IHRA WORLD FINALS, Rockingham
FINAL - CREASY CLINCHES CHAMPIONSHIP IN ROCKINGHAM
Jack Wyatt won the battle, but Dale Creasy Jr. won the war.
Wyatt defeated Creasy in the final round to claim the Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car Ironman at the Universal Technical Institute World Finals in Rockingham, but by advancing to the final Creasy had already put the ’06 world championship away.
All Creasy had to do was not oil the track in the final and the championship was his. In the final he lit the red-light and idled down the track while Wyatt blasted to his second national event win of the season at Rockingham Dragway.
“This was a great way to end the season,” Wyatt said. “Dale Creasy and the Creasy Family Racing Team deserve this championship and they are going to be great representatives for IHRA. We did everything we could this weekend, but with Dale on the other side of the ladder we had to win the race and get some help. We did what we had to do, but so did Dale.”
Wyatt knocked off Bob Gilbertson (Charlotte, N.C.) in the first round before defeating Paul Lee in the final. Creasy knocked off Tim Wilkerson in the first round before dispatching Andy Kelly in the semifinals to clinch the championship…as long as he could keep the track dry in the final.
“That was the first time I was relieved when I red-lit because I knew we could shut it off,” Creasy said. “We were taking a shot at the track because we knew if the car hooked up we would be okay, but we red-lit and shot it down. Then it was official.”
Clay Millican (Drummonds, Tenn.) won his 50th career Top Fuel Ironman three weeks after clinching his sixth consecutive Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel world championship in Budds Creek, Md.
Millican won his 10th career Ironman at Rockingham when he defeated Rick Cooper in the final round. He defeated T.J. Zizzo in the first round of eliminations before Jim Cavaleri was a no-show against him in the semifinal. He then won a tight final round against Cooper. Millican had a .057 reaction time and posted a 4.642 in the final round against Cooper while Cooper registered a .117 reaction time and a 4.655.
“There is just something special about this place, it fits me like a glove,” Millican said. “When we were coming up the return road Mike Kloeber and I were trying to figure out how much money we’ve won at this place. I have no idea how much it is, but it’s a lot.”
Mark Thomas (Louisville, Ohio) put the finishing touch on his championship weekend when he defeated Paul Noakes to claim the Alcohol Funny Car Ironman Monday. Thomas clinched his sixth career world championship in the class earlier during the event when Rob Atchison, his closest competition in the points chase, fell to Fred Tigges in the first round of eliminations.
Rockingham has been a hot and cold track for Thomas during his career. He won his first career national event at “The Rock,” but let a world championship slip through his fingers there in 2004.
“This is great,” Thomas said. “I love this place. I won my first event here and have a lot of history in Rockingham. It was tough here in ’04, but I still love this track.”
Despite clinching the world championship after the first round, Thomas wanted to close the ’06 season in the Winner’s Circle.
“This is the way to end the season,” he said. “Even though we knew we had the title wrapped up we really wanted to win this race. That was what we were focusing on. Round-by-round…that’s how we always approach things and that’s how we won this championship.”
Scott Cannon Jr. (Lyman, S.C.) ended the season on a positive note when he claimed the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified Ironman in Rockingham. Cannon has had one of the quickest and most consistent Pro Mod cars on the IHRA circuit this season, but small things always prevented him from taking home the trophy. That changed at the World Finals.
“I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to win one of these,” Cannon said while holding the Ironman. “We’ve had a great car all year, but little things always did us in. This is a great way to end the season.”
Cannon defeated Tommy D’Aprile in the first round, Danny Rowe in the quarterfinals and Josh Hernandez, who set the Pro Mod world record with a 5.990 earlier during the event, in the semifinals. He then took the win when Ray Commisso lit the red-light against him in the final round.
John Montecalvo (Center Moriches, N.Y.) won for the first time since winning the Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway during the 2004 season. He took home the ’06 World Finals Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock Ironman when he knocked off Rob Mansfield in the final.
“It’s been awhile, but this feels great,” Montecalvo said. “Rob has such a strong car and Jeff is one of the best drivers in the business. Ihad a tough road, that’s for sure.”
