Keep up with this weekend's IHRA Texas nationals by reading our behind-the-scenes event notebook. We bring you the stories behind the numbers and win-lights throughout the course of the weekend. Tune in daily for the latest news from the pits.







littonDSA_6228.jpgBRUCE IS BACK – Bruce Litton bounced back from his horrific crash at the Texas Nationals two years ago and another injury-inflicting crash at the end of last year to take the first event of the 2007 season.

“This was a special win,” Litton said. “It’s almost as special as your first one after coming back from last year.”

“Our goal this year was to be competitive and go rounds,” the Indianapolis-based driver said. “But we changed everything this year. I’ve got some of my original guys back from 1999, we built a new car, we went to a different fuel combination, injector, and supercharger. We even built a new tow truck.”

“This is just the first of 12 races. There are a lot of good cars out there, and I was just blessed today.”

EAGLE EYES – TJ Zizzo and crew avoided a potentially disastrous situation in the first round of Top Fuel. On a bye run after Mitch King was a no-show, Zizzo rolled to the line to perform a routine burnout when his crew went into a sudden scramble.

“My crew guy Tony Smith ran up to the car and waved his arms telling me to stop the car,” Zizzo said. “I stopped the car and saw one of my other crew members running to get my dad, who always has the throttle stop in his hand.”

“We had a different routine up there that time, and my dad simply forgot to put the throttle stop in.”

“The neat thing about it is that we have eagle eyes on this team,” said Zizzo. “Everybody on this team is looking at this car constantly. One crew member communicated to another and then to another, and my dad got the throttle stop in in a matter of seconds.”

“I’ve never done a burnout with the throttle stop out, but I know these cars RPM so fast and the pedal has such a short travel that it would be near impossible”

“The throttle stop is just for us dumb drivers,” said Zizzo. “We can’t feather the throttle. All we normally have to do is count in our head how long we want to do the burnout for.”

“It might be fun to do a burnout without it, but I don’t want to get shunned by my crew.”

Zizzo advanced all the way to the final round for new sponsor Race News Magazine. There he fell to Bruce Litton’s Lucas Oil/Torco Race Fuels machine.




creaseyDSA_6146.jpgP-NUT PULLS ONE OUT – Dale Creasy Jr. came out swinging to start his title defense this year. The Torco Race Fuels-backed driver from Beecher, Illinois, piloted a brand new Murf McKinney car to a Nitro Funny Car victory at the Texas Nationals.

“We went testing last week in hopes of getting this new car straightened out, but when we got here we didn’t have much more of a clue than when we started,” Creasy said. “It came down to the last qualifying run and we still weren’t qualified, but when we warmed it up, I knew it was going to be all right.”

“I’ve got that World Championship trophy at home, and I’m proud of it, but I can’t get caught up in that,” said Creasy. When you come out this year, it doesn’t matter what’s sitting on your shelf. It all starts over and everyone has the same chance.”

“I was glad to see all the big hitters come out and race this weekend,” said Creasy. “I want to see this side grow. I want it for the competition, because without that, why are we all here?”

haddockDSA_5572.jpgSO FAR, SO GOOD – Terry Haddock has been pulling double duty to this point in the season, competing at both Pomona and Phoenix on the NHRA circuit, and making his 2007 IHRA debut this weekend in San Antonio in the GoldStar Asphalt Dodge Stratus.

The veteran shoe from Lynnwood, Washington, attributes some extra track time to his team's success this weekend, where they made it to the semifinals before falling to defending event champion Gary Densham.

“Every chance you get to run your car you learn something, so we plan to race as much as we can afford to,” Haddock said, reflecting on the team’s limited budget. “We are going to run the full IHRA schedule in hopes of gunning for a championship and run a handful of the NHRA races as well.”

Another factor in Haddock’s successful weekend was the debut of a brand new Ty Baumgartner racecar. “This new car ran a 4.95 on the first pass. We are real happy with it. It was straight and clean from the get-go, and it’s just been great all weekend,” said Haddock.

Haddock was just a fraction off the winning elapsed time Dale Creasy Jr. posted in the other semifinal matchup. Haddock posted a 3.427 compared to Creasy’s 3.426. Had he not been running Densham, who posted the low elapsed time of the weekend against Haddock, he may have advanced another round.

“It’s a little disappointing when things like that happen,” Haddock said. “One of these days it’s going to be our day to win one of these things, and we won’t be able to do any wrong. We’re learning, and at the next race you won’t see as many of these NHRA guys there, so we feel like we are in a really good spot.”




hooverDSA_6093.jpgI’M STARTING TO LIKE THIS PLACE – If your eliminations sheet on the way to the finals reads 4.045, 4.045, 4.040, and 4.03, it’s safe to say consistency played a part in your success.

Columbia, South Carolina’s Ed Hoover posted the above numbers as he blasted past Mike Castellana, Kenny Lang, Quain Stott, and Danny Rowe on his way to his second Texas Nationals crown in three years. To make it even sweeter, that list of opponents includes 2005’s series champion and 2006’s champion and runner-up.

“This is a great win, and a lot of the credit goes to Al Billes for all the research and development he did to get us over the rule change, and essentially getting us running as quickly as we did before the rule change,” the veteran driver said from the winner’s circle. “I used to tune this thing myself, but you’ve got to have somebody like Al in your corner nowadays with how tough it is out here.”

“This one is for [car owner] Paul Trussell,” said Hoover. “We’ve been together for 11 years now, and I won’t do this for anybody else. I told him that in the beginning, and he told me the same thing after we won our first race.”

“We left here a couple years ago with the win and the points lead, and ended up not doing well the rest of the year,” Hoover said. “We’re going right back to the dyno, we’re going to keep our momentum going and we aren’t going to let that happen again.”

auxierDSB_5071.jpgB.A. STANDS FOR BURTON AUXIER – Dixie, West Virginia’s Burton Auxier finished up qualifying as the quickest nitrous-assisted Pro Mod, a first for Auxier. Auxier’s 4.055 second, 179.52 mph pass was actually recorded during his first qualifying attempt on Friday, which was a quarter-mile pass.

The welding business owner followed up his qualifying efforts by taking out fellow nitrous competitor and friend Shannon Jenkins in the first round of eliminations. While both cars shook the tires, Auxier was able to recover and pilot his ’53 Corvette to the win.

“I really think we have a little more of an advantage by running eighth-mile this weekend,” said Auxier. “Our car is light and reacts quickly, so we are generally pretty quick in the first half of the track.”

Auxier would face off against another nitrous car, that of Montana’s Pat Stoken in the second round. “It’s nice that a nitrous car will move on to the next round, but I really would rather run a blown car so we can take one of them out and keep as many nitrous cars in as we can,” Auxier said.

