Richmond final summary

Millican Wins 33rd at ACDelco Nationals Thomas Still Perfect in Funny Car RICHMOND, Va. (May 30, 2004) - Clay Millican kept his perfect season alive defeating Bruce Litton during the Top Fuel final round at the 4th annual ACDelco Nationals ...

Millican Wins 33rd at ACDelco Nationals
Thomas Still Perfect in Funny Car

RICHMOND, Va. (May 30, 2004) - Clay Millican kept his perfect season alive defeating Bruce Litton during the Top Fuel final round at the 4th annual ACDelco Nationals presented by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Millican, of Drummonds, Tenn., ran the quarter-mile in 4.647 seconds at 315.56 mph to win his 33rd career event and increase his points lead in the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series.

Mike Castellana, Westbury, N.Y., Pro Modified; Mark Thomas, Louisville, Ohio, Funny Car; and Brian Gahm, Lucasville, Ohio, Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock were winners in their respective categories.

Millican began the day qualified No. 1 and defeated first round opponent Grant Flowers with a track record 4.590, 316.52 pass. He then faced 19-year-old Josh Starcher, who had a slight starting line advantage. Millican overcame that advantage with a quicker pass, 4.633, and advanced to the final round against Bruce Litton.

"I have some great guys who work on this car and make it so easy for me to do my job," said Millican. "We struggled during qualifying, but once we figured out the track and this Werner dragster, we felt good about putting it in the winner's circle.

"Bruce is always a tough competitor and we take every round with him very seriously."

Litton, qualified third, had two uncontested rounds to make it to the final against Millican. Neither Bobby Lagana, Jr. nor Chris Karamesines could make the call to race.

In Pro Modified, Castellana had an uncontested first round when Harold Martin performed his burnout and was unable to make the run. Castellana defeated Quain Stott with a 6.233 ET to face Zach Barklage in the semifinal. Nineteen-year-old Barklage took out Pro Modified veteran Ed Hoover in round one and used an event top speed 231.87 mph to defeat No. 3 qualifier Jim Halsey in round two. In the semifinal, Castellana used a reaction time advantage and 6.639 ET to defeat Barklage and face Steve Vick in the final. Castellana nailed Vick off the starting line, then ran a 6.287 to take the win.

"Consistency has made the difference for us all weekend," said Castellana. "Every lap we made today was good. We had a good set up on the car and I had a good handle on things at the line.

"We had to swap motors out after first round, and that had me a little worried, but with Shannon Jenkins (crew chief and former world champion) and my crew behind me, I felt we had what it would take to win," added Castellana.

No. 1 qualifier Von Smith defeated defending world champion Mitch Stott in round one and went on to face Vick in round two. Vick, who defeated Steve Cossis in round one, took out Smith with a 6.478 and advanced to face Steve Salvadore in the semifinals. Vick had an uncontested run to advance to the final round against Castellana.

Funny Car points leader Thomas defeated each of his opponents today with a starting line advantage. He defeated a quicker Bunny Burkett in round one and a quicker Jeff Burnett in round two. He then had an uncontested semifinal round and heading into the final, he hadn't made a pass better than 5.909 seconds.

"We had to rebuild the engine before the semifinal round," said Thomas. "Then we didn't make a full pass because (Neal) Parker couldn't make the call. So heading into the final, it was basically a brand new motor. But I still had confidence in it."

Thomas met defending world champion Rob Atchison in the final. Atchison entered the day No. 1 qualifier, and took out Philip Hooper, Terry McMillen and Ronnie Midyette on his way to the final. Atchison had the quickest car of the weekend, and in the final round it was no different, running a 5.878 to Thomas' 5.896. However, Thomas, a five-time world champion, again used a starting line advantage to defeat Atchison.

"I took all winter to think about how I was going to drive this car," added Thomas. "How I was going to get off the line. And even with the new engine, I had confidence in my guys and my car in the final round, which allowed me to cut a good light.

"I've never dreamed of winning the first three races of the season."

Two-time defending Sunoco Pro Stock world champion Gahm entered this weekend after not qualifying at the last the Hooters IHRA event. Going into the final qualifying session here, Gahm was the 31st car of a 16-car qualified field. He rose to the occasion and qualified No. 5. He then took out Jason Collins and Elijah Morton to face a tough John Nobile. After setting the speed world record Saturday night, Nobile set the ET world record in round one Sunday with a 6.473. Ironically, that record was formerly held by Gahm, who in the semifinal round, took out Nobile. Gahm defeated Pete Berner in the final with a 6.565, starting line advantage victory for his first win of the season.

"All and all, it was just a great weekend," said Gahm. "I have to thank my crew.

"We were kind of behind the eight-ball. Not qualifying at Rockingham (Dragway), and then almost not qualifying here but winning the event; it's a big deal for this team."

Berner advanced to the finals defeating Mike Bell in round one, Rick Jones in round two, and Robert Patrick in round three with a 6.548 ET.

John Montecalvo, points leader heading into the event, lost to Frank Gugliotta in round one.

The next event on the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series is the 5th annual Mopar Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol at Grand Bend Motorplex, Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada, June 11 - 13.

-ihra-

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About this article
Series Drag
Drivers Bunny Burkett , Mark Thomas , Clay Millican , Bruce Litton , John Nobile , Robert Patrick , Quain Stott , Chris Karamesines , John Montecalvo , Philip Hooper , Zach Barklage , Von Smith , Josh Starcher , Harold Martin , Jim Halsey , Mike Bell , Tim Richmond , Frank Gugliotta , Terry McMillen