Montecalvo won with a 6.370 in the final round against a tire-shaking Mansfield.
The Universal Technical Institute World Finals, the last event on the 2006 IHRA eMax Drag Racing Series, airs on SPEED Monday, October 30, at 5 p.m. and Saturday, December 2 at 6 p.m.
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SUNDAY - HERNANDEZ ESTABLISHES NEW PRO MOD RECORD; Three
Josh Hernandez put his name in the record books while Quain Stott, Pete Berner and Mark Thomas put their names on world championship trophies at the Universal Technical Institute World Finals in Rockingham, N.C.
Hernandez (Conroe, Tex.) thrilled the crowd with a 5.990 pass during the second round of eliminations to record the first sub-six second Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified pass in IHRA history. He tore down the left lane in his ’68 Camaro into the record books, shattering the world record John Russo set Saturday night when he posted a 6.012.
While Hernandez was setting the record, Quain Stott (Columbus, N.C.) was busy clinching the 2006 championship. Stott entered the World Finals 10 points ahead of Glenn Kerunsky in the Pro Mod standings, and Kerunsky failed to qualify for the show. When Danny Rowe fell in the second round of eliminations Stott had his first-ever championship.
Stott completed his dream evening by asking his girlfriend, Cynthia, to marry him. She accepted.
Pete Berner (Crete, Ill.) also clinched a title in the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock class. Berner was behind Tony Gillig in the points chase heading into the World Finals, but his two elimination round wins, coupled with Gillig falling to Robert Patrick in the first round, gave him the championship.
Mark Thomas (Louisville, Ohio) won his sixth career Alcohol Funny Car championship by advancing to the final round while Rob Atchison, his closest competitor, fell to Fred Tigges in the first round.
The weather reached the dew point at approximately 8:30 in the evening, causing IHRA officials to suspend sportsman and professional eliminations until Monday. Racing will resume Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. for sportsman, with the professional classes resuming at approximately 10:30. The Alcohol Funny Car final rounds have yet to be run while the Nitro Funny Car, Top Fuel, Pro Modified and Pro Stock classes are in the semifinals.
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SATURDAY - IHRA World Championship Showdowns Set at World Finals
The stage is set for a frantic finish to the 2006 IHRA season. Four of
the five professional world champions will be determined during
Sunday’s elimination rounds at the Universal Technical Institute World
Finals in Rockingham, N.C.
Dale Creasy Jr. and Jack Wyatt are locked in a battle for the Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car world championship, and it will be settled Sunday during final eliminations. Creasy held a slight lead heading into the World Finals with 768 points, compared to Wyatt’s 746, and he picked up a few more points by qualifying in the #2 position with a 4.952 at 294.80 mph while Wyatt ended up No. 5 with a 5.045/253.35 pass.
“Tomorrow is a different day,” Wyatt said. “Hopefully we can go some rounds tomorrow.”
Creasy is looking forward to getting things going Sunday morning.
“Our team is ready to go,” Creasy said. “Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight.”
Bob Gilbertson (Gastonia, N.C.) ended up in the No. 1 qualifying position with a 4.839 pass at 308.99 mph. He caught on fire during his final qualifying pass, but he was not too concerned.
“It looks like we have a fire down here, but that’s cool,” Gilbertson said. “We’re going to have some fun tonight and get ready for tomorrow.”
Creasy faces Tim Wilkerson in the first round Sunday while Wyatt squares off with Gilbertson.
Andrew Cowin (Wilmington, N.C.) did not make his final qualifying hit Saturday night at the World Finals. He didn’t have to because his Friday night pass was good enough. Cowin was the No. 1 qualifier in the Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Top Fuel class on the strength of his 4.574/317.34 mph hit during the first qualifying session of the event. Cowin, who was the runner-up at the Spring Nationals in Rockingham earlier this season, is looking forward to Sunday’s rounds of eliminations.
