Budds Creek: Series spotlight - Del Cox Jr

Cox goes for four-peat this weekend BUDDS CREEK - Call it luck, call it a driver taking out his frustration, call it the sum of a crafty tuner and dedicated owner coming together with a talented driver -- call it whatever you want -- but the...

Cox goes for four-peat this weekend

BUDDS CREEK - Call it luck, call it a driver taking out his frustration, call it the sum of a crafty tuner and dedicated owner coming together with a talented driver -- call it whatever you want -- but the reality is that Del Cox Jr. is having one heck of a season.

Cox, who just got his Top Fuel license at the beginning of the year, has become more and more comfortable behind the wheel of his 8,000 horsepower rail as the season has progressed leading to three consecutive victories entering this weekend's IHRA President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, Md.

After winning once in his first five tries, an impressive victory over Bruce Litton at the Spring Nationals in April, Cox has since fired off three straight wins at Grand Bend, Martin and Epping on his way to taking over the Top Fuel points lead with just two races remaining.

Now Cox sits just six rounds away from being crowned Top Fuel champion in only his first year on the tour.

But it won't be easy.

Right on his heels is 2007 champ Bruce Litton who is a mere 24 points behind the rookie. Litton also has the experience of a decade at the reigns of the Lucas Oil dragster and has been the model of consistency this season with five final rounds and two wins to his credit through eight races.

Despite that consistency, however, it is Cox who is in the lead and it is Cox who holds the momentum as the two go head-to-head over the final two events to decide the 2009 Top Fuel championship.

So what sparked Cox's sudden streak?

Just ask his owner.

Through the first four races of the season Cox won at least one round of competition in each of those events including winning the Spring Nationals, keeping him right in the thick of the Top Fuel title chase. But in early July at the River Cree Resort and Casino Rocky Mountain Nationals at Castrol Raceway something happened that hadn't happened before.

He got beat.

And Cox didn't just get beat, he lost to team owner Mitch King who knocked him out in the first round on his way to his first career final round.

With Cox out Litton went on to win the race, extending his points lead to a season high 74- markers at the midway point of the season.

Clearly upset over his first opening round loss of the season, Cox vowed that he wouldn't let it happen again and that he would put himself back into contention starting with the very next race in Grand Bend, Ontario.

And did he ever live up to his promise.

Cox rolled through the field that afternoon including a fitting victory over Litton in the final to pick up his second career victory and starting a streak that has left the rest of the field in the dust. Since then Cox hasn't lost a round on his way to three victories and nine consecutive round wins dating back to mid-July.

Now it all comes down to Cox and Litton once again this weekend as the two square off at Maryland International Raceway at the annual President's Cup Nationals for an Ironman and a chance to be called Top Fuel World Champion at seasons end.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Mitch King