“It’s too early to tell if these new rules have done anything, because the weather and the track have thrown everybody such a curveball,” said Auxier. “We’ll have to wait a little while to see what happens.”

Auxier ended up not only being the quickest nitrous qualifier, but the farthest advancing one as well. Auxier got to the semifinal round until clutch problems led to a defeat at the hands of Danny Rowe.




monroeDSA_6055.jpgMUNROE MARCHES – Number one qualifier Terry Munroe marched through the likes of multiple-time series champions Rob Atchison and Mark Thomas to take his first IHRA Alcohol Funny Car win in his fifth final round appearance.

For Munroe, having things go his way for a change is what finally put him over the hump.

“We have worked so hard, and I would always get to the final and fall victim to something stupid like a spark plug wire being left off,” said an ecstatic Munroe. “Just something we didn’t deserve.”

“Heck, just last night I had to go to bed and think about how I had to run Rob Atchison first round.”

“I don’t want to sound cocky, put we are coming this year and going for the gusto,” Munroe concluded.

ATCHISON A LITTLE OFF PACE – Three-time Alcohol Funny Car Champion Rob Atchison has been just a little off this weekend. He hasn’t regained that championship form he displayed in 2003, 2004, and 2005 quite yet, and his 3.904, 192.55 MPH pass only netted him a No. 5 starting position.

“This is a tricky track, as I’m sure every guy in the pits can attest to,” said the London, Ontario, native. “We have a lot of power, and we are just trying to get a handle on it.”

“Eighth-mile racing is a lot different than quarter-mile, especially for us, as we are a back-half car,” Atchison said. “If we could have stretched our legs out and go the full length we would have probably ended up in a better spot. But in the end, it’s only a couple hundredths so we aren’t going to worry about it too much.”

Despite that, Atchison and crew didn’t feel the need to make too many adjustments to the Erickson Manufacturing Monte Carlo to adapt to this weekend’s unique circumstances.

“When you get it right, it’s a fast car at every increment, so we didn’t want to change anything,” said Atchison. “We were able to almost treat it like a test session, and try to get the car to move better in the first half. Even if we are a back-half car, if we aren’t moving in the first half we are losing a lot of elapsed time.”

Atchison’s No. 5 qualifying spot landed him a first round matchup with top qualifier Terry Munroe. Munroe put Atchison on the trailer early with a 3.946 to Atchison’s 3.994 effort.




patrickDSA_6012.jpgNo. 1 and No. 1 – Robert Patrick went wire-to-wire in San Antonio, qualifying number one then putting together a string of low 4-teen passes to take the win. This continues a trend Patrick started at the end of last season, when he caught fire and claimed a number of pole positions and victories in the IHRA Pro Stock ranks.

“I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and we tried some stuff Saturday that didn’t work. We went back to our baseline today, and it all worked out well for us today,” Patrick said.

Possessing one of the more potent powerplants in the division, Patrick had to click the Purvis Ford Mustang at the 660’ mark this weekend, creating somewhat of an equalizer between he and his opponents.

“You have to be more on your game in this deal,” added the Fredericksburg, VA native. “We have some power that we feel we can take advantage of in the back half, but my crew worked their butts off this weekend and that got us where we are right now.”

“Everybody on this team is my family, even though some of us aren’t related,” Patrick stated. “We have a lot of fun doing it, and hopefully we can keep this going and I can get one of those championship rings.”


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dsb_5240.jpgTHOUGHTS ON RACING EIGHTH-MILE – Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com quizzed a few of the leading nitro racers in San Antonio regarding their feelings of running eighth mile.

“I think it is only the fair thing they can do with the track conditions they have. It is going to be like match race conditions. When is the last time we’ve had an eighth-mile drag race? I’m not sure it is anything that I was looking forward to. We just have to deal with it.” – Dale Creasy, Jr.

“I haven’t done it in such a long time. I don’t know if I can find the finish line. It’s going to be something else. I think you’ll see a lot of 800-foot racing. If someone clicks it at 660 feet…I think I’ll have to go over and pat them on the back.” – Doug Foley

“It won’t cost us as much. It’s like I told someone, Live Nation puts on a lot of concerts all the time and they wouldn’t bring the Rolling Stones to play without a stage. This track owner ought to have his butt kicked. Eighth-mile? We’ll probably win.” – Bob Gilbertson

“Our approach is going to be the same. We are going to race this event as if we are racing quarter-mile. We’ll just have to shut it off early. I have run on eighth-mile before enough to know the finish line gets there in a hurry. We are out here to try and test and remain consistent. It will be a challenge just to go down the track because it is getting warmer out here. The car won’t know the difference. I will try to remember to shut it down early.” – Cruz Pedregon

"I could have stayed at home and raced eighth-mile. They had a track condition and if this makes it safe then I am all for it. I liked eighth-mile until it took away my first low qualifier in seven years. I got bumped to number two because the sun came up.” – Scotty Cannon

“I think for the situation they [IHRA] were put into they made the right decision. No one wants to watch a one-lane race track. To do an eighth-mile race here this weekend, I commend the IHRA. It was the right move.” – Del Worsham

GET THE POINT? OR NOT… - Professional competitors will have the opportunity to reset world records for eighth-mile competition. The nitro records, in IHRA competition, have remained untouched since the 1974 Southern Nationals held on the pit road at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Dale Funk (Top Fuel) and Barry Setzer (Funny Car) emerged as record holders.

The only catch to this is that while securing the records, the racers cannot acquire points for the feat.

The IHRA’s Mike Baker cited, “We wanted to set records, but obviously we couldn’t award points because no one would have the opportunity to ever beat them.”

Defending World Champion Dale Creasy didn’t exactly agree with the ruling.

“I’m not sure why they come up with some of the decisions they come up with,” said Creasy. “I can’t let that stuff bother me. If you let that get in your head, then you get away from what you came for. They can do whatever they want. I’m going racing.”




foleyDSB_4720.JPGHE’S A BELIEVER – It’s amazing how qualifying No. 1 will change a driver’s opinion of a controversial situation. Doug Foley’s 3.111, 268.65 left him as the top qualifier and provisional record holder.

“I don’t think I was a fan of it this morning, but I learned to like it,” Foley said. “I actually smoked the tires on the last run but I didn’t feel it. I probably should have stayed in it a little while longer but we still went 268.”

Foley isn’t thoroughly convinced that eighth-mile racing is easier on parts.

“I would like to believe it is easier on the parts,” Foley said. “For some reason it isn’t showing it. The parts look like a typical run. I don’t know why that is. I’m just glad this whole weekend turned out as safe as it did for everyone.

“As soon as the clutch comes in, that pulls the motor down. When you run eighth-mile you have to pull harder down on the motor. You have to be more aggressive in the first eighth-mile. There were some guys who ran fast out here.”

