</pre> Norwalk, OH - Leaving Canada after the Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals in early June, John Montecalvo was the Sunoco Racing Fuels Pro Stock points leader. Looking back, getting the lead had been tough enough in this highly competitive...
</pre> Norwalk, OH - Leaving Canada after the Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals in early June, John Montecalvo was the Sunoco Racing Fuels Pro Stock points leader. Looking back, getting the lead had been tough enough in this highly competitive class, but holding it would prove to be a bigger challenge yet for the Center Moriches, NY driver.
"This was awesome," smiled Montecalvo in a post-race interview. "I owe it all to Steven Cultrera and my crew. They work great together and I know that I am truly blessed to have them as part of my operation. This was a good day for the Citgo team, we had an objective coming into this race and that was to win. We did that and everything seemed to fall into place."
The next event was the Amalie Oil Summer Nationals in Cordova, IL, where a quarter-final loss dropped Montecalvo back to third spot. Re-grouping, John was determined to put on a good show for his home-state fans at the Empire Nationals at Leicester, NY. He managed a runner-up finish, and moved up into the second spot in the points, just 33 behind Ron Miller.
With the points lead within sight, Montecalvo lost his chance to climb the ladder when he miss-stepped at the CARQUEST Northern Nationals at Mid-Michigan, the victim of a rare first round put-out. Montecalvo was not pleased by this outcome whatsoever. Last year's third place finisher wanted his top spot back, and he set his sights on taking it back at the biggest race on the IHRA schedule, the Mopar Parts World Nationals at Norwalk Raceway Park.
Montecalvo's Citgo-sponsored Monte Carlo showed plenty of power all weekend, qualifying fourth with a mark of 6.718/206.80. When the elimination rounds got under way, there were no gremlins to get in his way this time. Montecalvo neatly dispatched Jason Collins, Gene Wilson, and most importantly, points leader Ron Miller, to make it to the finals for the fourth time in 2000. His opponent in the all-Monte Carlo final was the #11 qualifier Wally Stroupe. Montecalvo was determined not to let this one slip away, and he welded Stroupe to the tree, cutting a sensational .408 light and driving away with the win, and the points lead, in his pocket.
Now that he's fought his way back to the top, watch for Montecalvo to guard his position for all he's worth. The race to the championship his just four rounds to go, and everybody will be taking shots at dislodging John from his place at the head of the class. The run to the final standings in Sunoco Racing Fuels Pro Stock should be awesome to watch down the stretch this year. And John Montecalvo hopes to be watching it all in his rear-view mirror.