Keep up with the behind-the-scenes action at the IHRA Universal Technical Institute World Finals, October 20 – 22 at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. Get the stories that our pit reporters search out.

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dsc_0637.jpgTry It Again Tomorrow - The scheduled 11 AM start of the elimination rounds for this weekend’s Universal Technical Institute World Finals was put off by six hours due to heavy rain showers, but a lot of hard work by the IHRA crew had the surface at Rockingham Dragway race-ready by 5 PM.

With the track temperature hovering around 64-degrees, the sportsman cars took to quarter-mile first in an effort to get some heat into the surface. By the time the professional cars came out forty-five minutes later, the temperature had risen to 74-degrees.

Unfortunately, after the first pro session was in the books a Top Dragster oildown shut things down long enough to allow the temperature to drop by 20-degrees A short later another incident involving a Top Dragster, this time a crash at the top end, stopped the action so long that the dew began to settle, and the unsafe conditions forced officials to cancel the conclusion of the event until 9 AM Monday.





Docked – Delays in the schedule pushed the Top Fuel qualifying into the late hours of Saturday evening. Low qualifier Andrew Cowin pulled out of the lanes and returned to the pits without making a run. Team owner Scott Griffin made the decision call it a day.

That move cost the Griffin team some prize money on Sunday. IHRA’s rules stipulate that a team must run the Night of Fire session or they are paid under the 2005 pay scale.

“It was a tough decision to make and I commend the IHRA for trying their best to keep our races on schedule,” Griffin said. “[crew chief] Lance [Larsen] and I talked about it and we had the tune-up [compression and head gaskets] in the car to run two hours earlier.

“We had a great run out of the box on Friday and I just don’t see any way we could have topped it. It was late and I wanted the guys fresh. We were already in the field and I just wanted everyone fresh. If Clay and their team could have gotten the pole - more power to them.

“I wanted our guys fresh for Sunday.”

Griffin is not bitter about the situation

“I truly understand the whole gist of it is to provide a show for the fans,” Griffin said. “Our overall goal is to win and if we can finish out the season with a win at our home track. It comes down to business decisions that business people make daily. I am confident we made the right decision.”






Ole Blue Rides Again – A 1975 Cadillac Eldorado sporting a two-tone paint scheme and carrying nine passengers rolled to the line at 9 PM on Sunday evening, long after racing had been postponed for the day. It was a tribute to a man who gave so much heart, soul and inspiration to the Pro Modified class through not only himself but also his sons Quain and Mitch stott.


Today Quain became a world champion.

“This is a tribute to ‘Ole Blue’ – Bob Stott,” Quain said, crammed in between four other people in the Caddy’s front bench seat. “We wanted to take him for a ride down the strip but since he isn’t here – we’ve got mama laid up in here.”

After a brief burnout, the front-wheel drive (yes, there was front-wheel then) car struck some smoke on the burnout and proceeded to run the full quarter-mile.

Stott died from injuries sustained after falling from a golf cart during the 2004 IHRA World Nationals. Ever since, his eldest son Quain has dedicated his successes to his dad. Tonight he rewarded him.

Congrats…Ole Blue…we at Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com miss you.


dsc_0165.jpgYes!!! – As the temperature began to plummet and the dew point began to rise, Josh Hernandez dumped the clutch on his car and made history. Hernandez drove his way to the first five-second run in the history of the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified division with a 5.990, 236.80. The run will be an official record at the conclusion of the event thanks to the 6.030 he posted in qualifying.

“That felt just a little quicker than a six-second run,” Hernandez said. “It felt good from beginning to end. When I heard the guys on the radio, I immediately became awestruck. This team never lets me down. Howard [Moon] and the boys make this happen time and time again. I might as well be a sticker on the car during that run. I had a wonderful time and feel honored to be a part of history.”

Hernandez posted incremental times of .996 (sixty-foot), 2.608 (330-foot), 3.928, 188.96 (eighth-mile) and 5.046 (1000-foot).

“The numbers speak for themself and there’s nothing I can say to make this any better.”


Fast Company First round in Pro Modified – If you’re a fan of big numbers in Pro Modified then you’d love this – In Sunday’s first two rounds of eliminations you needed at least a 6.140 to win in the first round and a 6.115 to win in the second round.


Cannon the slayer – Scott Cannon Jr., may not have had a dog in the hunt for the championship but that didn’t stop him from knocking off the contenders. In the first round, he ran a 6.109 to eliminate No. 5 ranked Tommy D’Aprile and then stepped up to a 6.055 to take out third ranked Danny Rowe. What was Cannon’s reward? In Monday’s delayed eliminations, he gets to race Josh Hernandez.






Unbelievable – That’s exactly how Pete Berner described his come-from-behind victory for the championship.

“It has been an unbelievable season and my crew has worked so hard this season,” Berner said. “They sure made an old man proud to get this done today. I have to tell you that Tony’s team worked so hard to get done what they did today. It was terrible that one of us had to lose today.

“I appreciate everyone in this class and I hope that I do a great job of representing them next year.”


gilligdsc_1520.jpgInverted Ladder Victim? – One would think Tony Gillig would be opposed to the inverted ladder after the day he experienced in defense of his point lead. He opened the day against the low-qualifier Robert Patrick and with a victory would have raced another heavy-hitter in Robert Mansfield.

Patrick defeated Gillig in the first round to put a crimp in his championship plans.

The interesting part of the scenario is Gillig likes the invert and Patrick wouldn’t mind seeing it go away.

“I guess it has its ups and downs because it has helped and hurt me,” Gillig said. “At one point, we were qualifying in the top half so it helped us. We got the slower cars and went some rounds. I started qualifying on the second-half and began knocking off some of the top qualifiers. The only time it hurt me was here and now.

‘With the way things are going now with the class, I think it has worked as a positive to pull the competition closer together.”

Patrick exhibited no diplomacy when sharing his thoughts.

“I really think it sucks,” said Patrick. “I don’t anyone out here likes it and if you go down there to Tony Gillig’s I don’t think he likes it. I don’t think Pete Berner likes it.

“Larry Carrier got rid of that a long time ago and the NHRA followed suit,” Patrick added. “I don’t know why they went back to the dark ages.”

“If he could have beaten me, he would have beaten me…so hell no, I didn’t feel bad about it.”

Ironically it was Gillig that beat Patrick in the first round in Budds Creek, Maryland to knock him out of contention for the 2006 championship.