“This is our home track and we love putting on a show for the fans here,” Cowin said. “The track is in great shape and this Serta Top Fuel Dragster is ready to go. Lance Larsen and the crew have worked so hard to give me a great car this weekend. Hopefully we can end the season on a winning note.”
Quain Stott did not finish as the top qualifier, but he kept his Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified championship hopes alive with a clutch final qualifying round Saturday night. After being knocked out of the field by Mike Castellana’s 6.115 pass, Stott (Columbus, N.C.) laid down a 6.096 at 233.03 mph to climb back into the field in the 13th qualifying position. He entered the race with a 10-point lead over Glen Kerunsky (Priddis, Alb.) and a 30-point lead over Mike Janis (Lancaster, N.Y.). When he moved back into the field he gave himself the chance to clinch the championship with a strong performance during eliminations.
“I did not want to lose a championship by not qualifying,” Stott said. “I’m still a long, long way from winning it but at least I gave myself a chance to do something by racing tomorrow.”
John Russo (Middleton, Mass.) set a provisional world record with a 6.012 pass during Saturday evening qualifying to claim #1 qualifier honors in what ended up being the quickest Pro Mod field in IHRA history. The previous quickest bump spot was 6.165 set in Budds Creek, Md., three weeks ago. Danny Rowe (Rossville, Ga.), who also holds championship hopes, ended up on the bump spot with a 6.106/231.83 pass. Janis also will live to race tomorrow as he ended up seventh on the ladder.
“Unbelievable,” Russo said after his provisional record. “What a dream come true for this team.”
Larry Dobbs (Welland, Ont.) qualified atop the Alcohol Funny Car sheet, but it was what happened near the bottom of the list that could end up making all the difference in the championship points chase. Rob Atchison (London, Ont.), who came to Rockingham 48 points behind Mark Thomas (Louisville, Ohio), was on the outside of the field, looking in, heading into the Saturday evening qualifying session. He came up in the clutch with a 5.776 pass at 246.44 mph to move into the #2 qualifying position and keep his championship hopes alive. Thomas ended up fourth on the ladder with a 5.831/243.02 pass. Both drivers are on the same side of the qualifying ladder and could square off in the semifinals with the championship on the line if they both advance past the first round.
Robert Patrick (Fredericksburg, Va.) continued his solid season by claiming the last Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock pole of the season. Patrick drove his ’06 Shelby Mustang to the #1 qualifier position with a 6.326 pass at 218.30 mph.
“We’ll take that 0.326,” Patrick said. “We had some problems and looked like a bunch of rookies trying to back up, but we put together a good run. Now we’ll try to get ready for tomorrow.”
Tomorrow will provide an interesting first-round match-up as Patrick will square off with current points leader, Tony Gillig (Lake Bluff, Ill.), to open the elimination rounds.
Professional eliminations for the Universal Technical Institute World Finals at Rockingham Dragway begin Sunday at 11 p.m. Final round starts at 4:15 p.m.
First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the Universal Technical Institute World Finals at Rockingham Dragway, the 11th of 11 events in the 2006 eMax Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday.
Top Fuel -- 1. Andrew Cowin, 4.574 seconds, 317.34 mph vs. 5. Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.687, 310.63; 2. Clay Millican, 4.591, 314.83 vs. 6. T.J. Zizzo, 4.698, 286.19; 3. Rick Cooper, 4.616, 315.71 vs. 7. Scott Weis, 4.712, 309.20; 4. Bruce Litton, 4.657, 311.92 vs. 8. Jim Cavalieri, 4.759, 294.18.
Nitro Funny Car -- 1. Bob Gilbertson, Dodge Stratus, 4.839, 308.99 vs. 5. Jack Wyatt, Pontiac Firebird, 5.045, 253.85; 2. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.952, 294.88 vs. 6. Tim Wilkerson, Monte Carlo, 5.108, 306.33; 3. Paul Lee, Monte Carlo, 4.965, 304.25 vs. 7. Todd Simpson, Chevy Camaro, 5.158, 262.85; 4. Terry Haddock, Stratus, 4.984, 296.89 vs. 8. Andy Kelley, Firebird, 5.842, 163.77.
