Two World Champions Emerge in Maryland Millican, Castellana clinch 2005 titles at Torco President's Cup Nationals The job at hand was very simple for both Clay Millican and Mike Castellana.go a couple of rounds in Budds Creek and clinch IHRA...
Two World Champions Emerge in Maryland
Millican, Castellana clinch 2005 titles at Torco President's Cup Nationals
The job at hand was very simple for both Clay Millican and Mike Castellana.go a couple of rounds in Budds Creek and clinch IHRA World Championships. The Ironmen they took home as well, just a couple of bonuses.
Millican (Drummonds, Tenn.) clinched his fifth consecutive IHRA Top Fuel World Championship when he was able to advance to the final at the President's Cup. Heading into the race he held a 193-point lead over second-place Doug Foley, and only had to put a pair of round victories in the books to close the mathematical door on Foley this season. Actually, when Foley (Sewell, N.J.) lost a pedal-fest in the semifinals to Bobby Lagana, Jr., Millican clinched the title.
Castellana ended the Torco Pro Modified points race when teammate Shannon Jenkins (who was second 79 points behind) and Carl Spiering (third 104 points behind) lost in the first round of eliminations. The '05 title is Castellana's first career World Championship.
Millican and Castellana joined Torco Pro Stock driver Steve Spiess, who clinched the World Championship in Epping, N.H. two weeks ago, in the IHRA record books.
"That was the goal, obviously, at the start of the year.to win the championship," Millican said. "The thing is, it takes a full year of work to do it and get it done early before going into Rockingham. I keep hearing the announcer, A.P. (Aaron Polburn) talking about how we're struggling. And I'm thinking I haven't really run that bad.yeah, we flipped over but after that we've been doing alright. I think we won Norwalk, I think we went 4.60 in Toronto which is the track record.anyway, all that aside. We haven't run as quick as we have, but Mike Kloeber took a new approach to how he was running the car and it is absolutely coming together."
Millican was able to defeat Lagana (Scarsdale, N.Y.) with a 4.702/312.06. Lagana posted a 4.816 at a career-best 317.57 mph.
"It's amazing what that team can do with what it has," Millican said about Lagana's low-budget Twilight Zone team. "We have a huge trailer with all kinds of equipment and they have a little trailer with just a car in it. But they are amazing and they're getting closer."
Castellana was able to win his fourth Torco Pro Mod Ironman of the season when Mike Stawicki broke and could not finish his pass in the final.
"This was a great weekend for us and it really says a lot about the crew," Castellana said. "They have been awesome this year, getting this car ready. We've had good times and bad times this year, but we'd always been able to pull through, get things together and get this car down the track."
Castellana and his crew got the car down the track Saturday night when it was most needed. After the first two Torco Pro Mod qualifying sessions, Castellana was on the outside of the field. He had to put a good number on the board to even be able to compete. He got the job done, vaulting into the #3 qualifying spot.
"That was the most pressure I have ever felt during my racing career," Castellana said of his Saturday evening run. "I was definitely nervous. We made some changes to the car, when the car tells you what it needs, you have to respond to it."
Jim Sickles (Caledonia, N.Y.) made things very interesting in the IHRA Funny Car World Championship points race with his victory in Budds Creek. Sickles entered the event trailing Rob Atchison by 66 points.he left Maryland trailing by just five. Sickles defeated Chris Foster in the final when Foster lit the red-light.
"We have ourselves a race right down to the wire," Sickles said. "We're hoping we can do the same thing in Rockingham now. We have a great race team and a great sponsor. Here we are, we've been consistent and that's what it takes."
Brian Gahm, who has struggled through most of the '05 season, took home the Torco Pro Stock Ironman when Spiess was unable to fire his car for the final. Gahm (Lucasville, Oh.) took the solo pass to secure the victory.
"You hate to win that way, but this is a big relief," Gahm said. "It just goes to show what kind of guys I have helping me. They never give up. We've struggled, but I think we're back on track. Our performance has turned 180 degrees."