Spiess wins challenge - Steve Spiess has won the Kaase IHRA Pro Stock Tuning Challenge for the 2006 season. Rewarding the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock car with the best average qualifying elapsed times for the entire season, the Kaase Tuning Challenge is the ultimate test in consistency. Spiess, of Manhattan, Ill., averaged 6.636 in his 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt.  

Spiess was awarded $2,500 from Jon Kaase Racing Engines.





dsc_0631.jpgThe Series - Rockingham Dragway also played host to the Summit SuperSeries, one of the biggest bracket racing programs in the country.


In the No Box category, John Coyle of Tinley Park, Ill., was the winner as he took out Craig Austin in the final round. Coyle drove his ’63 Nova to a 11.918 ET with a 0.044 reaction time to take the race.


Joe Gary won the Box category, defeating David Bills. Gary, of Greenwood, S.C., drove his ’68 Camaro to a 8.677 ET with a 0.022 reaction time.


Jackass…the drag race – Super Rod racer Greg Slack made good on his promise to show his ass – his jackass that is.

Slack has the young burro as a pet and decided to bring it to the race track. The animal was penned up in the pits and spent much of the day munching on straw.

How did he transport the animal to the track?

“My wife,” Slack said. “She brought my ass to the track.”

In the interest of fair reporting, Slack did contact track owner Steve Earwood before bringing the animal to the track. Earwood granted permission citing that a donkey at a drag race is no different than any of the large dogs he's seen.

The Slacks were spotted walking the critter around the pits on a leash over the course of the weekend. The only thing that proved more odd was Scotty Cannon's squirrell in a cage.
















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Werner's Farewell -
Werner Enterprises will be stepping down as the primary sponsor on the Top Fuel team of Kenny Koretsky driven my Clay Millican. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company will step down following this weekend's event in Rockingham.

Werner Vice President Dwayne Haug said the company has used drag racing as a way to recruit drivers but the program has run its course.

“Everything runs its course,” Haug told the Fayetteville Observer Time's Thomas Pope. “It’s a business decision. We have other commitments and other things to start channeling some funds to.

“We figured at the beginning this would last two, maybe three, years, and it’s been seven. These guys have been the best ambassadors that we could ever hope for. We’ve dedicated an entire wing of our museum in Omaha to them.”

Werner will remain with the team as an associate sponsor in 2007 but a primary sponsor will need to be procured.

Millican is confident the team will be racing.

“Kenny says we’re racing, no matter what," Millican said.

'I tried -- but it hurts . . .' -- Doug Foley, who had planned all season long to battle Clay Millican for the Top Fuel title down to the wire, came to this last race in the unlikely role of cheerleader -- in a wheelchair, to boot. He's still recuperating from multiple fractures of his leg and ribs, a shoulder separation, concussion . . . or as Millican put it: "You name it, he injured it."

Foley crashed in the final round against Millican at the rescheduled Canadian Nationals in Cayuga, Ontario, near Toronto, the race after fellow racer Bruce Litton was sidelined with serious injuries during the Amalie Oil North American Nationals at Epping, New Hampshire.

Litton, though still banged up and recovering from shoulder surgery and numerous fractures, is racing this weekend. Foley, though, has many weeks of healing to do before he will be cleared to get into a race car.

Foley said he told Litton, "Bruce, you win! I tried to go into competition with you [to get back to racing first], but it hurts. You win."

Like Litton, Foley said his memory of the incident is fuzzy at best. "I don't remember anything," Foley said. "I don't remember waking up that morning and having breakfast or setting the record the run before, That's bad when you can't remember setting the record. Give me a break!" (No pun intended, we're pretty sure.)

Nevertheless, he said, "It's great to be back, to get together with racers and fans. This weekend will help my recovery."

Glad we're here -- Doug Foley said his Lewis & Foley Torco-sponsored Top Fuel team has been analyzing the crash at Cayuga, trying to pinpoint the exact cause. "Believe it or not," Foley said Friday, "today was the first day I saw pictures of the actual cockpit."

He told Clay Millican, who was in the other lane when the accident occurred, He said he took comfort in knowing "that you're safe and I'm safe and Bruce [Litton, who crashed the race before], and all of these guys out here are safer and our kids, if they get into this" because "hopefully we learn from every accident. We sacrifice our bodies, hopefully for the betterment of the sport. It's a blessing I didn't get hurt worse."

Foley said his team has ordered another car and that he is ready to participate in the National Hot Rod Association's first test session at Las Vegas in January. He did pay tribute to the wrecked car, saying, "We were just getting that car to be perfect."

In talking with Millican and replaying the Sept. 25 crash in their memories, the two on-track rivals and off-track pals expressed gratitude that Foley is expected to make a full recovery.

"It's the only scenario in my life that I'm glad you were way ahead of me," Foley said. A dismal .189-second reaction time probably prevented him from smashing into Millican and the Kenny Koretsky/Werner/Nitro Fish Dragster.

"Me, too," Millican said.

"And not even a very good run at that!" Foley teased him. "But you were far enough ahead to stay out of harm's way. And I thank God for that."

Millican said he was confused and scared -- and frankly, trying to keep his own dragster out of danger. "I got the tires loose shortly down track," the six-time champion said, "doing my best to turn over and hit the wall and all that kind of stuff.. I didn't know whether to stop or step on the gas." He said when crew chief Mike Kloeber informed him that he won "and Doug is crashing," he was stunned. "It was one of the most sickening feelings."

He joked Friday with Foley that he "nearly had a heart attack," running to where Foley lay on the track after his dragster was totaled. "I could look at the car and tell you were hurt." And it was no wonder. Referring to his enclosure, Foley said, "Something that was 19 inches wide was 14 inches wide" after the accident.

Millican said he felt relieved when emergency medical personnel told him Foley was alert.

Only one logical explanation -- Foley said that after analyzing the crash video frame by frame for the longest time, searching for a cause, he and his team arrived at one conclusion: "We were racing Clay."

Foley laughed, but he said that theory wasn't all that far-fetched. He said he was "pushing that fine line."

He said, "I was in a final round that was going to have a big [impact] on who wins the championship. I'm guilty of trying to win a championship. That's what I'm guilty of."


Leave it alone - Rocker Sheryl Crow may have crooned that “a change will do you good,” but IHRA Nitro Funny Car point leader Dale Creasy Jr., failed to receive the memo. He admits the car is set in the pits and when it rolls to the line very little if anything is changed.