Today’s qualifying threw tradition out the window.

“This is something that makes you scratch your head to think when the last time they ran an eighth-mile race. It was interesting and changing of the game. It was just as much an advantage or disadvantage to everyone out there. It worked out well.”

cannonDSA_4468.JPGCANNON FIRES SHOT – Scotty Cannon lost the battle but won the war on Saturday night. He lost out on the IHRA’s new “Last Man standing” qualifying program when fellow rookie Terry McMillen lit the win-light on a holeshot. Cannon was quicker with a 3.215 elapsed time and McMillen produced a 3.218.

Cannon’s effort knocked McMillen from the fourth position down to fifth. Tomorrow Cannon meets No. 8 Bobby Lagana Jr., while McMillen gets the pole-sitting Foley to open the day. A somber Cannon realized his good fortunes but the reality of losing his mother last week and Funny Car racer Eric Medlen yesterday tugged at his heart strings.

“I was just happy the Lord protected me today,” Cannon said of his rookie debut. “Yesterday was a tough day after losing Eric and while you want to let the family know you feel their pain…this is the only way you can really convey your feelings. I couldn’t imagine losing my son like John Medlen did. I guess there’s a reason for everything and I really don’t understand that. Maybe somewhere down the road something positive will come out of all of this.

“Yesterday was a real sad day and knocked the breath out of us. I’m just fortunate to be able to do what I do here.”

Cannon has dedicated the weekend to his mother Ann Holtzclaw’s memory. She passed away a week ago.

‘Maybe I can get lucky and pull one off for Momma and Medlen at the same time,” Cannon said.


RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME - Bruce Litton has qualified atop the Top Fuel field before, but Saturday morning provided a first for him. The Lucas Oil/Torco Race Fuels-sponsored driver inherited the top qualifying position when his eighth mile 3.228 was better than Scotty Cannon’s 3.289.

“Of course I am always excited to go to number one,” Litton said. “We only made it to mid-track last night.”

Cannon, in the quarter-mile, had a 4.851 while Litton coasted to a 5.501.

When told of the qualifying revision, Cannon was at a loss for words uttering simply, “Well, I’ll just be damned.”




denshamDSA_5211.jpgDENSHAM STAYS ON TOP – Gary Densham was the No. 1 qualifier in Nitro Funny Car after Friday’s sessions, and Saturday’s eighth-mile contest didn’t change a thing. Densham retained his position with a 3.322, 253.56 mph eighth-mile blast.

Doing it in front of the IHRA crowd made it all the more special for the veteran driver from Bellflower, CA.

“I love racing over here. The fans are great and the people in the organization are great,” Densham said. “What has happened over at the NHRA during the last few years is great on a corporate level, but I feel some of the passion has been lost with all the money involved.”

Densham has enjoyed all his previous forays into IHRA Funny Car racing, including being the defending event champion. This year has been no different.

“To come over here and race with people that just love the sport and where the money means absolutely nothing to them is really exciting. Being number one on top of all that is an awesome thing for me.”

DSA_4412.jpg IT WAS A BLAST - If you ask Jon Capps how his national event debut went Friday night in San Antonio, chances are that he will smile and utter, “Explosive.”

Capps made a straight-as-a-string effort only to have the engine explode the supercharger in the lights. An investigation revealed a broken latch cap on an intake valve.

Capps was carrying the remnants of the broken part in his pocket on Saturday. He’s nicknamed the part his “mojo.”

“I guess you could say I was baptized with fire,” Capps said. “We were trying to do our part to give everyone a really good show. That run was actually set up safe (conservative). We had a part failure.

“The first thing I did was see what I may have done wrong. Paul Smith and the crew reassured me that I did everything right. I have a great team behind me. There was a lot of stuff to deal with down there including a cross-wind.

“Ron [Capps] called me and kind of gave me a hard time. I got on the parachutes as soon as the motor blew up. Ron told me I needed to evaluate things when stuff like that happens and go for that extra qualifying position. I had to remind him that I didn’t have as many laps as he did but I would work my way into it.”

Capps didn’t expect the explosion so early in his career, nor did he expect his second career run to be an official eighth-mile race.

“Everyone always says to beware of the unexpected,” Capps said. “I’m having a blast and everyone has been so nice to me. The IHRA staff has been very great and has made me feel welcome. We can’t control the track, but we can try to do the best we can do.”

Will he have a problem clicking at the eighth-mile mark?

“No, I will probably be the one driver who clicks at 658 feet,” Capps said.



DSA_4296.jpgIT’S PRONOUNCED COMMEESO – Raymond Commisso snatched the No. 1 qualifying position away from Scott Cannon on the last run of the session, registering a 3.962 to Cannon’s 3.963 in the Steelback Beer ’67 Camaro. After extensive off-season testing with the most recent IHRA rules, Commisso was thrilled with the pole position.

“All we have been doing is testing with the 4.30 rear gear and no two-step,” said Commisso. “It took me about 3 hits to get used to it, and as you can see it's no problem now.

The Toronto-based driver was quick to point out that a fellow Canadian has given him the power needed to secure the top spot.
“All my credit has to go to Al Billes. He tunes this car and I am just fortunate enough to drive it,” Commisso said.

“A lot of credit has to go to my new crew as well, consisting of my new teammate Ralph Andreachi, Frank Lombardi, Sam Misoula, and Larry Hipps.

Since we were running only to the eighth-mile, we didn’t get a chance to see what Saturday’s runs would have looked like if they had been all the way to the quarter-mile.

“It should have been a high 5.90, like a 5.98 or 99. The 4.30 gear combined with the horsepower Al is giving us to turn it should make some really big speeds as well,” predicted Commisso.

“I have been looking up to these guys for so long now. All these guys are an inspiration to me,” Commisso said of his fellow Billes tuned racers Tony Pontieri, John Russo, and Ed Hoover. “Especially Al. If it wasn't for him, I'd be home working right now.”


cannonDSA_4726.jpgLIKE FATHER, LIKE SON – Scott Cannon, Jr., was just a pup when his six-time Pro Modified championship-winning dad was winning everything the class had to offer almost 15 years ago. Today, he looked like a chip off of the old block. Last night he was trying to steer clear of his emotional elder who reportedly pump-faked throwing a RacePak. An observant crew member reminded him it was the team’s only unit.

The team was in a thrash to diagnose a problem which had starved the engine of fuel in the first session and resulted in a meltdown of the team’s primary engine.

It amazing how much of a difference 24 hours can make. Cannon not only improved on his qualifying position but ended up second in the field. He briefly held the top spot. Only Ray Commisso’s 3.962, 188.41 topped Cannon’s 3.963, 184.75 in qualifying.

The always competitive Cannon won the IHRA’s new Last Man Standing reward of $500 for being the quickest winning driver in qualifying.