Pro Modified -- 1. John Russo, Chevy Camaro, 6.012, 234.74 vs. 9. Alan Pittman, Chevy Bel Air, 6.080, 229.86; 2. Josh Hernandez, Camaro, 6.030, 235.47 vs. 10. Steve Bareman, Dodge Stratus, 6.083, 237.09; 3. Carl Spiering, Camaro, 6.036, 235.97 vs. 11. Eddie Ware, Camaro, 6.083, 232.23; 4. Scott Cannon, Pontiac GTO, 6.046, 232.51 vs. 12. Tommy D'Aprile, Chevy Corvette, 6.093, 230.88; 5. Troy Critchley, Plymouth Barracuda, 6.061, 237.25 vs. 13. Quain Stott, Corvette, 6.096, 233.03; 6. Tony Pontieri, Bel Air, 6.062, 235.35 vs. 14. Mike Stawicki, Camaro, 6.098, 215.44; 7. Mike Janis, Chevy Cobalt, 6.067, 233.64 vs. 15. Raymond Commisso, Camaro, 6.100, 234.78; 8. Ed Hoover, Corvette, 6.074, 233.08 vs. 16. Danny Rowe, Corvette, 6.106, 232.39.
Alcohol Funny Car -- 1. Larry Dobbs, Chevy Corvette, 5.769, 241.76 vs. 5. Thomas Carter, Chevy Camaro, 5.855, 237.38; 2. Rob Atchison, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.776, 246.44 vs. 6. Frederick Tigges, Dodge Avenger, 5.859, 238.34; 3. Paul Noakes, Ford Mustang, 5.786, 241.32 vs. 7. Terry Munroe, Monte Carlo, 5.861, 238.38; 4. Mark Thomas, Monte Carlo, 5.831, 243.02 vs. 8. Neal Parker, Monte Carlo, 5.872, 235.89.
Pro Stock -- 1. Robert Patrick, Shelby GT 500, 6.326, 218.30 vs. 9. Tony Gillig, Ford Cobra, 6.376, 216.34; 2. John Montecalvo, Chevy Cobalt, 6.340, 218.23 vs. 10. Brian Gahm, Ford Mustang, 6.389, 217.53; 3. Pete Berner, Pontiac GTO, 6.356, 218.69 vs. 11. Mike Corvo Jr, Cobalt, 6.390, 216.41; 4. Frank Gugliotta, Ford Escort, 6.363, 218.30 vs. 12. Steve Spiess, Cobalt, 6.392, 216.55; 5. Rob Mansfield, Cobalt, 6.363, 218.48 vs. 13. Cary Goforth, Cobalt, 6.395, 216.72; 6. Rickie Smith, Cobalt, 6.366, 217.56 vs. 14. Daniel Seamon, Mustang, 6.406, 216.24; 7. John Nobile, Escort, 6.371, 217.49 vs. 15. Dan Sweeney, GTO, 6.413, 216.86; 8. Jeff Dobbins, Escort, 6.373, 217.11 vs. 16. Bert Jackson, Chevy Cavalier, 6.421, 215.51.
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Creasy, a Beecher, Ill. resident, entered the season-ending Universal Technical Institute World Finals in Rockingham, N.C., boasting a slim 20-point lead over Wyatt in the points race. His 4.952 run at 294.88 mph put him at the top of the qualifying sheet while Wyatt, with a 5.045/253.85 pass, finished right on his heels in the #2 position.
Andrew Cowin (Wilmington, N.C.) grabbed the provisional #1 qualifier spot in the Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel class by leading a stellar evening Top Fuel qualifying session with a 4.574 pass at 317.34 mph. Clay Millican (Drummonds, Tenn.), who clinched his sixth consecutive Top Fuel World Championship at the President’s Cup Nationals two weeks ago, was second on the list with a 4.591 run at 314.83 mph while Rick Cooper (Boise, Idaho), battling it out for second overall in the world, was third after Friday’s session.