“When we go up there we don’t change it unless the track changes dramatically,” Creasy said. “We expected it to run a little better than it did. The biggest thing we wanted to achieve was a clean run. I saw those ahead of me struggle, but then I watched Pro Stock and Pro Modified and they did just fine. I think everyone went up there expecting a 4.70 or 4.80. We don’t try to get after it hard too early. We try to make it up in other areas.

“We try to keep it around a .900 sixty-foot time. We know how to make it go quicker, but it is all under control.”

If Creasy wins the title, he won’t be the first to win the Funny Car crown but the crown will be special. This is the first year for the nitro floppers since 1992.

“There’s a lot of prestige just being here,” Creasy said. “The organization is wonderful and they are great to work with. Having Evan Knoll and Torco Race Fuels just makes it incredible.

“I don’t think running over here [IHRA] is any different than running over there,” Creasy said. “It’s not any easier over here because it is eight-car fields. There are sixteen cars in the NHRA and they run faster, but these tracks aren’t those. I think the quality of competition is going to get even better next year. People are going to see this get even better and even the NHRA is trying to overlap races to keep the IHRA from getting even better cars. It is growing. As long as we keep doing our jobs with Evan behind us, it is a win-win situation.”


oddy.jpgThat’s all folks - Jim Oddy has decided it’s time to settle down for a long winter’s nap and then some. The veteran team owner/tuner is calling it quits on the tour after this weekend.

“We’ve had a great run and a lot of people have helped us along the way,” Oddy said. “We’ve won a lot of championships and won a lot of races. We’ve had a lot of fun doing this. I think it is time to sit back and do some other things.”

Oddy has a new house on Lake Norman in North Carolina and will leave behind the blustery Buffalo, New York, winters.

“We had a bit of snow that hit us hard before we left town,” Oddy said. “There were a lot of people without power. It was a tough time for a lot of people.

Oddy said some of his greatest memories were from 1989 until last year and the time he spent with former driver Fred Hahn and his family. He noted their sacrifices were instrumental in the success as well.

“I think we had one of the best teams ever in drag racing and that’s how I look at it,” Oddy said. “We won championships in every single sanctioning body that we ran in. It was just a great run but just like all good things, they must come to an end.


Bid to make history -
Raleigh, N.C. resident Candyce Marsh, in her quest to qualify as the first African-American woman competing in professional drag racing, came up just short in the Pro Modified class. Marsh posted a 6.541 at 208.55 mph to end up 30th on the qualifying ladder.



First time for everything – The nitrous cars will get the day off on Sunday. None of the nine bottle cars (amongst 35 entries) could crack the record 6.106 bubble. Defending World Champion Mike Castellana was the first alternate with a 6.115.

The IHRA’s Pro Modified division was originally built on the diversity of nitrous versus supercharged combination. After only seven years of existence (1997), one combination totally dominated the class to the tune of nine exclusive events in one season.

Scotty Cannon represented the only driver to qualify with a supercharged combination during the season and did it during the first event of that season. He converted to a nitrous car and for the remaining nine events the blower cars were shut out.

IHRA rule makers made an adjustment to the blown combination and legalized the high helix supercharger. The Hemi allowance came shortly thereafter. 

A solid source tells Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com the rules will be adjusted this weekend with a combination that should slow the blower cars by almost .15. Meanwhile we hear the nitrous cars will gain a cubic inch increase.


There’s one in the crowd – Josh Hernandez was one of several supercharged cars subjected to technical inspections on Friday. The AMS Rage Camaro, undefeated in IHRA competition with two event wins, was declared legal each time.

Shortly after the IHRA officials departed the pit area, a Speedtech Nitrous decal was affixed to the injector hat as a gag. For those not familiar with the rules of the class, nitrous oxide is a big “no-no” amongst the supercharged runners.

Classic Overheard –
“I hear the new supercharged rules are going to allow unlimited overdrive…any fuel…4-forward gears and any style of superchargers – the only catch is you don’t get to run a belt.” – an unidentified supercharged racer.

Championship Scenario –
Headed into this weekend, Quain Stott led Glen Kerunsky by 10 points. Mike Janis was third trailing by 30 points. Behind him is Danny Rowe (33) and Tommy D‘Aprile (57).

Kerunsky was the first eliminated when he failed to qualify. Stott qualified 16th. He could drop as low as fifth before the weekend is complete.

Janis was the highest of the qualifiers and gained six points on Stott. D’Aprile gained one point on Stott.

Stott did gain on fourth place Rowe by four spots.


Basically, Stott can mathematically eliminate everyone if he reaches the final round. If he goes out in the first or second round, Janis, Rowe or D’Aprile can become the champion.


Still The Best – Charles Carpenter ran a personal best (6.209) during Saturday’s qualifying but fell way short of the record-setting 6.106 bump spot. What matters the most is that Carpenter still retains his status as the owner of the quickest ’55 Chevrolet.

“We’ve been trying to do this for a while,” Carpenter said. “We finally have some new Gene Fulton horsepower under the hood. We finally figured out what this engine wanted because it is so new. On a day like this if we can get the power to the ground we can run a 6.19.

We couldn’t help but wonder why the 1957 Chevy has been the choice of racers throughout the nostalgia doorslammer craze.

“The 1957 Chevy was always glamorized as more of a luxury car in that era,” Carpenter said. “The ’55 Chevy was the first of this body style. The ’56 Chevy was no doubt the black sheep. If you notice in the early years of the sport, there was more 55s than 57s. The ’57 was heavier due to the options and wider fenders.

“The ’55 Chevy is where it is at.”


brooksdsd_1286.jpgThat Ought To Do It – Lorenzo “Killer” Brooks pointed out to Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com photographer Roger Richards that he wanted to do something spectacular so he could be featured on the pages of the magazine. The end result for Brooks on the ensuing run was a top-end nitrous explosion that lifted the hood from his ageless Cavalier.

Makes Sense –
Troy Williams QR won $5K in the Mr. Gasket survivor series. He had a resourceful way to spend “Pay for us some diesel fuel to get home.”


The Survivors - With $80,500 up for grabs and 56 of the best sportsman racers in the country competing for their share of the pot, the ACCEL Survivor Series took center stage Saturday night at the Universal Technical Institute World Finals held at Rockingham Dragway.


The field consisted of the top eight racers in the seven different Mr. Gasket Pro-Am classes who registered for the program and ran the acceptable Mr. Gasket products in their race cars. Points accumulate all season with eligibility being determined following the President’s Cup Nationals in Budds Creek, Md.