“I didn't even know we got the last man standing till they pulled me off to the side,” Cannon said. “The only thing I knew was that we got bumped out of the number one spot. I'm excited to get it though, I mean you do that a couple times throughout the year and that will really add up. That could decide a championship real easy.”


kingDSA_5051.JPGTEXAS TWO-STEPPING – Chip King would have loved a two-step during the third session and we’re not talking the dance step. A new rule  aimed at the supercharged fraternity has negated the use of the two-step rev-limiter.

King and a number of supercharged drivers stumbled in the early sessions of qualifying. For the Mopar standout, he found himself in a predicament during the third session. The car lunged forward as he staged and instead of fouling him out, the stage bulb remained lit, albeit with the rear tires.

“We had to go back to the air staging device,” King said. “It requires the clutch switch adjustment to be very close. We were getting some flex out of the linkage, so when the rpms came up – it bent just enough to activate the switch and the throttle. It’s just a learning curve when you switch systems over like that.”

Staging with the rear tires?

“I didn’t expect it to happen, but it has happened before,” King added.


THE TEXAS CONNECTION – This weekend marked the national event debut of the connection between Awesome Motorsports and new engine builders Reher-Morrison. While David Reher has long been regarded as a dyed-in-the-wool 500-inch Pro Stock racer and anti-Pro Modified gear-head, it’s clearly evident that he’s jumped in feet first into a new working relationship with Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana.

Jenkins admitted that Reher didn’t just watch their crew work. He jumped in and got his hands dirty.

“David Reher is a hands-on guy,” Jenkins said. “He’s a racer at heart and he’s been doing this for a long time. He has to get in the mix and I don’t mind at all. We work well together.”

“It has been great,” Jenkins said. “The guys at Reher-Morrison have been open-minded and we know we have a lot to learn between us, but it is only going to get better. It’s better now. We just need more laps on the car. The car…the motors…it’s all new. Unfortunately with paint and getting the ready, there wasn’t a lot of time available to test.”

“That’s the motto at Awesome Motorsports, we don’t quit,” Jenkins said. “It’s what we love to do and it’s what we are going to do. Those who don’t will be behind.”


hooverDSA_5126.jpgHOOVER HUFFIN’ – A resurgent Ed Hoover sits in the number two qualifying spot after yesterday’s sessions, posting a 6.179 at 230.84 MPH in the first session then backing it up with an even better 6.154 at 231.12 MPH. Hoover has been up and down over the past few seasons, battling inconsistency and most recently the ‘new car blues.’ But Hoover always seems to run well here in San Antonio, though it’s quite a long haul for the Columbia, SC, native.

“We like to come out and start strong. We qualified number one and won this race two years ago, but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself,” Hoover said. “We definitely have some better numbers in her, and with everything we did in the off-season it should be a good year.”

As with the end of last season, Hoover has enlisted the help of the ‘Canadian Speed Merchant,’ Al Billes.

“Al has found us even more power over the winter, so now it just comes down to Ed Hoover driving the car and winning a race.”

Hoover wound up qualifying fourth, recording a 4.022 at 184.14 MPH.


martinDSA_4081.JPGTHE HAROLD MARTIN SHOW – The six seconds he spends on the track is only a small fraction of Harold Martin’s media and community involvement.

If you were watching the Gatornationals last weekend on ESPN2, you may have noticed that Kurt Johnson had a partner in the latest ACDelco commercial. Pro Mod driver and EFI wizard Harold Martin and his ACDelco Grand Am are featured heavily alongside Johnson in the commercial, marking one of the few times a Pro Mod car has been seen in a nationally-syndicated TV commercial.

Most recently Martin has been speaking in schools in the San Antonio area before this weekend’s Texas Nationals, promoting the recent announcement of the ACDelco-Harold Martin “Pro Who Knows” Scholarship Program.

The four scholarships, worth $2500 each, will be awarded to high school seniors who desire to enter the automotive technology field. ACDelco’s goal is to promote and encourage young people to pursue a career in automotive technology, citing the vast shortage of – and high demand for – qualified technicians.

Martin will continue his youth outreach throughout the season, speaking at schools in the area of various events on the race circuit.

A LEVEL FIELD? – Combine the rather warm weather and high humidity and water grains with the questionable track surface and eighth-mile racing, mix in a little bit of a rule change for the blowers, and all of a sudden you have a recipe for a race that potentially favors nitrous cars. Did anyone predict this turn of events, especially with the out of this world numbers the Pro Mods were running at Gainesville last weekend?

Ed Hoover, for one, doesn’t see an advantage one way or the other. “This is all hard out here. If you aren’t on the edge, tearing stuff up or are under the car working on it constantly, you’re kidding yourself,” said Hoover, one of several drivers who made the switch from nitrous to blowers, but one of the few to have measurable success or better with both combinations.

As it turned out, the top six qualifiers were blown cars, and the quickest qualified nitrous car was Burton Auxier at number seven with a 4.055 at 179.52. Former world champion Mike Castellana, in a brand new Haas-built ’07 Mustang, missed the field with his 4.136.




monroeDSA_4325.JPGAN INERITANCE WORTH KEEPING - Terry Monroe was one of the two drivers who inherited the top spot in their division when the competition was switched to eighth-mile. He valued the gift so much that he refused to give it up all day long.

“I'm glad they decided to complete the event and run eighth-mile. It's just too costly to return to a rescheduled race. I hate it for Mark but I'm glad we ended up #1. Luck just went out way, and trust me - that usually doesn't happen.”



THOMAS ON TOP, PART 2 – Due to the repaving issue going on at the track, IHRA has elected not only to run the event as an eighth-mile event, but to retroactively base qualifying off of the drivers’ eighth-mile elapsed times from Friday’s qualifying sessions. Most drivers remained in their current positions, but one driver that got booted from the top spot was 2006 Alcohol Funny Car World Champion Mark Thomas.

“I’m not thrilled with what’s happened overnight, but I understand why it has to happen,” Thomas said. “We can’t complain, we just have to go out there, do our best, and try to get back in that number one spot.”

When asked about racing to the eighth mile, Thomas said that his team would face more of a challenge than other teams. “Last time we raced eighth mile was a long time ago,” the 6-time World Champ said. “Our car is a big top-end car, so we have to change things around to try to get that MPH back early. We’ll just have to see what happens.”


bogoloDSB_5272.JPGSPONSOR BENEFITS – Alcohol Funny Car driver Tony Bogolo, the 2003 Texas Nationals winner from Hamilton, OH, struggled in his first two qualifying passes of 2007, but to be out on the track at all is a positive. Bogolo currently has backing for one race courtesy of Dynatek Racing, an exclusive OEM-style fuel injection system supplier and distributor for Superperformance and their Shelby Cobra replicas.

