:::::: Feature Stories ::::::

ONE LAST HURRAH FOR GILLIG

12-20-06-tony.jpgThe phrase ‘agonizingly close’ doesn’t begin to describe Tony
Gillig’s shot at the Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock title during IHRA’s
UTI World Finals. With his race team due to be dismantled at year’s end, Gillig
came into Rockingham, NC with high hopes and a hard-won points
lead. But then the winds changed, the signs became unfavorable, omens adverse…

Tied at two wins a piece with Frank Gugliotta, Pete Berner and
Robert Patrick, Gillig succeeded in holding off these competitors for most of
the year. “We had qualified bottom half four times before in the season,” the Lake Bluff,
IL native explained. “I was 9th in Grand Bend and won first round…Budds Creek
we beat Robert Patrick first round, then went on to runner-up the event [after
a 30 second staging battle, Gillig lost on a holeshot to Ricky Smith]. When I
get past first round I go to the semis, that’s just how it worked out for us.
It just didn’t happen for us at Rockingham.”

VINNY BUDANO DELIVERS BIG TIME

12-20-06-vinny.jpg
Concrete and asphalt are the building blocks of great cities
and drag strips, two of the most important aspects of Vincent “Vinny” Budano’s
life. The native New Yorker, a two-time Pro Street champion, is quick to say that
he would “trade grass for concrete any day.”

Budano comes by his love of the fast-paced metropolitan lifestyle
honestly. He was born in the Manhattan
neighborhood of Harlem in 1962. His family
later moved to Queens, where Budano, his
brother Frank, and sister Fran, grew up amidst the city’s concrete canyons and
asphalt-covered landscapes.

“I had a great childhood,” Budano, now 44, said. “When my
parents, Anna and Frank, came to this country they had nothing, but they, along
with my Aunt Gabriela and Uncle Phillip, raised my brother and sister and I in
a close-knit and loving family atmosphere.”

NOTHING BUT POSITIVES FOR HIGHT

12-18-06-hight.jpgIt would have been easy
for second-year NHRA competitor Robert Hight to be disappointed about the recently completed POWERade Series season.

But rather than pout about coming up short in his quest to score his first
Funny Car title, Hight chose to look at the
positive. And when you look at what Hight
accomplished during his sophomore campaign, he had reason to be smiling.

Hight
, driving one of three
Ford Mustangs for his father-in-law and NHRA icon
John Force, certainly had a season to remember after scoring three wins in six
final rounds and finishing second only to Force in the final Funny Car
standings.

SALUTING THE IHRA NON NITRO CHAMPIONS

12-14-06-nonnitro.jpgOver the course of the next two weeks, Torco's CompetitionPlus.com will
feature the world champions of both the NHRA and IHRA. Senior writer
Susan Wade delves into the behind-the-scenes stories that made each one
of these champions the best in the their respective games during the
2006 season. This installment features the IHRA nitro champions - Quain Stott, Mark Thomas and Pete Berner

PRI PHOTO GALLERY

12-15-06-pri.jpgThe Torco's CompetitionPlus.com staff covered the Performance Racing Industry trade show. We are proud to bring you an extensive photo gallery from our staff photographer Roger Richards.

 

PRI PHOTO GALLERY 

PHIL BURKART'S 11TH HOUR DISMISSAL

12-15-06-11thhour.jpgRacing ignites
his competition passion. Business squeezed him out of a ride.

Such is Phil Burkart’s dilemma as he looks to get back into the Funny Car
saddle again.

“I’ve been burning up the phone lines,” said Burkart, who unexpectedly was
dropped from Worsham Racing after three productive seasons on the NHRA Powerade
Drag Racing Series. “I’ve been calling other people, other teams to see if
there’s anything new or available … wherever I can fit in. I’m trying to find a
home, I guess.”

FEEDBACK FRIDAY - December 15

11-30-06-feedbackfriday.jpgEvery Friday, Torco's CompetitionPlus.com brings you our Feedback letters. Read what our readers have to say about our feature articles and you can even offer your opinions.

FEEDBACK FRIDAY - December 15 

SIDEBAR - HOW TO BUY THE DVD AND INFO

LIONSDVDCOVERcropped.jpgInformation pertaining to the DVD's availability
can be obtained on the Internet at: www.lionsvideo.com , via email:
[email protected] , phone: 276-386-9120, or by writing to: Lions DVD, 111 Charleston Street, Weber City, VA 24290.

The nearly two-hour (1-HR, 54-MINS) video “Lions
– The Greatest Drag Strip”, explores the landmark facility, which was located
in west Long Beach.
It is packed with many vintage photos, novice and professional films, and
interwoven with more than 30 interview segments by leading era racers and
significant figures.

WHEN THE LIONS ROARED

12-12-06-whenlions.jpg
When considering the fact that more than
12-hundred drag strips have been built in the United States since 1949, perhaps
no single track has ever captured the imagination, created more legendary
figures, or held as many noteworthy events than a stretch of real estate
sitting quietly off the San Diego freeway in Wilmington, California, just south
of Los Angeles.

But
don't bother to grab your jacket and camera and set sail for this holy grail of
quarter-mile landmarks, as Lions Drag Strip's 18-year reign ended with
"The Last Drag Race" event in the wee hours of December 2, 1972.

SALUTING THE IHRA NITRO CHAMPIONS

12-11-06-nitroihra.jpgOver the course of the next two weeks, Torco's CompetitionPlus.com will
feature the world champions of both the NHRA and IHRA. Senior writer
Susan Wade delves into the behind-the-scenes stories that made each one
of these champions the best in the their respective games during the
2006 season. This installment features the IHRA nitro champions - Clay Millican and Dale Creasy, Jr.

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