Rockingham II: Series round ten preview

Biggest weekend of season on tap at Rockingham Dragway After eight months, nine races, seven states and two countries, the IHRA Nitro Jam series will wrap up the 2009 season with its biggest race of the year, the IHRA World Finals presented by...

Biggest weekend of season on tap at Rockingham Dragway

After eight months, nine races, seven states and two countries, the IHRA Nitro Jam series will wrap up the 2009 season with its biggest race of the year, the IHRA World Finals presented by the U.S. Air Force, October 22-25 at legendary Rockingham Dragway.

Never before has so much racing been crammed into one weekend as a dozen world champions will be crowned during a four-day stretch that will include four races, two shootouts and the highly popular "Night of Fire."

And that's not all.

After seven years of hosting the IHRA's annual fall classic, this year's World Finals will mark the final fall race at Rockingham Dragway as the series shifts its season finale to Virginia Motorsports Park in 2010. Rockingham Dragway will retain its spring date to remain the oldest race on the IHRA schedule.

Helping commemorate this historic event, this year's IHRA World Finals will go down as one of the biggest races in series history culminating with the crowning of world champions in each of the IHRA's professional and sportsman categories, Sunday, October 25th.

"After an incredible year of racing this is what it all comes down to," said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. "When the season began thousands of drivers across North America got behind the wheel with hopes of being crowned world champion at season's end. Later this month we are going to see a dozen different drivers have their dreams realized on the biggest stage in all of drag racing -- the legendary quarter-mile at Rockingham Dragway."

The world's best Top Fuel, Pro Modified and Pro Stock teams will be in attendance at the final race of the IHRA season, along with hundreds of the best sportsman competitors battling it out in the inaugural Tournament of Champions.

Beginning with the fastest machines in the land, the Top Fuel title chase has come down to two competitors -- Del Cox Jr. and Bruce Litton.

Litton had the car to beat during most of the season, but a pair of first-round losses combined with four consecutive victories by Cox has allowed the rookie to pull away to a 74-point margin entering the final race of the season.

The same scenario holds true in Pro Modified as nine consecutive final rounds have allowed Kenny Lang to nearly seal his second straight world championship.

Entering Rockingham Lang, who has won three national events in a row, has a comfortable 132-point lead over Ed Hoover. Hoover put up an incredible fight this season, winning twice and leading the points briefly at midseason, but he could not keep up with the near-record season enjoyed by Lang.

Without a doubt the most competitive class this season has been Elite Motorsports Pro Stock, which has three drivers in the running for a world championship at the World Finals.

John Montecalvo will take the points lead into Rockingham, overtaking Frank Gugliotta at the previous race after Gugliotta fell out in the first round. Montecalvo has a 33 point lead over his rival.

Gugliotta at one point this season looked to have the championship locked up, but two first-round exits in the last three races has allowed the field to play catch up.

Also in the mix is two-time champion Pete Berner, who is a mere 63 points behind the leader.

In sportsman competition over 200 cars from seven classes will be placed on a ladder in their respective categories in the inaugural Tournament of Champions. The winner of each tournament will be crowned world champion on Sunday.

The field will consist of the best-of-the-best in sportsman racing today with national event winners, Summit Pro-Am champions and Summit Allstars champions earning a spot into the exclusive tournament.

On top of Sunday's championship finals, the IHRA World Finals will also feature the return of the 20,000 horsepower jet semi driven by the "King of Quake" Bob Motz, the $40,000 Elite 8 Pro Stock Shootout, the Summit Allstars Race, the Summit SuperSeries Championship run-offs, the $10,000 Mickey Thompson Pro Modified Ten Grand Slam event, the thrilling Saturday "Night of Fire," and much more.

After being rained out at the last national event the Elite 8 Pro Stock Shootout was moved to the World Finals, giving the biggest race of the year an added bonus. Eight of the best Pro Stock drivers in the world will be placed on a ladder with the winner taking home their share of a $40,000 purse.

Pro Modified drivers will also be represented with a shootout on Saturday night with the Mickey Thompson Ten Grand Slam. Of the top eight drivers in points, two will be randomly drawn and will face off in a winner-takes-all shootout for $10,000 during the "Night of Fire."

The World Finals will also feature the second Summit Allstars race of the season as the best sportsman drivers in the country compete for an automatic bid and the first spot on next year's Tournament of Champions ladder.

And all of this will be preceded by the final Tournament of Champions qualifier of the season, the Champion System Sportsman Nationals presented by VP Thursday and Friday afternoon.

Racing will get underway Thursday, October 22nd with time runs for the Champion System Sportsman Nationals followed by eliminations Friday afternoon.

Professional qualifying will kick off Friday, October 23rd capped by the spectacular "Night of Fire" show Saturday, October 24th.

Final eliminations for all categories, including the inaugural Tournament of Champions, will get underway Sunday, October 25th.

Tickets start at just $25 and gates open at 8 a.m. daily. For more information log-on to www.nitrojam.com, www.rockinghamdragway.com or call 910-582-3400.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bob Motz , Bruce Litton , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Kenny Lang , Frank Gugliotta