Troy Critchley (Wylie, Texas) pulled the biggest surprise of Friday’s racing when he moved to the top of the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified qualifying sheet. He posted a 6.061 pass at a Rockingham Dragway track record 236.17 mph. Critchley, who went off the end of the track the last time he raced in IHRA competition at the Torco Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports Park earlier this summer, ripped straight down the groove at Rockingham Dragway to claim the provisional pole.
Points leader Quain Stott (Columbus, N.C.), who came to Rockingham with a slight 10-point lead over Glen Kerunsky in the class points chase, was 11th on the provisional qualifying sheet after posting a 6.130 at 231.40 mph. Kerunsky has work to do, sitting 14th on the provisional ladder with a 6.186 at 225.63.
Paul Noakes is not in the championship hunt in the Alcohol Funny Car class, but the London, Ont. resident is driving like he could be a factor in the points chase next season. Noakes, who has two IHRA national event victories this season, drove to the top of the provisional qualifying sheet Friday with a 5.786 at 241.32 mph.
Mark Thomas (Louisville, Ohio) is seeking his sixth career IHRA World Championship and came to Rockingham with a 48-point lead over Rob Atchison. Thomas moved into the provisional field with a 5.957 pass at 241.84 mph while Atchison ended Friday’s session on the outside of the field in the #10 position.
Rob Mansfield continued his strong late-season push by posting a 6.363 at 217.39 mph to grab the provisional Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock top qualifying spot in Rockingham. Mansfield, who won in Epping, N.H. last month, is not in the 2006 World Championship points chase, but he sizzled down the strip in his Wilson Manifolds ’06 Chevy Cobalt Friday night to move to the top of the sheet.
Current IHRA points leader Tony Gillig put together a strong run to finish Friday’s qualifying session in the #5 position. Gillig, who came into the World Finals 31 points ahead of Pete Berner in the chase for the World Championship, posted a 6.399 at 215.03 mph. Berner finished the first qualifying session on the bump spot at he clocked a 6.497/213.87 mph pass.
Candyce Marsh made her first pass as a professional Friday night, becoming the first African-American woman to compete in professional drag racing history. Marsh drove her ’01 Firebird to a 6.541 elapsed time at 208.55 mph to finish 22nd on the qualifying sheet with two more sessions on tap for Saturday. The top 16 drivers qualify for the eliminations rounds in the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified class.
Qualifying resumes Saturday for the Universal Technical Institute World Finals at Rockingham Dragway. Gates open at 8 a.m. with Sportsman eliminations at 9 a.m. and Professional qualifying rounds at 2 and 6 p.m., during the JCB “Night of Fire.” Professional eliminations start Sunday at 11 a.m.
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- Results Friday after qualifying for the Universal Technical Institute World Finals at Rockingham Dragway, the last of 11 events in the 2006 eMax Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Andrew Cowin, 4.574 seconds, 317.34 mph; 2. Clay Millican, 4.591, 314.83; 3. Rick Cooper, 4.616, 315.71; 4. Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.687, 310.63; 5. Bruce Litton, 4.727, 289.63; 6. Jim Cavalieri, 5.880, 152.54; 7. Scott Weis, 9.211, 82.39; 8. T.J. Zizzo, 9.635, 81.97.
Nitro Funny Car -- 1. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.952, 294.88; 2. Jack Wyatt, Pontiac Firebird, 5.045, 253.85; 3. Todd Simpson, Chevy Camaro, 5.158, 262.85; 4. Andy Kelley, Firebird, 5.842, 163.77; 5. Vincent Arcadi, Monte Carlo, 6.441, 141.45; 6. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Celica, 7.174, 122.88; 7. Terry Haddock, Dodge Stratus, 9.161, 123.79; 8. Paul Lee, Monte Carlo, 14.608, 76.75.
