2008 Championship Races Heating Up as IHRA Heads to Budds Creek June 13-15 "Make or break" race at Maryland International Raceway as season closes in on halfway point
Norwalk, Ohio (June 5, 2008) - With three races in the book heading into Maryland International Raceway, the 2008 IHRA championship points chases are starting to take shape. One thing is for sure, this season's Torco President's Cup Nationals will force each and every race team to swing for the fences if they want to be players in this season's title hunt.
The President's Cup Nationals have typically taken place later in the season, usually in the cool fall September air. This season things will be different as the crew chiefs will have to figure out the exceptional racing surface at Maryland International Raceway in the June summer heat. With five professional Ironmen up for grabs the fans in Budds Creek will witness the top race teams the sport has to offer performing at the top of their game.
Spencer Massey (Fort Worth, Tex.) took the Torco Pro Nitro Top Fuel class by storm this season, winning the first two national events to take the early-season points lead. Defending world champion Bruce Litton (Indianapolis, Ind.) lost to Massey at the first two events, but got his redemption at the Motor City Nationals in Milan, Mich. Litton topped Massey in the semifinals at Milan Dragway en route to his first national event victory of the season and moved to within 17 points of the points lead.
Litton knows Massey will not be his only tough competition in Maryland.
"He's a good kid who's beat up on me, but that's a good team they have over there,' Litton said. "But there are a lot of good teams out there and the season's just getting started. So we have to watch what we do out there every round because any one of the eight cars that qualify can win the race." The Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car points chase is wide open, with four drivers within 57 points of current leader Paul Lee (Wynnewood, Penn.). Lee claimed the points lead with a victory at Milan Dragway, but in three races three different drivers have found the Nitro Funny Car winner's circle this season. Steven Macklyn (Salt Lake City, Utah) captured the Ironman in San Antonio while Matt Hagan (Christiansburg, Virg.) took the title at the IHRA Spring Nationals. Lee knows the Nitro Funny Car class is wide open this season.
"IHRA has a fantastic program right now," he said. "You look at Top Fuel and look at Nitro Funny Car.there are competitive racers from top to bottom. There are good, quality cars in all eight positions in the field and anyone can win these races. It's a great program they have, probably the best it's been in many years. And it's just going to get better."
IHRA's Torco Pro Modified class has always been a battle between classic supercharged and nitrous-assisted doorslammers. This season has seen epic performances from Pat Stoken (Eureka, Mont.) and Mike Castellana (Westbury, N.Y.) in the nitrous ranks and a dominant Kenny Lang (Grande Pointe, Mtb.) on the supercharged side.
Lang claimed the points lead with strong showings at the IHRA Spring Nationals in Rockingham and the Motor City Nationals at Milan Dragway, where he captured both event titles and put his '53 Corvette on top of the qualifying sheet. Stoken and Castellana set the Pro Mod world on its ear with some huge numbers in Milan.a 6.052/236.96 mph pass for Castellana before Stoken one-upped him with a 6.022/237.13 in the first round of eliminations.
"That was something," Stoken said of his quickest and fastest NOS run in drag racing history. "I'm shooting to get into the fives.maybe in Maryland."
While the nitrous Pro Mod drivers are shooting for the five-second range, Alcohol Funny Car driver Tom Carter (Cuero, Tex.) has a different number on his mind.250 miles per hour. Carter shattered Rob Atchison's two-year-old world speed record at the Motor City Nationals, shooting through the traps at 249.30 mph to establish a new standard. In Milan he also became the first driver to knock off Laurie Cannister in a competitive round this season. Cannister (Johnstown, Ohio) holds a sizable points lead heading into Budds Creek, 108 points clear of Carter in the 2008 points standings, but with plenty of racing left on the schedule there are plenty of points left on the table.
The 2008 Torco Pro Stock class is off to its typical chaotic start. Three races, three different winners and three different drivers within a couple of rounds of points leader and Motor City Nationals champion Jeff Dobbins (Wilmington, N.C.). John Montecalvo (Center Moriches, N.Y.) went to the first two final rounds of the season, winning in San Antonio, and currently sits in second place.just 15 points behind Dobbins. Elijah Morton (Jacksonville, N.C.) won in Rockingham and is 26 points out while Milan runner-up Pete Berner sits fourth with 211 points.
The Torco President's Cup Nationals will begin Friday, June 13 with professional and sportsman qualifying starting at 9:00am. Saturday will feature two Nitro qualifying sessions and IHRA's legendary "Night of Fire" featuring Pepe Sanchez' legendary jet semi truck. Final eliminations will be held Sunday, June 15. For more information visit www.nitrojam.com or www.mirdrag.com.
Torco Racing Fuels President's Cup Nationals Fact Sheet
WHAT: Torco Racing Fuels President's Cup Nationals, the fourth of 11 s event on the $21.5 million IHRA Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Serie s
WHERE: Maryland International Raceway Budds Creek, Md.
WHEN: Friday - Sunday, June 13 - 15, 2008
The stars of the Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam Series, including 2007 Knoll-Gas Torco Racing Fuels Pro Top Fuel dragsters with world champion Bruce Litton, 2008 points leader Spencer Massey, Bobby Lagana Jr., Kevin Jones, Mike Strasburg and 50-year Top Fuel legend Chris Karamesines.
Fans will experience the power of 320 mph Knoll Gas - Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Cars, featuring two-time defending world champion Dale Creasy Jr., 2008 points leader Matt Hagan, Bob Gilbertson, Jack Wyatt and Terry Haddock
Defending World champion Scott Cannon Jr., former world champions Mike Janis and Quain Stott, in nitrous vs. supercharged Torco Pro Modified
Seven-time and defending world champion Mark Thomas, Laurie Cannister, Rob Atchison, Dr. Tom Carter and Paul Noakes in Alcohol Funny Car
The world's fastest and quickest Pro Stockers, featuring IHRA's version of NASCAR, the 220 mph factory hot rods of world champion Robert Patrick Jr., former world champions Pete Berner and Brian Gahm
WHAT'S AT STAKE:
In addition to the individual class purses up for grabs, drivers will be competing for points with the ultimate goal of being crowned world champion at season's end. Each class champion receives: Top Fuel - $150,000, Nitro Funny Car - $150,000, Pro Modified - $50,000, Alcohol Funny Car - $35,000 and Pro Stock - $35,000
TICKETS: AFFORDABLE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
Order Tickets Now @ Maryland International Raceway: www.nitrojam.com, www.mirdrag.com, or call (301) 884-RACE
General Admission prices, single-day ticket
* Adult: $35
* Junior (6-12 years old): $5
* Child (under 6): Free Adults save $5 on general admission tickets when you purchase your ticket before June 9th
General Admission Weekend Pass prices - 3-day general admission pass (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
* Adult: $75
* Junior: $15 Order your 3 day general admission tickets before June 9th and get a free Saturday reserved seat.
Reserve Seat prices - limited amount
* $10 upgrade on Saturday general admission tickets
* Adult: $45
* Junior (6-12 years old): $15
* Child (under 6): $10
ALL TICKETS INCLUDE A FREE PIT PASS AS IHRA OPENS ITS LOCKER ROOM TO THE PUBLIC