“We are excited to be out here with Tony this weekend. He works at the shop putting the Cobras together and in our full service engine shop, so this is a great way to get involved with him,” said Eric Hinderberger, the representative for Dynatek.

“We didn’t know if we would have a class or not until just a few weeks ago, so that’s the main reason this is just a one-race deal,” Bogolo added. “Dynatek knows what they can do for us, so now it’s time for us to show what we can do for them.”

On his first pass Friday, Bogolo’s car came to a stop suspiciously pointed towards the left lane retaining wall. As it turns out, Bogolo’s steering wheel came off in his hands. “The wheel came off at the quick connect; I had to just throw the wheel in the floor and grab some brake to keep from hitting the wall,” Bogolo said.





patrickDSB_5059.JPGJUST TESTING – Robert Patrick felt enough cushion between himself and the rest of the field that he opted for some testing during the second day of qualifying. It didn’t bother him the length of the track was cut in half.

Patrick laid down a 4.129, 172.89 during Friday’s second session. His confidence in those numbers enabled him the opportunity to venture outside of the box and test a little bit.

"We didn't think the track was good enough for anybody to really step up and take that spot away from us, so we just went out there and tested some stuff. We just wanted to make a consistent lap instead of going out there and trying to improve,” Patrick said. “We'll put our raceday tuneup in there tomorrow and go from there.”

Patrick hopes the top qualifier status translates into Sunday success.

"I hope so,” Patrick said. “If I can be on the tree we should have a pretty good chance at winning. That's what it's going to take to win this thing."



TWISTED TITANIUM – Cary Goforth had a hard launch during Saturday’s first qualifying session in Pro Stock, until it got on the wheelie bars a little too hard, unloaded the tires, and went into severe tire shake. That shake snapped the wheelie bars in half, and they went bouncing like streamers behind the Dean’s Casing Service Chevy Cobalt.

“We were trying to get after it pretty hard,” said Gary Henry, crew chief for both Cary and Dean Goforth. “We’ve been having a problem with both cars not leaving well, and we cleaned it up down low. The track got hot and it just got me where I wasn’t expecting it.”

“We’ll be Ok though,” Henry said. “Elijah Morton was kind enough to loan us a set of bars. We weren’t as far off as it looked, and we have two good drivers here, so we should be just fine.”

Cary Goforth is fresh off his win at the Torco’s Competitionplus.com Eastern Spring Test Nationals just a couple weeks ago.

bernerDSB_5157.JPGTITLE DEFENSE BLUES - Some days you are the defending champion and others you don’t feel like it. On Friday, defending Torco’s CompetitionPlus Pro Stock Champion Pete Berner felt like a chump instead of the champ.

“Defending a championship is not easy, but neither is racing in general,” Berner said. “Sometimes you run into these kinds of problems. We had some issues with the motor in testing. Jon [Kaase] worked on the motor for five days and even seized it up on the dyno twice before he got this motor running to where it needed to be.

“We just didn’t have enough information on it and the weather we have makes tuning a crapshoot. We are just trying to get our horsepower up to where it needs to be.”

Berner stepped up in the third session with a 4.195, 171.79 to jump into the 13th position. He later dropped to 15th.

This weekend, Torco’s CompetitionPlus Pro Stock drivers were afforded four qualifying attempts. That proved valuable for Berner.

“That was a blessing for sure,” Berner said.





HALF-TRACK RACING - For the first time since 1974, the IHRA will stage a full-fledged national event on an eighth-mile racing surface. The decision was made on safety. Following an oildown during Friday evening qualifying, IHRA officials noticed the racing surface was compromised and required repaving to rectify the situation.

Friday's qualifying has been recalculated on eighth-mile elapsed times. Most of the top qualifiers remained atop their respective fields except for two classes - Top Fuel and Alcohol Funny Car. The new low qualifiers are now Bruce Litton and Terry Munroe respectively.


REPAVING UNDERWAY - Friday night's Funny Car qualifying was reduced to one lane and with good reason. 


Apparently, the right lane is being repaved. A asphalt company was called in last night and crews worked through the night to repair damage. If all works as planned sportsman racing will begin at 11 a.m. with time-trials for all classes. At 1 p.m., the professional categories will begin the day’s first round of qualifying. The HOLT CAT “Night of Fire” and the final professional qualifying session will begin as scheduled at 6:30 p.m.



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HOLD ONTO YOUR HAT – In what seems to be an annual occurrence at San Antonio Raceway, it was extremely windy again for Friday’s qualifying. Steady winds of 18+ MPH were blowing through the pits and across the track, testing awnings and drivers’ nerves.

The wind was definitely on the mind of Pro Stock driver Jeff Dobbins and his crew. Stuck in the unfortunate position of being the first pro car out on Friday in 2005, Dobbins’ car lifted off the ground and sent him barrel-rolling several times, totaling the race car. The rest of the pro session was then cancelled.

This year’s first day of qualifying went off without a hitch, and while initial reports called for dodgy weather throughout the weekend, the only rain forecasted now is a slight chance on Sunday.




DSB_4900.jpgCANNONBALL ROLLS - Newly christened Top Fuel driver Scotty Cannon admitted that he told a lie during the first day of the IHRA Texas Nationals in San Antonio.

“I basically told everyone, including myself, that I would have been happy to just qualify,” Cannon said. “But, I lied. I wanted to be number one at the end of the day.”

And, Cannon got his wish. The six-time Pro Modified world champion turned Funny Car standout turned Top Fuel rookie drove Evan Knoll’s Seelye-Wright-sponsored dragster to the provisional top qualifying position with a 4.851 elapsed time at 294.00 mph.

Cannon’s maiden IHRA Top Fuel voyage came during night qualifying. This marked his first night outing since his days of driving the Oakley-sponsored Funny Car on the NHRA POWERade tour.

Cannon felt a bit of nervousness at first.

“Once you get in the car, you get those butterflies and you’re scared,” Cannon said. “Once that motor starts, then you get back into your comfort zone and you feel like you’ve always been there.

“You can get in that zone when you have a crew like the one I have. This team works great together. My hat is off to them.”

Cannon knew the team could be a contender, but even tonight surprised him a bit.

“Tomorrow is going to be faster, no doubt,” Cannon said. “But tonight the moon and the stars lined up just right.”

UNDER THE GUN - Scotty Cannon was more than ready to do battle with Evan Knoll’s Seelye-Wright-sponsored Top Fuel dragster on Friday. His sidekicks were longtime tuners Jimbo Ermolovich and Todd Blakely.

Cannon has made three laps in a Top Fuel dragster with a 4.75, 309 in his first full pass during testing two weeks ago in Valdosta, Ga.