With $5,000 going to each class winner for just three rounds of racing, as well as the big payday, the Survivor Series is one of the most prestigious and anticipated sportsman programs of the racing season. Michael Harris (Hurst Hot Rod), Troy Williams Jr. (ACCEL Quick Rod), Todd Comer (Lakewood Super Rod), Steve Furr (Mallory Top Dragster), Bob Harris (Erson Cams Top Sportsman), Anthony Bertozzi (Hays Stock) and Slate Cummings (ACCEL DFI Super Stock) each drove through the strongest sportsman field assembled this season to the Winner’s Circle at Rockingham Dragway.


“Once again the ACCEL Survivor Series has exceeded our expectations,” Mr. Gasket racing services directory Ollie Volpe said. “We had so many more people vying for the championships this year and there were several racers who just missed it by a little bit. They vowed to come back next year stronger than ever. This was the hardest working group of racers I have ever seen.”


dsc_0626.jpgWe’ve seen it all – The world of Rockingham Dragway can yield just about anything and chances are we’ve witnessed it. That changed on Saturday afternoon when Neil Smith piloted a JCB backhoe to a 17-second run at 85 miles per hour.

This freak of mechanical engineering is driven by Smith as well as John Haupton in venues around the world. Power comes from a 1300-horse, 572-inch big block Merlin and it has propelled the 6,000 beast to a world record 100-plus miles per hour.

Of course that show was overshadowed by a display in synchronized backhoe loaders doing various tricks at trackside.





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Top Fuel



Thunder from down under – Australian Top Fuel driver Andrew Cowin hasn’t run a full schedule this season, but he has managed to make the most of the opportunities he’s had. He earned his first career victory at Milan, Michigan, in early July, and after the first qualifying session on Friday night he sits in the No. 1 spot on the strength of his string-straight 4.574-second, 317.34 mph pass.

Just behind Cowin on the provisional list was Clay Millican, who claimed his sixth championship at the last event in Budds Creek, Maryland, two weeks ago. Millican posted a solid lap of 4.591, 314.83 to take the No. 2 spot. Third after the first day was Rick Cooper, who posted a mark of 4.616, 315.71. Holding down the No. 4 position was Bobby Lagana, Jr., with 4.687, 310.63.

littondsd_1788.jpgMiraculously on the mend -- Top Fuel driver Bruce Litton miraculously is on the mend following his accident during a semifinal run against Bobby Lagana Sept. 10 at Epping, New Hampshire. He even has a new Lucas Oil Dragster safely in the field for this weekend's race.

He's looking ahead but stopped to talk about his recent past.

"I don't remember any of it." He said of the crash. "I remember talking with Bobby before we got into the car. I remember doing the burnout and staging the car. I seem to remember I had to pedal the car right off the bat. That's the end of it."

Litton said he told his crew chief, Mike Wolfarth, that he thought he had pedaled it a couple of times.

"Ten," came Wolfarth's correction.

"Ten times -- that's a lot," Litton said. "I was trying too hard. It just destroyed the car."

But the new Brad Hadman-built dragster, which Litton called "a nice piece," carried him to the tentative No.5 position with a 4.727-second pass at 289.63 mph.

It was clear Litton, who sat out two races and the only two he has missed since 1992, was eager to get back into competition. However, he said he came to Rockingham with a game plan that definitely included caution.

"I'm going to use good judgment," he said before climbing into his Lucas Oil Dragster. "I wanted to come back before the end of the year. I just want to get a run under my belt. I want to shake the car down."

Litton is racing while mending from a concussion, broken nose, cracked elbow, torn-up shoulder, and skin grafts. He said his shoulder "went though the seat and the side panel of the car, and I actually dragged it along the guard wall. It took a lot of meat out of the corner of my shoulder."

He said the most painful time during his recovery was when the bandage stuck to the skin-graft wound on his leg. "I stuck a towel in my mouth and screamed like a girl," he said, recalling the time wife Carol helped him remove it.

Litton said he appreciated the cards, e-mails, prayers, letters, and support he received following the accident. "That means more than winning a race," he said.


Nitro Funny Car



Fight to the finish - With championships on the line in four of the five IHRA professional categories, the only one that so far reflects the current standings is Nitro Funny Car. Coming into Rockingham, Dale Creasy Jr., had a 22-point lead over Jack Wyatt, and with one qualifying session in the books, the story remains the same. Creasy sits at the top of the provisional field with a mark of 4.952, 294.88 while Wyatt is in second on the strength of his 5.045, 253. 85 effort.


Sitting third is Todd Simpson, while Andy Kelley rounds out the top half of the field.


Faded glory - You can’t say that Bob Gilbertson isn’t a stylish guy. His crew put on a real show Friday night when they towed “Gilby” to the line with one very tricked-out Cadillac limo.


The performance lost a lot of its sparkle, however, when Gilbertson failed to get down the track, and found himself in the tenth and final spot with two sessions remaining. His Dodge Stratus lost fire right off the line, and he coasted through the top end in 19.580-seconds at 46.43 mph. Perhaps the hardest pill to swallow for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based racer will be the fact that when he left Rockingham after the spring race, he was the No. 1 qualifier and track record holder.


The other non-qualifier on the day was Tim Wilkerson, who is here this weekend to show his car off to a potential buyer. It’s a safe bet he wants to do better than the 14.902, 80.44 that flashed up on the scoreboard tonight.


limodsc_0298.jpgNo way! That's not the same car! -- Bob Gilbertson might not have had the baddest hot rod on the Rockingham Dragway quarter-mile Friday night, for he is unqualified so far for the Nitro Funny Car field. But he was riding in arguably the coolest set of wheels on the property on the way back to his pit.


Sporting the same blue-with-orange-flames paint scheme that earned his Jungle Jim tribute car lots of attention in September at Indianapolis, Gilbertson's overhauled 1987 Cadillac Brougham limousine made its grand splash at the IHRA season finale as the Terminator Motorsports tow vehicle.


Cary Bewley of Indy Speed, Custom & Restoration of Brownsburg, Indiana, did more than duplicate his eye-popping paint job. He said that in just three and a half weeks, he and his crafters did "a lot of engineering" on the given-up-for-dead heap that Gilbertson found in a Michigan farm field on his way to the race at Milan Dragway.


