Grand Bend: Pro Stock preview

Pro Stock Points Chase Heating Up Mopar Canadian Nationals will separate those who have a shot at the 2008 championship from those who will look to build for 2009 Norwalk, Ohio (July 10, 2008) -- As usual, the battle at the top of the Torco...

Pro Stock Points Chase Heating Up
Mopar Canadian Nationals will separate those who have a shot at the 2008 championship from those who will look to build for 2009

Norwalk, Ohio (July 10, 2008) -- As usual, the battle at the top of the Torco Pro Stock points standings is extremely tight, which is why the Mopar Canadian Nationals will be critical as a number of teams will look to cut the distance between themselves and current points leader Jeff Dobbins.

Just 109 points separate Bob Bertsch, currently in sixth position in the standings, from Dobbins at the top of the heap. There are four drivers in between them. Chances are, at the end of the year, the 2008 World Champion will be one of those six drivers, which is why the race at Grand Bend Motorplex is so critical.

Dobbins, a two-time winner this season, leads the pack with 327 points. IHRA Spring Nationals champion Elijah Morton is second with 300 points. Frank Gugliotta, the winner in Milan, is second with 300 points. John Montecalvo, the San Antonio winner, is fourth with 284 points while Pete Berner is fifth with 239. Bob Bertsch rounds out the top six contenders with 218 points, but his standing is better than it may appear as he is the only driver eligible for the 41 bonus points for attending every race.

Dobbins knows the Mopar Canadian Nationals will be pivotal if he hopes to keep the points lead.

"From here on out every race is very important," he said. "And it starts in Grand Bend. We only have five races left so if someone gets three or four rounds out on you there isn't that much time to make it up. Right now every round is crucial."

Defending World Champion Pete Berner, 86 points behind Dobbins, expects the entire field to step it up.

"We're at the half-way point of the season," Berner said, "These last five races coming up will show some intense competition in Pro Stock. Any of the guys are capable of winning a championship and many of them have already done so. The Pro Stock class has always been home of some of the toughest competition and closest racing in the sport. I'm excited to see that play out through the rest of the season."

This season has played out in typical fashion in the Pro Stock class. Usually five or six drivers distance themselves from the rest of the pack, then slug it out down the stretch to determine the championship. In years past Dobbins was one of the drivers on the outside, looking in. This season he has put himself in the middle of everything...but it did not happen overnight.

Last season Dobbins finished 14th in the points standings, but captured the Ironman at the World Finals in Rockingham while building for the 2008 season.

"We kept working and progressing to get the car fast," Dobbins said. "It takes two or three years of hard work to get your program to progress, then it starts showing."

The Mopar Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol will take place July 18-20 at Grand Bend Motorplex.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Frank Gugliotta