Pro Modified -- 1. Troy Critchley, Chevy Bel Air, 6.061, 236.17; 2. Eddie Ware, Chevy Camaro, 6.083, 232.23; 3. Carl Spiering, Camaro, 6.084, 234.00; 4. Mike Janis, Chevy Cobalt, 6.085, 232.59; 5. Tommy D'Aprile, Chevy Corvette, 6.093, 230.88; 6. Scott Cannon, Pontiac GTO, 6.098, 225.11; 7. Josh Hernandez, Camaro, 6.109, 234.25; 8. Mike Castellana, Chevy Cavalier, 6.115, 229.66; 9. Ed Hoover, Corvette, 6.117, 231.36; 10. Danny Rowe, Corvette, 6.125, 231.12; 11. Quain Stott, Corvette, 6.130, 231.40; 12. Alan Pittman, Bel Air, 6.146, 226.62; 13. Jim Halsey, Camaro, 6.161, 225.82; 14. Glen Kerunsky, Bel Air, 6.186, 225.63; 15. Charles Carpenter, Bel Air, 6.209, 224.66; 16. Pat Stoken, Camaro, 6.234, 224.96.
Alcohol Funny Car -- 1. Paul Noakes, Ford Mustang, 5.786, 241.32; 2. Thomas Carter, Chevy Camaro, 5.855, 234.61; 3. Frederick Tigges, Dodge Avenger, 5.859, 238.22; 4. Neal Parker, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.956, 234.33; 5. Mark Thomas, Monte Carlo, 5.957, 241.84; 6. Larry Dobbs, Chevy Corvette, 5.959, 238.22; 7. Ray Drew, Mustang, 6.169, 228.23; 8. Rocky Hummel, Camaro, 6.219, 228.85.
Pro Stock -- 1. Rob Mansfield, Chevy Cobalt, 6.363, 217.39; 2. Robert Patrick, Shelby GT 500, 6.374, 215.62; 3. Frank Gugliotta, Ford Escort, 6.390, 216.83; 4. John Montecalvo, Cobalt, 6.393, 216.38; 5. Tony Gillig, Ford Cobra, 6.399, 215.03; 6. John Nobile, Escort, 6.400, 216.41; 7. Rickie Smith, Cobalt, 6.401, 216.03; 8. Jeff Dobbins, Escort, 6.427, 215.41; 9. Dan Sweeney, Pontiac GTO, 6.428, 213.54; 10. Bert Jackson, Chevy Cavalier, 6.465, 213.91; 11. John Konigshofer, Mercury Cougar, 6.469, 213.77; 12. Chuck DeMory, Escort, 6.470, 214.28; 13. Larry O'Brien, Dodge Stratus, 6.486, 211.66; 14. Tom Lee, Ford Mustang, 6.487, 213.43; 15. Bob Bertsch, Mustang, 6.493, 212.26; 16. Pete Berner, GTO, 6.497, 213.87.
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IHRA CHAMPIONSHIPS DECIDED AT UNIVERSAL TECHNICAL INSTITUTE WORLD FINALS
As the Universal Technical Institute World Finals approaches, fans of the IHRA eMax Nitro Jam™ Drag Racing Series will pay close attention to the championship chases in the five professional categories. The event will be held October 20 – 22 at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.
The one championship that is all but locked-up is the Knoll Gas – Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel class. Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., leads Doug Foley by 117 points for his sixth-consecutive Top Fuel championship. Due to injuries sustained during a crash in Ontario, Foley missed the last IHRA race in Maryland and is expected to miss the World Finals. On the other hand, Millican has attended every race, and will earn 41 bonus points at the end of the season for doing so. Foley, Sewell, N.J., cannot earn those points.
Therefore, regardless of who wins at Rockingham, when Millican arrives at the track, he locks up the championship. He’ll be the only professional competitor to ever win six-consecutive championships. The only other driver to accomplish such a feat is Anthony Bertozzi, Richmond, Va., who won the ACCEL DFI Super Stock championship every year from 1996 – 2001.
The battle for second place will come down to Rick Cooper, Boise, Idaho, and Bobby Lagana Jr., Scarsdale, N.Y. Neither competitor can catch Millican, but it’s likely they will both pass Foley, Cooper’s teammate. Only 32 points separate Cooper and Lagana Jr.
It was thought Dale Creasy Jr. (photo attached), Beecher, Ill., 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 Jr. 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 Jr. 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, 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 #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.
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