"Every piece of trim, everything we touched, just fell apart," Bewley said, recalling that the car had no rocker panels when he got hold of it. After making the limo structurally sound, the Indy Speed, Custom & Restoration team installed a vertical door, an airlift suspension, neon lights, television, and a sound system that cleverly uses aluminum Trick Tanks (that Gilbertson's Charlotte, North Carolina, factory manufactures) as stereo speakers.


limodsc_0265.jpg"Pretty cool" is how Gilberston described his resurrected ride -- "This was that piece-of-crap limo," he reminded. "We've got neon. We've got DVDs. We're rollin'!"


Gilbertson said his favorite feature of the limousine is its airlift system that makes the car go up and down. "People -- it  kind of blows their minds when you're at a stoplight. You start jackin' the thing around and they think they've got a flat tire. They're lookin' around. It's pretty cool," he said.


Dubbed "The Gilbymobile," the car, he said, was a wacky publicity stunt. "The stupider we look, " Gilbertson said, "the more publicity we get. Why I do stuff . . . I guess I'm crazy."


Bewley said this one-of-a-kind vehicle "shows what we can do at our shop. This is just a small bit of what we do. We focus on trying to deal with the customers and given them what they want to turn their dreams into reality."   

Gilbertson wouldn't call his limo a "psychobilly Cadillac" like the one in Johnny Cash's comedic ballad "One Piece At A Time," but he definitely was ridin' around in style, driving everybody wild, 'cause he has the only one there is around.



Pro Modified


Aussies rule –
After the first day of qualifying, two of the five professional classes have Australians sitting in the top spots. Andrew Cowin leads the way in Top Fuel, and Troy Critchley posted the best run of the 32 Pro Mod competitors assembled for this weekend’s IHRA season finale, his 6.061, 236.17 good enough for the provisional pole. Behind him five other racers all had runs in the 6.0-range, Including Eddie Ware (6.083, 232.23), Carl Spiering (6.084, 234.00), Mike Janis (6.085, 232.59), Tommy D’Aprille (6.093, 230.88), and Scott Cannon (6.098, 225.11).

With two session remaining, the bump spot is currently held by Pat Stoken with a mark of 6.234, 224.96.

Redemption – Heading into this weekend’s season finale at Rockingham, Alan Pittman had a simple goal; he wanted to end the season on a high note.


The Universal Technical Institute World Finals will close out a comeback season that saw Pittman and car owner Mel Bush start strong and win a race in just their third time out. But as the season wore on, they fell on hard times, which was disappointing but not totally unexpected by the team that brought a new car and new engine program to the highly competitive Pro Mod wars.


“We started off real well this year, and I think we just got a little overconfident,” said Pittman, who built his unique supercharged 1962 Chevy Bel Air in his own AP Race Cars shop in Greenville, South Carolina. “We figured all we had to do was show up and race, and we’d have no major problems. I’ve been doing this long enough that I should have known better, though, and eventually a lot of little things that we overlooked early on came back to bite us. I think a lot of that was just because I’d been away from racing for three years, and my crew and I had to get back into a good routine. That just takes time.”


“We have a real good car, and Carl Spiering has built us some good motors, so we know we have all the right pieces,” Pittman said. “We just have to take all the lessons we learned this year and put them into practice.


“As for this weekend, we want to put on a good show,” Pittman said. “From there, we’ll look ahead to next season, and see where this team will go. We plan to be back next year, for sure, but right now I’m concentrating on this weekend’s race, because we really would like to finish as strong as we started this year. That will give us a real boost as we go into the off season.”


So far Pittman’s goal appears to be within his grasp, as his 6.146, 226.62 effort tonight has him in the No. 12 spot.



Pro Stock


bernerdsd_1623.jpgPressure? No pressure! -- Pete Berner entered this weekend No. 2 in the Pro Stock standings, trailing Tony Gillig by a mere 31 points.


He said his plan for the weekend was to "qualify well, not put too much pressure on ourselves, and just run our race."


At this point, he's hoping he can stay in the field. After Friday's opening qualifying session, Berner has his Pontiac GTO on the bump spot with a 6.497-second elapsed time at 213.87 mph. He said before his run that he wasn't going to try any "hocus-pocus" to ensure that he would run Gillig in the opening round. He said he wasn't going to out-strategize himself, indicating it could backfire and leave him with a costly DNQ -- like he had here in April at the Spring Nationals, the second race of the year. Right now he can't afford to.


"There's more pressure on him than me," Berner said.


"Typically, I don't get into the pressure too much. My team counts those points. I just want to make good runs," he said. "If I continue to do that and drive well on Sunday, I think we can do well."


The irony in this Pro Stock showdown scenario involves Bob Gillig, Tony Gillig's father. He used to be Berner's crew chief.


And that, Berner hinted, plays curiously into his hands. He said he is "close" to Bob and Tony Gillig. "There's some diggin' goin' back and forth," Berner said, "but we do go and have dinner together after races. Tony's going to have to do his job, and I'm going to have to do mine. Whoever is the best driver on Sunday is going to win the championship."


Just the mention of Bob Gillig draws a playful laugh from Berner. "His stomach's all wadded up right now over this championship, trying to get it for his son. Bob is the king of teasing people, so what we try to do is return the favor," Berner said. "At dinner, we try to aggravate him as much as possible."


However, at least overnight, Gillig might be aggravating Berner. Gillig has the tentative No. 5 spot with one more day of qualifying to go. Berner's E.T. Friday was a hundredth off Gillig's (a 6.399 in his Ford Cobra at 215.03) and farther off pacesetter Rob Mansfield's time (6.363 seconds at 217.39 mph in his Chevy Cobalt).    


Alcohol Funny Car


noakesdsd_1733.jpgNot you again! - There are giant killers in every class of racing – people who thwart the best on-track efforts of champions and those desiring to become champions on a regular basis. The IHRA’s Alcohol Funny Car category has its share of these perennial thorns-in-the-side, but so far this weekend all of the regular group of antagonists seem to be ganging up against those trying to lock up a title. 


Mark Thomas leads rival Rob Atchison in are chase for the championship, but after the first day of qualifying, neither one is setting the world on fire. Thomas is in the No. 5 slot, while Atchison is out of the top eight altogether, his tire-shaking run only good enough for tenth.


