Creasy Cruises to First Win in 2008 Bobby Lagana (Top Fuel), Laurie Cannister (Alcohol Funny Car), Mike Castellana (Pro Modified) and Frank Gugliotta (Pro Stock) also claim Ironmen at IHRA President's Cup Nationals Mechanicsville, Md. (June...
Creasy Cruises to First Win in 2008
Bobby Lagana (Top Fuel), Laurie Cannister (Alcohol Funny Car), Mike Castellana (Pro Modified) and Frank Gugliotta (Pro Stock) also claim Ironmen at IHRA President's Cup Nationals
Mechanicsville, Md. (June 15, 2008) -- Last season Dale Creasy Jr. was a regular visitor to the winner's circle at IHRA Nitro Jam events. He won six times during the 2007 season in easily cruising to his second consecutive world championship.
This season things have not come quite as easily for the Beecher, Ill. resident. Through three national events heading into the President's Cup Nationals, Creasy had failed to find his way through the field and into the winner's circle. That all changed when he knocked off Todd Simpson in the final round to claim the Ironman at Maryland International Raceway.
"Today was a day we have been looking for," Creasy said. "This morning I was wondering if this was going to be a 'go fast' kind of race track or if it was going to be tricky. Either way we thought we had something for everyone else. It worked out well. We have a tune-up we run at Grand Bend for a hot race track that we've been working on for two years. All the tracks are good until it gets this hot. You can't do anything with a 140-degree race track."
Creasy's '08 Impala was the strongest car all weekend. He qualified on top of the qualifying sheet before marching through the rounds of eliminations. He defeated Mike Smith in the first round when Smith rolled through the beams and posted a -.217 red-light. Creasy then knocked off Andy Kelley in the semifinals with a 5.118/293.73 pass to Kelley's 5.323/280.14. He then marched past Todd Simpson in the final round, posting a 5.080 at 294.95 mph while Simpson shook the tires in the other lane.
"I told my guys before the race that we aren't doing badly this year, we're just not doing what we did last year," Creasy said. "But that was a season where if you would have written it down before-hand no one would have believed it. Everyone is getting tougher in this class and we had to adjust to it. Today we were the best car out there."
Bobby Lagana Jr. (Scarsdale, N.Y.) also found the winner's circle for the first time this season, defeating defending World Champion Bruce Litton to take home the Torco Pro Nitro Top Fuel Ironman at MIR. The victory was Lagana's fourth career national event win.
The win was special for Lagana because his father, Bobby Sr., was at MIR with him and his brother Domenick was tuning his car for the first time. Lagana clocked a 4.869/306.40 pass in the final to top Litton's 4.998/225.82.
"I have absolutely the best deal in life," Lagana said. "My family is great, I have an awesome girlfriend, my brother is unbelievable. Dom is the most incredible person in my entire life. I told him he was tuning the car this weekend and we never missed a beat. I have everything I could possibly want."
Mike Castellana proved the nitrous Pro Modifieds are back with a vengeance. Castellana knocked off Ed Hoover in the final round by clocking a 6.097 at 238.93 mph. Earlier in the weekend he posted the fastest speed by a nitrous Pro Modified car in IHRA history, posting a 239.14 mph pass.
"We really had a handle on this car all weekend," Castellana said. "Shannon Jenkins and SpeedTech Nitrous Systems really gave me a great car. My son was here with me, so this was a great Father's Day present."
Castellana knocked off Pat Stoken, Kenny Lang and Mike Janis to reach the finals.
"This class is very strong," he said. "It doesn't matter what round and where someone qualifies. Anyone can win when Sunday rolls around."
Laurie Cannister (Johnstown, Ohio) continued her dominance in the Alcohol Funny Car class, winning for the third time in four national events. Cannister defeated Paul Noakes in the final round at Maryland International Raceway. Cannister won at MIR last season as well.
"Two for two here. It's great we were able to start here, then come back to prove this wasn't a fluke," Cannister said. "The whole crew was great this weekend. We didn't have any trouble with the track being hot or greasy, we seemed to have a handle on it. I know a lot of other teams had a tough time with the track but we just hung in there and did what we know how to do."
Frank Gugliotta (Mt. Airy, Md.) was able to find the winner's circle for the first time this year, defeating Jason Collins in the Torco Pro Stock final. The win was special for Gugliotta because it came at his home track.
"It feels great to win at home," Gugliotta said. "I've been trying to win in Pro Stock here for a long time. I won in Top Sportsman here before, but winning one in Pro Stock has just eluded me. I've runnered-up but it seemed like I could never seal the deal. And I am really happy I could get a win for Bob Yoak. He was the first one to ever put me in a Pro Stock car and I really wanted to win him one. I finally did."