“We didn’t get the car until a month ago, so you can imagine how much under the gun we were,” Cannon said. “It’s almost like someone dropped a box of parts in front of us and said to make it work. But, that is when we are at our best.”

Cannon has a precedent for being under the gun and delivering. When Scott, Jr., crashed the team’s Pontiac GTO Pro Modified entry last year in San Antonio, the team bonded together with chassis builder Vanishing Point Race Cars and completely rebuilt the mangled ride in three weeks.

KING’S CAR LOT – Top Fuel pilot Mitch King has a veritable car lot for a pit area this weekend. He has no less than four cars in his stable: two Top Fuel cars, a nostalgia Funny Car, and a Nitro Funny Car.

“If we can find enough parts to run them all, we will,” King said.



DSB_5014.jpgTHE HIGHS & THE LOWS – Gary Densham sits in the number one position after Friday’s qualifying, but all the activities today have been overshadowed by the tragic loss of Eric Medlen. As a former John Force Racing driver who worked closely with the Medlen family, the loss of Eric hit home especially hard for Densham.

“I knew Eric for a long time, and whether it was being a crew member, roping bulls, or driving a race car, he went at it full blast,” Densham remembered. “Force gave him the opportunity to drive one of these cars, and he had the potential to be one of best for years to come, but unfortunately we will never find out.”

Densham was quick to point out that the improved safety of today’s cars make tragedies such as this one less likely than they used to be.

“I am one of the few still around that raced in the ‘70s, when we would lose someone like this at what seemed like every race,” Densham continued. “We participate in a dangerous sport, and thank God we have made these cars so much safer. On the other hand, it makes things like this seem to hit that much harder.”

“99 times out of 100 when an accident like Eric’s happens, you are gonna get out and walk away with nothing more than a scratched up race car,” Densham said. “It didn’t happen that way this time, and let’s just hope we go a real long time before something like this happens again.”

CAPPS ON THE GROUNDS (NOT THAT ONE) – Jon Capps, brother of most recent NHRA Funny Car winner Ron Capps, acquired his fuel license after the Gatornationals in Gainesville this past week. He is in San Antonio making his debut in the Funny Car owned and tuned by Paul Smith. According to Smith, the team hopes to run the full IHRA schedule in 2007.

In the first qualifying session, Capps was the first nitro funny car down the track. He was on a nice pass until the engine let go just before the finish line and a huge explosion erupted from under the car, badly damaging the body. Note that this is the same car Phil Burkart piloted to a final round appearance last weekend at the Gatornationals, where he fell to Jon’s brother, Ron. Small world, huh?




DSA_4030.jpgMORE ON THE DUAL ELEMENT – In Thursday’s notes we told you that Mike Baker refuted rumors that late-model Pro Mod bodies with a dual element style wing would be allowed in competition next season.

The Awesome Motorsports team is debuting two brand new late-model cars featuring dual element wings this weekend. When asked about his thoughts on the subject, Nitrous guru Shannon Jenkins said, “We already knew they weren’t going to allow it. We are going to run this year, see what happens and re-evaluate the situation for next year.”

DSA_4100.jpgNEW TERRITORY, PROVEN PARTNERSHIP - So determined to defend his Torco's CompetitionPlus Pro Modified title, Quain Stott had Wally Stroupe build a new Corvette incorporating the technology he's learned over the years. This year he's getting after it even more than when he won the crown. "Wally did a great job of taking some of my ideas and turned it in to a really nice hotrod. Anytime you start out with a brand new race car, it can be a little nerve racking," said Stott. "We started testing back in January and this car ran straight down the track right off of the truck."

Things are changing at a rapid rate for Stott, but some things remain the same.

Stott will enter the LeeBoy Corvette for the 10th consecutive season, showcasing two of the longest consecutive sponsorships in IHRA history. LeeBoy enters its tenth season with Stott and Torco Racing Fuels its ninth.

"LeeBoy and Quain Stott Racing have been together a long time," Stott explained. "It's not that often you find a partnership as loyal and as strong as Kelly Majeskie and the folks at LeeBoy. This is also our ninth season with Evan Knoll and Torco Racing Fuels. I remember starting with Evan a long time ago. Now, it's hard to imagine what drag racing would be like without Evan and Torco Race Fuels."




DSA_3973.jpgTHOMAS ON TOP – The Alcohol Funny Car’s future in IHRA has been cloudy, but one man at the forefront of keeping the class alive is 6-time World Champion Mark Thomas, driver of the Ethanol Performs machine. Thomas took a little time out from putting forth efforts to get the ethanol industry involved as a title sponsor for the class to lay down the low elapsed time of Friday.

“It feels great to be on top after the first day. It was tricky out there and a lot of people had trouble, especially down track, so we were happy to make a full pass,” said Thomas. “I wish we could have made the announcement that the class would be around in ’07 a little sooner, but it’s great to start out like this, no doubt about it.”

“We had a very positive meeting with the head of EPIC (the Ethanol Promotion Information Council) and it looks to be a good thing,” Thomas added. “Hopefully we can keep working it all in the right direction and get it sorted out so we can make an announcement by the next race.”

CANNISTER RETURNS – Former Pro Outlaw world champion turned Funny Car combatant Laurie Cannister returned to competition after a four year driving absence.

Cannister drove Trevor Lebsack’s 2005 Camaro when business commitments forced the Canadian competitor to miss this weekend’s event. She showed no signs of rustiness as she claimed the sixth spot with a 6.078 elapsed time at 217.95.





DSB_5059.jpgPATRICK UP TO OLD TRICKS – Robert Patrick was a bit perturbed at the conclusion of the 2007 season. The Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock driver from Fredericksburg, Virginia, laid down some of the quickest and fastest laps in history with his Purvis Ford-sponsored Mustang. That wasn’t the disturbing part. What irked him the most is that despite reaching the final round three times, he wasn’t a player in the final championship battle.

Patrick’s most vocal statement for 2007 came during Friday’s qualifying at the IHRA Amalie Oil Nationals in San Antonio, Texas.

Patrick was the only Torco’s CompetitionPlus Pro Stocker into the 6.30s during the first day of qualifying. His 6.391 elapsed time at 216.71 miles put him atop the sixteen-car field.

“This is exactly where I wanted to be,” Patrick said. “My engine builder Bob Ingles worked hard to get us here. He was out of commission with shoulder surgery for two weeks but he jumped right back in there and you see the results of his work.

“We were just a little off in the tune-up tonight, so we may have let a little on the table tonight. We’ll get back after it tomorrow and hopefully we will get even further than we did tonight. I am pleased with the start we are off to so far.”