Leading the way is Paul Noakes, who in just his first full year of competition has won twice. Ironically, he lives in London, Ontario, which is Atchison’s hometown, and he gets a lot of help from the Atchison team. In the second spot is Thomas Carter, who also has two wins to his credit this year. The No. 3 man is Fred Tigges, who over the years has undoubtedly been the biggest bane to top-runners of them all. Rounding out the top half of the field is Neal Parker, who was the latest winner on the tour, taking the “Ironman” trophy just two weeks ago in Budds Creek, Maryland.

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Down to the Wire -
Four of the five professional world championships will be decided this weekend.

Clay Millican clinched the Top Fuel crown in Budd’s Creek when Doug Foley, who was injured in a crash in Toronto, was unable to attend and lost his bonus points. If that had not been the scenario, all five championships would have been on the line this weekend.

Among the nitro burning fuel coupes, Dale Creasy Jr., is in the driver's seat. It was thought Creasy made the definitive blow in the Knoll Gas – Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car class by winning the Canadian Nationals last month and leaving the event with a 55-point lead over Jack Wyatt, Corydon, Iowa. However, after a first round loss in Maryland, including a costly 15-point black flag deduction (for oiling the track), Creasy enters the World Finals only 22 points ahead of Wyatt, and 73 points ahead of pre-season favorite and Charlotte, N.C.-resident Bob Gilbertson. Creasy needs to qualify well and not let Wyatt advance any rounds beyond him in eliminations to ensure his first career world championship. Obviously a black flag penalty would be costly for anyone at this event. Of note, Wyatt won the IHRA Spring Nationals this past April in Rockingham.

“We just have to worry about doing our job and things will take care of themselves,” Creasy said. “Sure, we’ve been thinking about the championship and its something this team has been working towards for years, but we just have to keep our focus and go rounds.”

Quain Stott, of Columbus, N.C., is in the same boat as Creasy. Stott took the lead in the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified class with a win in Maryland, but his lead is tenuous at best. Glen Kerunsky, Calgary, Alberta, sits just 10 points behind Stott in second, but there are as many as four other drivers who could conceivably jump up and snatch the title away.

Mike Janis, Lancaster, N.Y., on the strength of his win in Cayuga, Ontario, is 30 points behind Stott in third place. California’s Danny Rowe is 33 points back. Tommy D’Aprile, Port Charlotte, Fla., is 57 points behind Stott while Carl Spiering, Jordan Station, Ontario, has an outside shot to move into the lead as well, currently sitting 103 points behind Stott.

Mark Thomas, Canton, Ohio, did not win the Alcohol Funny Car Ironman in Maryland. However, that race might end up being the turning point if he holds on to win his sixth career World Championship.

Thomas, who enters Rockingham with 802 points, was the No.1 qualifier at the President’s Cup while three-time defending World Champion Rob Atchison, London, Ontario, who currently has 754 points, failed to qualify for eliminations, causing him to surrender the points lead. Tom Carter, Cuero, Texas, with 724 points, remains in contention as well.

Tony Gillig, Pete Berner and Frank Gugliotta will slug it out for the title in the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock class. Gillig, Lake Bluff, Ill., is in the driver’s seat with 784 points, but Berner (753) and Gugliotta (692) are in striking distance. Gugliotta, Mt. Airy, Md., is the defending World Finals champion.


Time to Fight - IHRA Pro Stock racer Pete Berner is headed into uncharted territory for this weekend’s IHRA Universal Technical Institute World Finals. The veteran driver is one of three with a mathematical chance to claim the 2006 IHRA Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock Championship in Rockingham, NC. Berner is a scant 31 points behind leader Tony Gillig and 61 ahead of Frank Gugliotta.

As long as he maintains his point-earning pace with Gugliotta, Berner is guaranteed a minimum championship finish of second. If he out-qualifies Gillig and wins at least two more rounds of competition, he will be the champion.

Those scenarios are contingent on one thing, says Berner.

“If the driver doesn’t have his head up his butt and drives like he is capable of, we have a very legit opportunity,” Berner said. “We can win this thing. When you look at the caliber of drivers we are battling with – this will be a dogfight. I would expect nothing less from this class.”

Berner rolls into the final battleground with two national event victories to his credit thus far in 2006. If his most recent performance in Budds Creek is a harbinger of things to come, this championship battle could be a real nail-biter.

Just three weeks ago, Berner recorded a personal best and the third-quickest elapsed time in the history of the class with a 6.348 clocking. He qualified in the second position and lasted until the semis before fouling against eventual winner Rickie Smith.

Berner tested yesterday in Darlington, SC., for what promises to be the quickest and fastest championship battle in the history of the class. Whatever Sunday’s outcome produces, Berner is satisfied.

“Whatever happens this is the best season we’ve ever had,” Berner said. “We have a strong foundation for next season.”

An interesting side note is that Gillig’s crewchief is Bob Gillig. The elder Gillig is the former crewchief for Berner. Berner’s current crewchief is Pat Norcia, a noted clutch specialist.


On the road again - Alcohol Funny Car racer Terry McMillen spent all of September on the road. Racing, displays and appearances is what the Hoosier Thunder Motorsports team lives for.

"We've been very busy this past month," said McMillen. "After four weeks straight on the road it was nice to get home, rest and take care of the InstiGator. We've given her a full physical, inside and out, she's ready for Rockingham."

McMillen and his crew chiefs, Tad "TV Tad" Heflick and Brent "Skinny" Lidgard spent the down time adding a new supercharger and clutch format in preparation for the Universal Technical Institute World Finals, featuring the JCB “Night of Fire,” contested at the Rockingham Dragway, October 20-22.

"We're prepared to throw the kitchen sink at it," said McMillen. "We've got the best partners in the business. Andy [Bornstein, Amalie Oil], Evan [Knoll, Torco Racing Fuels], Mark [Adelizzi, Flatout Gaskets], John [MacQuarrie, NGK], Rob [Reeves, No Limit Custom Coach] and Roy [Griffith, Crane Cams]do so much for this team. They give us all the tools that we need to go out compete and be successful. Now we're out to get a win for them and to solidify a top five finish for this team and all of our partners."



Welcome Back - Bruce Litton found out the hard way that a crash test dummy is not the career for him.

Litton missed the last two races while recovering from injuries sustained during the IHRA race in Epping, N.H, the first races he’s missed in nearly fifteen years.

“We’ve missed the last two races, and those are the first national events I’ve missed since 1993,” said Litton. “The Rock has been as good to me as any track, so it’s comforting to make my return to racing at that facility.”

Litton and his team are positive heading into the race. The first goal is to get the dragster down the track, then qualify.

