Spiess Claims $20k in Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown Budds Creek, Md. here aren't many titles that Steve Spiess hasn't accumulated in this season of dreams, and he was sure not to let the title of Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown ...
Spiess Claims $20k in Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown
Budds Creek, Md. here aren't many titles that Steve Spiess hasn't accumulated in this season of dreams, and he was sure not to let the title of Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown Champion escape him either. Spiess earned a cool $20,000 in extra spending money when he defeated fellow Illinois racer, Tony Gillig in the final round of the showdown.
"We definitely wanted the win tonight, besides it is twice the money from an event win, this is something I've never conquered and it is a stepping stone among all of the accomplishments we have had already this year."
Spiess, the unofficial Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock World Champion, has seen his fair share of final rounds during the 2006 season, but the pressure associated with the finals of the showdown did not affect the newly crowned champion.
"I was cool as a cucumber most of the day today," Spiess admitted. "Sure I wanted to win; and we went out there and did it. I ran a 6.40 every time I went out there today; the car was running like a bracket car."
In order to qualify, Spiess grabbed six No. 1 qualifying spots along the way, which helped him to earn the No. 1 seed in the Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown. The pairing had him running the No. 8 qualifier, John Montecalvo in round one.
Without question, Montecalvo headed into the round knowing that he did not have horsepower that would rival that of Spiess. Montecalvo made a valiant effort off the starting line by earning a .011 light to Spiess' .066, but it wasn't enough to sustain the lead. Spiess capitalized on the power difference and scored the win with a 6.406,216.97 run.
In a symbolic passing of the torch, Spiess was paired with 2004 Pro Stock World Champion, John Nobile in the semi-finals. Nobile was prepared to fight until the end for his chance to go to the finals in the showdown, but Spiess had different plans. Despite Nobile's better light (.056 to a .069), Spiess was able to fall back on the muscle that has powered him throughout the season and record a 6.403,215.86 run, which overshadowed Nobile's 6.474,215.31 pass.
On the opposite side of the ladder, Tony Gillig was busy knocking down the giants that stood before him. Entering the showdown in the No. 7 spot, he was the underdog in every round leading up to the finals. But Gillig had upset written all over his day, as his first opponent was No. 2 qualifier Robert Patrick.
Patrick took the lead off the starting line with a .056 light to Gillig's .089, but it was apparent by the '60 foot mark that Patrick's day was over, as he was saddled by tire shake and nearly crossed the center line. Gillig remained under full power and pushed through the finish line with a 6.438,214.89 run.
Gillig wasn't through slaying giants however, as he had the daunting challenge of facing former showdown winner, Frank Gugliotta in the semi-finals. It was all about the starting line as Gillig left first with a.061 light to Gugliotta's .086 effort. Gillig fought his way to the finish line and as a reward, received the win light on a holeshot win over Gugliotta. Gillig's 6.448,215.27 was enough to advance to the final round over Gugliotta's 6.424,217.91.
Heading into the final round, Gillig knew that he had to be sharp on the line in order to have a shot at Spiess. Gillig left the line first with a .064 light to a .082 posted by Spiess. However, the "Spiesshuttle" had more power than Gillig could handle, and in a classic battle of Ford vs. Chevy, it was evident that this one had Chevy written all over it. Spiess claimed the win and the paycheck with a 6.406,216.17 run over Gillig's valiant 6.453,215.17 pass. Gillig earned an extra $9,000 for his run at the showdown title. 5
"Every round today I didn't have that 'I'm going to kill them' winning attitude and confidence. I just went out there and did it and got lucky," Spiess added.
Known for wearing his Speed Racer lucky t-shirt every Sunday, Spiess admitted he may have found a new lucky charm.
"They told me I had to wear this red shirt today, and now I just might have to wear it tomorrow. It stinks a little bit but it worked today."
As for his $20,000 check from Torco Race Fuels, Spiess already has big plans for the money.
"It will go right back into Spiess Racing. We've got some plans for next year and it is pretty much already spent."
Aside from Spiess' new title of 2005 Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown Champion, the rest of the Pro Stock field had the opportunity to begin earning points towards the 2006 showdown.
Leading the way into next year's battle is semi-finalist Frank Gugliotta. A 6.403,218.51 run during the final round of qualifying earned the Maryland native the No. 1 qualifying spot.
"I think my biggest disappointment is that I'm not No. 1 qualifier," Spiess laughed.
Final round-by-round results from the 2005 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series, Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown at Maryland International Raceway:
John Nobile, Ford ZX-2, 6.474, 214.72
def. Pete Berner, Ford Mustang, 6.479, 214.04
Frank Gugliotta, Ford Escort, 6.473, 217.98
def. Rick Jones, Chevy Cobalt, 6.481, 215.72
Tony Gillig, Mustang, 6.438, 214.89
def. Robert Patrick, Ford Cobra, 10.435, 85.31
Steve Spiess, Cobalt, 6.406, 216.97
def. John Montecalvo, Cobalt, 6.581, 209.46
Gillig, 6.448, 215.27
def. Gugliotta, 6.424, 217.91
Spiess, 6.403, 215.86
def. Nobile, 6.474, 215.31
Spiess, 6.406, 216.17
def. Gillig, 6.453, 215.17.