CREASY EYES ROCKINGHAM FOR NEXT IHRA WIN APRIL 20-22 Dale Creasy Jr. heads into the Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway April 20 -- 22 with something to prove: that he can win at the track dominated last season by Jack Wyatt. Creasy...
CREASY EYES ROCKINGHAM FOR NEXT IHRA WIN APRIL 20-22
Dale Creasy Jr. heads into the Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway April 20 -- 22 with something to prove: that he can win at the track dominated last season by Jack Wyatt.
Creasy Jr., of Beecher, Ill., was ultimately the victor of a season-long battle for the Knoll-Gas Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car world championship, edging Wyatt by a mere five points in the chase, the smallest margin of victory ever in IHRA racing. After winning the Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam™ Drag Racing Series season-opener in San Antonio two weeks ago, Creasy Jr. finds himself heading back to Rockingham, N.C., once again defending his points lead.
"We had a good showing at Rockingham last year during the World Finals," said Creasy Jr. "I think this season every race is going to be a little tougher because the competition is that much better.
"To me, all the races are the same no matter if we've won there before or lost, or whatever has happened in the past," he added. "We take it round-by-round and try to not ever get ahead of ourselves. In San Antonio we made the field on the last qualifying run, so we went from almost not being in the race to winning it.
Last season Creasy Jr. finished runner-up to Wyatt during the World Finals earning just enough points to win the championship. However, during Rockingham's Spring Nationals, Creasy Jr. dropped to Wyatt in the first round when a belt broke off the car during what seemed to be a winning run. Wyatt went on to win that race as well; he won both events held at Rockingham last year.
That one pass, despite being so early in the year and well before the driver realized he had a chance at the points lead, effected a major operational decision for the team's future.
"We change the belts more often now," said Creasy Jr. "We used to change them every three to five runs, but now we change them almost every-other run. I don't know if that would have changed anything at Rockingham last year, because it was only the second run on that belt, but you never know. Every team does it differently, some change the belts every run, some three or four runs. But after losing that race due to a belt that broke, a part that cost $240, that really changed my mind-set. It costs a bit more at the time, but in the long run, what you can gain is well worth it."
Creasy Jr. stresses the importance of never looking past a race.
"After last year, I realized every race is just as important as the last one. You always think there is another, but any of them could cost you the championship. And I know everyone will be coming after us because I'd be doing the same to them. There are a lot of good cars out there. It just takes time, but there are going to eight or ten great cars at every race. I said last year it is going to get better. A lot of people didn't have enough time to prepare in 2006, but a lot of cars have come back even stronger. The class is going to grow. IHRA is giving a lot of guys an opportunity they never had. It will be as competitive or more competitive as any race. We only have eight spots (to qualify for) so there is less room for error. Half of the cars in San Antonio could ran well enough to qualify anywhere."
In addition to Creasy Jr. and Wyatt, other competitors include Charlotte's Bob Gilbertson, Terry Haddock, Jon Capps and Paul Lee, to name a few.