith fell to defending world champion Dale Creasy Jr. with the Ironman on the line. Creasy Jr., Beecher, Ill., took a free run down the quarter-mile strip when Smith broke after his burnout and could not get his car into gear.


“Every time we get to the winner’s circle it feels like the first,” said Creasy Jr. “The whole season is going so well I hate to even bring it up.


“This weekend the car was going down the race track, the driver just couldn’t keep it together. I was struggling. And the more I thought about it, the more I struggled. First round I really tried to calm myself down and it worked,” added Creasy Jr.


Mark Thomas advanced to his fifth final round of the 2007 IHRA Nitro Jam campaign and built his national points lead by topping Rob Atchison in the final. Atchison did defeat Paul Noakes, who he fell to in the last two national events, in the semifinal but could not get past Thomas in the money run. Atchison is now second in the points, trailing Thomas.


“You always want to race hard and win in close races, and that’s what we did here,” said Thomas. “Rob and I are good friends, and it was just really cool that we ran so close, 5.80 to 5.80. It’s nice to keep that points lead going too.”


Mike Janis claimed his 16th career Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified Ironman, his first of the season, by stopping defending world champion Quain Stott in the final round. Notably the Pro Modified field proved diversity is back in the class as seven of the 16 car field were nitrous-powered entries.


Janis won by clocking a 6.087 at 235.64 mph after setting the world speed record earlier in the event with a 240.21 pass.


“After the year we’ve been having struggling, this is great,” said Janis. “I made it to the final in Grand Bend but couldn’t win. Small things have been biting us all year and today we ran consistent and it finally came together.”


Frank Gugliotta continued his march towards the top of the national points standings, winning his second consecutive national event. Gugliotta, who defeated Larry O’Brien in the final round last weekend in Martin, topped current points leader Robert Patrick in the final round in Epping. Gugliotta carded a 6.417 at 220.22 mph to defeat a red-lighting Patrick.


“To win two in a row, in two weekends, this feels really good,” said Gugliotta. “But you know how it is in this deal, you gotta ride it while you can. It can end at anytime.

”I’m really proud of my team. We struggled this weekend, had some engine problems, but we prevailed. That shows how good of a team we have and I’m really proud to be racing with them.”


The next event on the $19.5 million Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series is the Suzuki Motor City Nationals presented by Heritage Newspapers and GM Performance Division, August 24-26, at Milan Dragway.









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2gilbertsonDSA_6068.jpg Bob Gilbertson, Gastonia, N.C., qualified No. 1 in Knoll Gas Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car during the Amalie Oil North American Nationals presented by New England Dodge Dealers. Gilbertson covered the New England Dragway quarter-mile in 4.953 seconds at 309.91 mph, also earning Last Man Standing in front of the capacity crowd.


Other professional No. 1 qualifiers include TJ Zizzo (Top Fuel), Mike Janis (Pro Modified), Terry Munroe (Alcohol Funny Car) and Brian Gahm (Pro Stock).


Trailing Gilbertson in Nitro Funny Car qualifying is Andy Kelley and Mike Smith, two and three. Points leader Dale Creasy Jr. sits fourth, followed by Jack Wyatt, Mitch King, Jeff Diehl and Terry Haddock.


Zizzo topped the Knoll Gas Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel class with a 4.610, 320.13, which earned the Lincolnshire, Ill., driver Last Man Standing as well. Terry McMillen qualified second, 4.663, followed by Scotty Cannon 1zizzoDSA_6111.jpgand Bobby Lagana Jr. Current points leader Bruce Litton is fifth. His lead over Zizzo is less than one round, and the two will meet in the first round of eliminations.


In Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified, Janis, Lancaster, N.Y., used the afternoon qualifying session to set the No. 1 mark at 6.064, 239.74. The speed is fast enough to give him the world record if he can back up the run. He’s trailed by Ed Hoover, who earned the Last Man Standing. Shannon Jenkins sits third and Jason Hamstra, who won the last IHRA event in Martin, Mich., is fourth. Harold Martin holds the bump spot.


Alcohol Funny Car driver Munroe, Beaver, Pa., who entered the event second in points, earned top qualifier and Last Man Standing. His 5.771, 242.54, was enough to outlast No. 2 qualifier Rob Atchison, current points leader Mark Thomas and Paul Noakes. Neal Parker locked up the bump spot with a 5.962.


Gahm, Lucasville, Ohio, used a 6.343 ET to take the No. 1 spot in Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock, as well as the3janisDSB_3369.jpg Quarter-Max Pro Stock Challenge. His speed of 221.27 tied the world record set by Robert Patrick at New England Dragway in 2006. Patrick finished second, followed by Frank Gugliotta, Rob Mansfield and Pete Berner. Dan Sweeney, Groton, Mass., qualified twelfth.