LOVE IS ABOUT SACRIFICE – Though Jeff Dobbins recently acquired backing to compete in at least a few IHRA events this season, it doesn’t mean everything is easy all of a sudden. In an act of true sacrifice, Jeff’s wife Cindi gave up her plane ticket in DSB_5184.jpgexchange for a 24-hour ride in the team hauler. She didn’t just ride though: she also took shifts driving the rig on the long trip to central Texas, returning to the same site where Dobbins suffered a nasty crash in 2005.

Dobbins was pretty much speechless about his wife’s determination to keep him out there racing. “That’s pretty wild, isn’t it?” he added.

Dobbins, a former IHRA Top Sportsman World Champion, made the move to Pro Stock in 2002 were he became IHRA Professional Rookie of the Year and finished 4th in championship points. Along with being a multi-time national event winner, Dobbins has finished in the top ten in points in every year of competition. His partial backing is coming from local associates of the car owner and fellow Pro Stock competitor Richard Penland.

GIMPY GAHM – Former IHRA Pro Stock world champion Brian Gahm will be handling driving duties this weekend despite breaking his leg a few weeks back at his home in Lucasville, OH.

“It’s tough to get in and out of the car when it’s up on jacks, but on the ground I can just fall into it,” said Gahm. “We tested earlier in the week at Baytown and ran a 6.38, so I think we are ready.”

This isn’t the first time Gahm has suffered a self-inflicted injury. Last season, he and his brother were cruising (okay, testing the limits) in their father’s prized hot rod when they lost control and ended up in a ditch no more than a mile from the race shop and family business. Gahm suffered a broken rib or two, but made it back to the track extremely soon after the injury.

Gahm debuted a brand new Jerry Haas-built ’07 Mustang this weekend, featuring a new variation on his trademark multi-color-on-black paint scheme by Illusions.


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SPEED’s television coverage of the IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals will set low elapsed time for the post-race broadcast.

SPEED’s television coverage of the event is scheduled for Saturday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m. (Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car and Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel) and Saturday, April 14 at 5:00 p.m. (Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Mod, Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock and Alcohol Funny Car).

“SPEED really did a great job of turning the shows around last year,” IHRA president Aaron Polburn said. “Thanks to Newave Productions, working with Mike McFarlin and his whole team at Live Nation-Motorsports, it has paid off in a big way as ratings were up across the board. The production quality has improved dramatically and more people are watching than ever, what more could we ask for?”

This quick turnaround could be the start of a new trend.

“For the first time in a long time we have the same key people in place from the season before,” he said. “The fans really enjoyed what they saw last year and, as the old saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ The show really built momentum last season and we expect that momentum to carry over to this year, a year we expect to be the best in IHRA history.”


foleyDSA_2296.jpgWELCOME BACK - Doug Foley will be competing in IHRA competition for the first time since his horrific crash at Toronto Motorsports Park late last season.

“I feel good,” Foley, who competed in Las Vegas and Phoenix to get his feet wet prior to the San Antonio race, said. “I’m trying not to think about it. Of course every time you stage the car it’s in the back of your mind, but I really don’t think what happened in Cayuga is going to be an issue.”

TWO-TIMER – Alcohol Funny Car racer Terry McMillen will pull double duty in San Antonio, driving both the flopper and making his debut behind the wheel of the Foley-Lewis, Torco Nitro Top Fuel Car, backed by Evan Knoll.

"I'm really honored to be in such a high quality car," McMillen said. "Evan Knoll, Doug Foley and Tim Lewis have all given me a great chance to make a run at the top fuel championship."

A BITTERSWEET START - Scotty Cannon has waited almost three years to score a competitive nitro ride and this weekend his patience will be rewarded during the IHRA cannon.jpgAmalie Oil Texas Nationals in San Antonio, Texas. The realities of life will keep emotions in check for Cannon.

Cannon, 44, of Lyman, South Carolina, will race in honor of his mother Ann Holtzclaw, who passed away last Thursday.

 “We want to win and when we get to San Antonio, we’re getting after it hot and heavy. I have two things I want to accomplish. I want to win for Momma and I want to make Evan Knoll proud to have me in his car. Both of those are priorities for me. Sometimes you have to look at situations you cannot control and say that it is what it is. Sometimes you can’t think - you just have to do.”

MOMENTUM FOR ZIZZO – T.J. Zizzo threw down the gauntlet at the end of the 2006 season. He snagged low qualifier honors at two events (Martin, Budds Creek) and followed up with a win and semi-final finish. Zizzo added a few track records to his resume as well.

"It is our absolute intention to carry the momentum forward from last year," says team owner Tony Zizzo. "We had some success last year but we are not satisfied. We are out for a championship.”

Zizzo is racing in some uncharted waters this season.

"The thing is, we have made a couple of changes this season," added driver TJ Zizzo.  "We ran the old tire last year and IHRA has us running the new tire this year, and that is a huge change for us. We've also changed the chassis a little and now we have a little bit longer car. Those are changes that can make a huge difference for us this year."

Adding to his incentives, Zizzo racing has a new sponsor in Race News Magazine.

laganaDSA_8374.jpgKEEPING WITHIN REASON – Bobby Lagana, Jr., opens the season reaching for the skies. But, he’ll quickly tell you that he keeps it realistic.

“A lot of people don’t realize how important it is to not set your expectations too high. We just go out there with the goal of having fun,” said Lagana Jr., who calls Scarsdale, N.Y. home. “We want to put ourselves in a position to qualify, but I hear people get there Thursday and say ‘I’m going to win the race.’ It’s dangerous to be too confident. The last thing you want to do is leave a race disappointed.

“This sport is all about overachieving. We are the classic example of that, competing with guys with ten times more money. Our ability to do that all comes from my dad, he taught us how to race, taught us how to run this thing from every single bolt.”

Lagana exceeded his wildest expectation by claiming the first two wins of his career, a lifelong objective. The first win came against IHRA’s defending world champion Clay Millican at Grand Bend, Ontario. His second win, coming in Epping, N.H., was just icing on the cake.

Lagana has stepped things up this year thanks to the money he earned for finishing third in the 2006 point standings. The reward is a newer, nicer hauler.

“We do have some help this year from Skull Shine – Torco. And with our third place money last year, bought a bigger truck and trailer. But we’ll still need to qualify every time, that’s what keeps us going from race-to-race.

“I think this is going to be the most competitive year with IHRA ever,” said Lagana Jr. “There are just so many good cars, drivers, crew chiefs, teams…it’s going to be a dog-fight all year. It will be so easy with all the competition this year to all of a sudden find yourself not qualified for a race.

“As usual, Jay’s (Lewis, crew chief) got the car looking good this year,” added Lagana. “How can I complain, I have the ‘crew chief of the year.’”


creaseyDSB_6979.jpgGIMME FIVE (BOTTLES OF MAALOX OR POINTS) – Dale Creasy, Jr., understands the pressures of being a world champion better than ever. But what he understands better is the demands of getting the job done.