“We obviously have expectations to qualify and be competitive this weekend, but the first thing to do is get the car down the track and see what happens,” said Litton. “This is last year’s car with a fresh front half on it. I crashed on September 10 and my team started building the new car September 14. There are still a few things we have to finish up when we get there.”

A veteran driver from Indianapolis, Ind., Litton’s passion for the sport has motivated him to return for the final race of the season. He’s not nervous because he doesn’t remember his crash from a month ago.

“I don’t remember the crash. I have evidence of it, but I don’t remember it,” said Litton. “We love doing this. It’s something we’ve done for a long time. I have two great sponsors with Lucas Oil and Torco Racing Fuels. I don’t want to end the season without giving it another shot at Rockingham.”


Gonna be a Party - IHRA Top Fuel fans will see a stellar field of Top Fuel cars on the planet. Rhonda Hartman-Smith (Williamston, S.C.), Scott Weis (Ashland, Va.) and Andrew Cowin (Wrightsville Beach, N.C.) will join the already competitive mix IHRA fans have seen all season. Even though Clay Millican has his sixth-consecutive world championship locked up, Rick Cooper and Bobby Lagana Jr. will battle for second place, currently held by Doug Foley. Cooper and Lagana both have a mathematical chance to pass Foley, who is sidelined by injuries from a crash in Cayuga, Ontario, in September.


It's Pro Modified, What Do You Expect? - A season long battle in Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified racing has left as many as six cars with a shot at the championship. With only the final race remaining, it's still anyone's championship to win. The Quain Stott Drag Racing team has two of those teams in the top five. The 1963 LeeBoy Equipment Corvette, powered by Torco Race Fuels and the Evan Knoll sponsored "Support Our Troops" / LeeBoy Equipment 1963 Corvette, driven by Tommy D'Aprile. The teams are first and fifth respectively.

"A lot of people say that I'm in the driver’s seat to win this thing," said Stott. "I'm saying I'm in a five car race and it's not unthinkable that we could leave Rockingham in fourth place. We're going to go out and try and win this race and give 100% and hope we don't disappoint anyone."

Stott brings two national event wins and a runner-up in Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified shootout into the Universal Technical Institute World Finals and wonders if he did enough to win the championship. "If I had done better driving job in the middle of the season, I would have about 5 rounds of breathing room,”said Stott. "But I guess everyone can look back at the season and see where they left a few rounds on the table."

"I know this, we'll do the best that we can," said Stott. "That's all I have control over. I look over at the other teams and they all have good drivers and tuners, otherwise they wouldn't be here. It's going to come down to who goes the most rounds on Sunday, like a bunch of gun-slingers out there and the last man standing wins it all."


...but the Kitchen Sink - For Dale Creasy, more is better.

"Everything we own is in the truck," said Creasy. "We'll use all of it if we have to." Creasy finds his Torco powered team with a slim 22 point lead over Jack Wyatt going into the final race of the season. Four of the five professional classes are still undecided. At least 14 teams still have a shot at winning a championship. "It's good for the fans and good for the IHRA [close points chase]," Creasy added. "We would love to have a little more breathing room, but it all comes down to the last race. We'll just have to race it out."

The priority for Rockingham is making sure everything that could be needed is loaded, Creasy and his team took time for more testing last week in Martin, Michigan. "We just wanted another chance to test the car and make sure we had everything worked out," said Creasy. "It ran good."

Creasy's team was not an early season favorite for the championship, but they made the most of their opportunities, winning three of the 10 races contested so far this season. "When we started the season we just wanted to do the best that we could for Evan [Knoll] and to represent Torco well," said Creasy. "As the season began to unfold we started looking at it and thinking we might have a chance. I guess we'll all know shortly."

Helping A Friend - Scott Duggins, owner of PAR Racing Engines in Spartanburg, S.C., just had to find a way to get Eddie Pauley racing again and soon. Shortly after the accident on May 26 in which Pauley collided with a tractor trailer rig while en route to the IHRA Divisional Race in Douglas Ga, Duggins began making phone calls to find a way to help Pauley recover from the loss of his racing operation. Pauley who competes in Hot Rod and Top Dragster on the IHRA circuit lost his motorhome, enclosed trailer and its contents including a ’01 Horton Rear Engine Dragster and ’78 Chevette Hot Rod car. (SEE RELATED STORY )

“I just started thinking what can I do to help?” Duggins said, “I called my vendors and everyone I could think of. I said we’ve got to help our friend, and that’s just what we have done. We’ve put together a benefit raffle to help Eddie. The Grand Prize will be one of our 565 Big Block bracket engines complete from carb to pan valued at $15,000.00.” 


There are five prizes in all including:


2nd Prize--PTC Powerglide w/1.80 straight cut gears, Pro Tree brake, 10 clutch drum, and Dedenbear case valued at $3500.00

3rd prize--Classic Trailers 12 x 6 motorcycle/utility trailer from Hickory Inclosed Trailer Sales valued at $2600.00

4th Prize-$2000 certificate off the purchase of a new Mac Sherrill race car chassis

5th Prize—Greg Slack Converter valued at $1000. 

When asked why Duggins was so eager to help out Pauley, he said, “We’ve been friends for a long time. When I first heard about the accident, I think I was as tore up as Eddie. I know that I’m not doing anything that he wouldn’t have done for me. He’s a good racer and a good friend. I just wanted to do anything I could to help him.” 

Brian Neal, engine builder for PAR Racing Engines, said of Duggins, “He knows that Eddie would do the same for him. Eddie’s a good customer and friend. Pauley and Duggins are just the kind of racers you’ll find on the IHRA circuit. They’re the best.”

The cost of each ticket is $50.00 and only 500 tickets will be sold. The drawing will be at the World Finals in Rockingham this weekend at the annual PAR Racer Appreciation Supper. A few remaining tickets will be sold at Rockingham this weekend at Duggins’ pit. To purchase tickets or if you need more info., please call PAR at 864-578-5622. Let’s help Pauley go racing again.

Corvo at the helm - Mike Corvo Jr., may not have landed the DSR driving gig in January, but he's behind the wheel of a car that generates a lot more horsepower this weekend in Rockingham. His job security could be the job security of team owner Rick Jones, who is innundated with new car orders.