Professional eliminations are scheduled for Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 12 noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Amalie Oil North American Nationals presented by New England Dodge Dealers is the seventh of eleven events on the $19.5 million 2007 Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series.


First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the Amalie Oil North American Nationals presented by New England Dodge Dealers at New England Dragway, the seventh of 11 events in the $19.5 million 2007 Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series.  Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday.


Top Fuel -- 1. T.J. Zizzo, 4.610 seconds, 321.04 mph  vs. 5. Bruce Litton, 4.917, 298.21; 2. Terry McMillen, 4.663, 297.68  vs. 6. Jim Cavalieri, 5.007, 233.12; 3. Scotty Cannon, 4.768, 305.98  vs. 7. Jeff O'Neill, 5.080, 296.05; 4. Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.854, 267.27  vs. 8. Mitch King, 11.725, 71.11.


Nitro Funny Car -- 1. Bob Gilbertson, Dodge Stratus, 4.953, 309.91  vs. 5. Jack Wyatt, Stratus, 6.224, 153.61; 2. Andy Kelley, Pontiac Firebird, 5.101, 294.43  vs. 6. Mitch King, Chevy Corvette, 6.546, 138.70; 3. Mike Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.429, 270.59  vs. 7. Jeff Diehl, Firebird, 9.939, 81.38; 4. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.633, 184.14  vs. 8. Terry Haddock, Stratus, 10.688, 90.59.


Pro Modified -- 1. Mike Janis, Chevy Cobalt, 6.064, 239.74  vs. 9. Scott Cannon, Pontiac Firebird, 6.164, 214.93; 2. Ed Hoover, Chevy Corvette, 6.071, 235.35  vs. 10. Quain Stott, Corvette, 6.165, 232.55; 3. Shannon Jenkins, Pontiac GTO, 6.090, 234.57  vs. 11. Jim Halsey, Chevy Camaro, 6.179, 230.02; 4. Jason Hamstra, Corvette, 6.096, 230.13  vs. 12. Burton Auxier, Corvette, 6.180, 225.67; 5. Matt Hagan, Corvette, 6.098, 234.74  vs. 13. Pat Stoken, Camaro, 6.209, 228.96; 6. Mike Castellana, Ford Mustang, 6.121, 230.49  vs. 14. Steve Salvadore, Firebird, 6.216, 229.27; 7. Chip King, Dodge Daytona, 6.145, 235.93  vs. 15. Danny Rowe, Corvette, 6.285, 230.25; 8. Kirk Kuhns, Willys, 6.160, 224.51  vs. 16. Harold Martin, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.285, 221.67.


Alcohol Funny Car -- 1. Terry Munroe, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.771, 242.54  vs. 5. Larry Dobbs, Chevy Corvette, 5.878, 240.04; 2. Rob Atchison, Monte Carlo, 5.794, 244.96  vs. 6. Scott McNiece, Olds Cutlass, 5.919, 238.89; 3. Mark Thomas, Monte Carlo, 5.833, 247.07  vs. 7. Frederick Tigges, Dodge Avenger, 5.958, 241.89; 4. Paul Noakes, Ford Mustang, 5.842, 243.77  vs. 8. Neal Parker, Monte Carlo, 5.962, 236.88.


Pro Stock -- 1. Brian Gahm, Ford Mustang, 6.343, 221.27  vs. 9. John Montecalvo, Chevy Cobalt, 6.385, 219.61; 2. Robert Patrick, Shelby Cobra, 6.358, 219.65  vs. 10. Rickie Smith, Cobalt, 6.388, 218.97; 3. Frank Gugliotta, Cobalt, 6.363, 219.90  vs. 11. Elijah Morton, Ford ZX2, 6.396, 219.33; 4. Rob Mansfield, Pontiac GTO, 6.364, 220.55  vs. 12. Dan Sweeney, GTO, 6.397, 218.48; 5. Pete Berner, GTO, 6.365, 220.22  vs. 13. Jeff Dobbins, Ford Escort, 6.403, 219.65; 6. John Nobile, Mustang, 6.370, 219.58  vs. 14. Bob Bertsch, Mustang, 6.409, 219.79; 7. Cary Goforth, Cobalt, 6.375, 220.22  vs. 15. Dean Goforth, GTO, 6.442, 216.90; 8. Steve Spiess, Cobalt, 6.377, 219.61  vs. 16. Anthony Paone, GTO, 6.461, 217.25.



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Friday professional qualifying was cancelled at New England Dragway during the Amalie Oil North American Nationals presented by New England Dodge Dealers. Cold temperature, down-time and the on-set of dew led to the decision.


Six competitors remained in Top Dragster qualifying when the session was called. Those drivers will resume Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Professional qualifying will run as scheduled at 12 noon and 7 p.m. Saturday.


Friday tickets will be honored either Saturday or Sunday.

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