FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 7, 1998 Cheek consistent in narrow Pro Stock championship run BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Each season it seems to take just a little more to win the IHRA Snap-on Tools Pro Stock World Championship. In years past, the...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 1998
Cheek consistent in narrow Pro Stock championship run
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Each season it seems to take just a little more to win the IHRA Snap-on Tools Pro Stock World Championship. In years past, the champion wasn't decided until the last race. Again, in 1997, that proved to be the case.
Even after Chattanooga, Tenn.'s Floyd Cheek secured the crown after the second round of final eliminations during the Snap-on Finals, he was still rechecking the numbers.
It was that close.
"We thought we had won it the night before, but we miscalculated," Cheek said with a wide grin on his face. "Actually, Angelo (Alesci) had a long shot at winning if he would have set both ends of the record and won the race. It was unlikely, but not impossible. We didn't realize the numbers were that close."
That single scenario depicted the 1997 IHRA Pro Stock season perfectly. Several drivers, including Alesci, Richie Stevens, and Tim Nabors had all led the points chase at different times. When Cheek took over in early August after his CARQUEST Northern Nationals win at Michigan, he just tried to focus on going as many rounds as he could during the remaining races. He knew if he did that, he had a legitimate shot at his first Pro Stock title.
"We felt comfortable with our chances after Michigan," said Cheek, driver of the Alvin Whaley-owned Dynotech Ford Probe. "But it was real close. It seemed like everybody got better on reaction times, and their elapsed times got a lot quicker.
"It was tough to qualify, and really tough to win a race. The odds of winning an IHRA Pro Stock race are astronomical. Everything has to go right."
Cheek's luck was in the stars on two occasions during the year: at the aforementioned Michigan event and at Budds Creek, Md.'s Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals. Adding flair to his steady season was a new IHRA Pro Stock world speed record of 206.61 mph, set at Norwalk, Ohio's Prolong Super Lubricants / Ohio Lottery World Nationals.
In addition, he used reliable Jon Kaase horsepower to win his second- straight $20,000 Sunoco Pro Stock Showdown at Darlington's Snap-on Finals.
"This season has been a lifetime dream come true," said Cheek, also the 1988 IHRA Quick Rod World Champion. "We want to do it again now."
Cheek will officially accept his IHRA Pro Stock World Championship at the IHRA Championship Awards Banquet, to be held Jan. 17 at the historic Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C.