Creasy became the first IHRA Nitro Funny Car champion in two decades when he edged out Jack Wyatt by a mere five points. He kept a steady supply of Maalox on hand for the championship battle that went down to the final round.

For good measure, he’s ordered more Maalox in anticipation of a similar title defense season.
"I certainly hope it does not come down to the final race... because I can't take it," said a laughing Creasy. "If it comes down to that - great!  That's good drag racing. It went down to the wire [last season] but that is the way it is supposed to be. You can expect another great season of racing."
Creasy championship tally consisted of three wins and two additional top qualifying positions. He’s quick to erase the past memories.
"I try not to think about it very much," says Creasy. "We're proud of it, but you're only as good as your last race. We know there is a lot of racing to do. We couldn't do it without Evan Knoll and Torco Racing Fuels. It's amazing what he does for this sport and for this team."

gilbertsonDSB_4530.jpg ONE TRACK MIND – Only one thing permeates Bob Gilbertson’s mind this weekend – getting a jump on the Torco Racing Fuels pro Nitro Funny Car Championship competition in 2007.

Gilbertson will be debuting his wild new Trick Tank sponsored Monte Carlo that he'll be running at all of the IHRA Nitro Jam series this year.  Painted by Brian's Kustom Paint in Easley S.C., the body was put into action during last weekend's Gatornationals where it ran a 4.819 second elapsed time at 318.69 mph which both numbers are quicker and faster than the current IHRA Nitro Funny Car World Records that Gilbertson currently holds.

"I just can't wait to get to Texas," Gilbertson said.  "We're making a concerted effort this year to capture the IHRA title and we're going into San Antonio with momentum on our side.  I know that a lot of the Funny Car "hitters" will be there like my buddy's Del (Worsham) and Gary (Densham) but we're ready for the fight.  We've qualified for every race so far this year and we know that we have a fast car and we're looking forward to making some noise in Texas.  Seriously, I know that the competition will be tough this year but I think we're up to the challenge and I just can't wait to kick off the 2007 IHRA season with a win."

OF COURSE I’M COMING - Gary Densham knocked off Paul Lee to claim the first Nitro Funny Car Ironman in IHRA competition since 1992.

“We really had a lot of fun out there,” Densham said. “I’ve won many events and championships throughout my career, and I can honestly say being able to win the inaugural Nitro Funny Car event for IHRA ranks right up there.”

When contacted in early March to see if he was coming back to San Antonio again this season, Densham did not mince words.

“Of course I am,” he said. “I have to defend my title, don’t I?”

worshamDSD_1211.jpg JUMPING THE FENCE - Longtime NHRA Nitro Funny Car star Del Worsham will "jump this fence" this weekend, by entering his Checker, Schuck's, Kragen Monte Carlo in the IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals, at San Antonio Raceway.   Worsham is no stranger to IHRA competition, having competed in last year's Motor City Nationals in Milan, Mich., where he qualified No. 1 before being ousted in round one by NHRA Top Fuel star Doug Kalitta, who was driving his cousin Scott's Funny Car at the event.

This weekend will mark Worsham's first visit to San Antonio Raceway, which is located just east of the Alamo City, in Marion, Tex.  The popular NHRA star is clearly excited to race at a new venue, while he is equally charged up to "get it on" with the IHRA tour regulars.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the track in San Antonio, and even more excited to be racing this weekend," Worsham said.  "We need laps, we need race experience, and we need the energy that comes with racing, as opposed to testing.   The competition will be tough, I'm sure of that, and I won't be surprised if we see some of the other NHRA guys unloading their stuff when we get there.  It's a good track, and I'm sure it will be a good race, so for us this is exactly what we need right now.   We are going there to learn as much as we can, but don't think that doesn't mean we aren't going to be there to win.   We're treating it like we treat every race.  We will, absolutely, be there to win."

GUNNING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP - The J&B Motorsports team will kick off its new three year major sponsorship with Rislone Engine Treatment during this weekend's IHRA leeDSA_6636.jpgAmalie Oil Nationals presented by Napa Auto Parts at San Antonio Raceway.  Team driver Paul Lee scored a runner-up finish here in the Torco Pro Nitro Funny Car division last year.

"We're very pleased to have Rislone Oil Treatment and Bar's Leaks back on board for another three years," said Jeff.  "I think this year is going to be a lot of fun for us all, going for the IHRA Championship.  It's a great opportunity for us.  We have Nicky Boninfante on board as our tuner, and Paul now has a full season under his belt as a Nitro FC driver.  We ran well at the end of last year, and hopefully we can build on that this season."

The team enters the year as one of the favorites to challenge for the IHRA Torco Pro Nitro Funny Car Championship on the heels of making the final round at three of the final four events of the tour last season.  "Hopefully we can just pick up where we left off last season," stated Lee.  "We have some new parts and pieces and the new tire this year, but Nicky has experience with them.  We just want to take it one step at a time and creep up on it.  We can't go too lightly though, because a lot of heavy hitters will be there this weekend, so whoever wins this weekend will have deserved it.  Hopefully it's us holding the Ironman on Sunday."


roweDSA_2119.jpgMORE UNFINISHED BUSINESS – Danny Rowe came out swinging at last weekend’s NHRA Gatornationals. After qualifying seventh for the record-breaking field with a 6.042/236.17mph pass, Rowe made it to the quarterfinals before falling to Joshua Hernandez, recording a phenomenal 6.017 at only 236.26mph.

“It’s tough to run a 6.01 and go home, but that’s racing. It’s disappointing to have the 2nd fastest car in the round and lose, yet there is some comfort in knowing we’re in the hunt,” admitted Rowe.

Rowe now brings his Gainsborough Capital-backed, Jimmy Rector-tuned ’63 Corvette to San Antonio.

“Right now, we shift our focus to San Antonio and keep working hard,” said Rowe. “We’ve got a solid foundation with our results here and now it’s all about preparing for our next event. We’ve got some fine tuning to do and will continue to work towards a championship in Texas.”


DUAL ELEMENT + LATE MODEL = NO GO – Though it has been widely rumored that IHRA Director of Competition Mike Baker will partially rescind the ban on late model Pro Mods in ’08 if they utilize a dual element wing, Baker today confirmed otherwise. He adamantly stated there is no such rule amendment even in consideration.



DSA_3964.jpgEXTREME MAKEOVER (Gator Edition) – Terry McMillen will have a new look of the same theme for 2007 with his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car. The gator received a make-over.

"We spent this off season reworking our chassis and tweaking our engine combination," McMillen explained. "This is going to be a brand new ride and we wanted it to have a new look."

McMillen is sure the new look will attract more attention than ever.

"Everyone has always loved this car," he said. "This new look will turn more heads than ever before. The folks at GO Graphix did an outstanding job giving this gator fresh look."

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