With the 2004 season successfully completed with the conclusion of the Ninth Annual Bethesda Softworks World Finals, IHRA proudly announces its champions in the four professional categories and the final points standings for the year. The Funny Car championship came down to the wire with Rob Atchison holding off Mark Thomas, and the chase for the Pro Stock crown was taken home by John Nobile after he pulled away from a contingent of drivers. Clay Millican took home the Top Fuel championship and Mark Janis was named the Pro Modified champion.
Adding to the excitement at Rockingham Dragway were the three IHRA world records set over the course of the weekend.
The IHRA world records were set as a combination of weather and track conditions produced some very quick fields. Andrew Cowin set the Top Fuel record with a pass of 4.534 seconds. In Pro Modified, Al Billes set a new record with a pass of 6.102 seconds. John Nobile set the new Pro Stock record with a pass of 6.435 seconds.
In Top Fuel competition, Clay Millican took home his fourth consecutive crown, and put an exclamation point on the season by winning the event championship. It was the seventh straight time he has won at Rockingham. Millican said, "We have done really well at this racetrack. This place has been good to me. If (Rockingham owner) Steve Earwood had all the races here, I probably wouldn't be griping about it, that's for sure." Millican defeated Danny Dunn in the final for the event title.
In the hunt for the Pro Modified crown, Mike Janis had his second overall title wrapped up by the time he got to Rockingham. His first came in 2001. His closest challenger for the season championship came from Al Billes, who took the event Pro Modified title by beating Mike Castellana in the final.
In Funny Car, defending champ Rob Atchison took his second consecutive title by narrowly defeating rival and friend Mark Thomas. Of his rivalry with Thomas, Atchison said, "With Mark, I love to beat him. Don't get me wrong. He's a really good friend, but the plain and simple is that we are like little brother and big brother. And the little brother absolutely loves beating the big brother." Atchison was beat out for the event title by Fred Tigges in the final.
In Pro Stock, John Nobile took the crown, separating himself from a pack of challengers that included Brian Gahm, who took home the event title for the class by beating Nobile in the final, and Nobile's close friend John Montecalvo.