“It has been so busy lately with all of the things that I have going on at work and racing. And with more and more new customers in IHRA and NHRA, it is in my best interest that I sit out right now and have Mike drive the car” said Jones. “We have been really close to Mike and his family for many years and I think he is a really good driver and deserves this shot. Mike has driven Top Sportsman, Comp Eliminator and NHRA Pro Stock Truck & Pro Stock cars over the years.”

“We are also looking at the possibility of having two cars next year. I would like to see my son Rickie start driving this winter. My whole family and I enjoy racing, and I enjoy driving, but I really prefer to focus on the R&D for our new cars and products. I have lately realized that there are more important things for me to do than drive a race car. I am not hanging up my helmet for good; this is just another chapter in my life!”

“I welcome the opportunity to drive the RJ Race Cars Quarter-Max Cobalt” said. “I've already been fitted for the car and it is one bad dude. I mean it's 322 cubic inches larger than the NHRA Pro Stock I last drove! I guess that's why they call it Mountain Motor Pro Stock. Our plan is to spend a few days testing before we head to our first race in Rockingham. I'm excited to be driving for Rick again, I drove his Pro Stock Truck in 2001 and I really learned a lot about what it takes to race competitively. For me it's easy to see the future when you've had a good look at the past. I see us winning races and competing for an IHRA Pro Stock World Championship in 2007. Rickie wants to start driving this winter too, so Rick and I will also work together on getting his Pro Stock driving career started.”

Lotsa Loot - The field is set and 16 of the top bracket racers in the world are set to compete for the biggest payday in ET drag racing. The 2006 Summit SuperSeries field will bring racers from all over the United States and Canada do determine the top local-level racer in the Box (delay box) and No Box classes.

Each winner advanced into the Elite 8 by winning their respective P.R. Track Champion run-off at their respective Summit Team Finals event or winning the At-Large position. Two “wild card” entries were selected as well.

Each will meet at the Universal Technical Institute World Finals at Rockingham Dragway to compete for the World Championship on October 20-22, 2006. Each participant will receive $1,000 in tow money from Summit Racing Equipment when they tech in at Rockingham.

The Box ladder will match Tommy Plott (Division 1, Piedmont Dragway) against Joe Gary (Wildcard, Carolina Dragway), Mark Catron (Division 2, Cherokee Dragway) against Leroy Van Horn (Wildcard, Outer Banks), Sam Kolbl (Division 3, Pittsburgh Raceway Park) against James Pahl (At-Large, Castrol Raceway) and David Bills (Division 4, San Antonio Raceway) against Steve Keller (Division 5, Wisconsin International Raceway).

The No Box bracket will match Craig Austin (Division 1, Richmond Dragway) against Jeff Billeter (Wildcard, Byron Dragway), Mike Sheets (Division 2, Carolina Dragway) against Steve Skrobacz (Wildcard, Lancaster Motorsports Park), Andrew Skirk (Division 3, Toronto Motorsports Park) against Ed Matiejewski (At-Large, Castrol Raceway) and John Cox (Division 4, Lone Star Raceway Park) against John Coyle (Division 5, Byron Dragway).

The No-Box champion will win $10,000 cash from Summit Racing Equipment, a special mystery prize to be announced at Rockingham, a Custom Cart from Ronnie Davis Custom Carts, an Aruba Vacation Package, a World Championship ring, an IHRA Ironman and a 2007 Gold Card.

The Box Champion will win $10,000 cash from Summit racing Equipment, a Turn Key Race Tech 4-Link Dragster, an Aruba Vacation Package, a World Championship Ring, an IHRA Ironman and a 2007 Gold Card.

“This is a very strong field,” IHRA President Aaron Polburn said. “This is truly the closest thing to a ‘playoff’ style format for sportsman racers to compete in. It is what separated our tournament from NHRA’s. The eight finalists proved, tough head-to-head competition, they were the best at their track and the best in their division. They did not just win one big race to get to the championships, they earned it every week at their local IHRA track.”

“The World Finals is the race where we crown all our champions,” stated IHRA Director of Competition and Technical Services Mike Baker. “The inclusion of the Summit SuperSeries runoff is a natural fit and a great way to close out our 2006 season.”

Don't Get Voted Off - Imagine the best eight racers from every Mr. Gasket Pro-Am class pitted in a no-holds barred contest. Then imagine that race at one of the most storied tracks in all drag racing, Rockingham Dragway. Then throw in the fact that the total purse is $80,500, with the winner in each class getting $5,000, the runner-up receiving $1,500, semi-finalists getting $750, and first round qualifiers getting $500. That is the ACCEL Survivor Series in a nutshell.

It is the third year for the highly successful $80,500 program. .

“It’s the second best thing that’s ever happened to me, the first being the World Championship in Quick Rod last year, ”Ron Folk said of the 2005 event. “This program’s great because we all can win at it. Mr. Gasket, the racers, and IHRA. And we get to prove ourselves against the best racers in each class.”

Folk had to face the defending Erson Cams Top Sportsman champion Jamie Silance in the first round, and it did not get any easier after that. Folk had to go through Britt Cummings and Eric Steffey in the final. Folk’s day mirrored the rest of the classes, as there were no easy runs for any of the eventual Survivor Series winners.

Anthony Bertozzi, who has won just about every race imaginable, found himself in the Survivor Series for the second year in a row last season.

“It’s a special deal, and Mr. Gasket puts up all of this money. It’s nice for a company to look out for the sportsman racer and give us a goal to shoot for throughout the whole year. It seems that everybody just cares about the pros, and Mr. Gasket is there for the sportsman racer.”

Malinda Bertozzi feels much the same way about Mr. Gasket and what they are trying to do.

“To race the best of the best, it means to come out on top. We’ve got a company in Mr. Gasket that’s focused on the sportsman racers, and we really appreciate that.”

Britt Cummings, who won in the 2004 Survivor Series, was even more blunt about it.

“I’m what, twenty-fifth in the points, and I made my way into this thing? I run the products, and I get in. I’ll keep backdooring my way into this thing if other racers aren’t willing to run the products.”

What does Cummings have to say to Mr. Gasket?

“Keep doing this, and I’ll find a way to get in. We have to support these companies that are supporting us. They get a huge thanks from us.”

Once again the World Finals at Rockingham Dragway will host this special end of season program sponsored by Mr. Gasket. The top eight racers in each of the seven Mr. Gasket Pro-Am will face off on a sportsman ladder, with #8 racing #4, #7 racing #3, #6 racing #2, and #5 racing #1. The following is the list for each class and where the driver has qualified.

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