Rockingham season finale preview

Millican, Castellana, Spiess all Have Championships Wrapped Up; Funny Car Goes Down to the Wire for Second Consecutive Year at Rockingham Dragway All but one race remains on the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series 2005 schedule. IHRA returns to...

Millican, Castellana, Spiess all Have Championships Wrapped Up; Funny Car Goes Down to the Wire for Second Consecutive Year at Rockingham Dragway

All but one race remains on the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series 2005 schedule. IHRA returns to storied Rockingham Dragway for the 10th Annual IHRA World Finals October 7-9 and there is more than just pride at stake. While Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Mike Castellana (Torco Pro Modified), and Steve Spiess (Torco Pro Stock) have been all but handed their championships, the Funny Car race is going down to the wire for the second consecutive season with Rob Atchison leading Jim Sickles by five points heading into the Rock.

Clay Millican has wrapped up his fifth consecutive Top Fuel World Championship with his eighth victory of the season at Maryland International Raceway this past weekend. Millican, from Drummonds, Tenn. won a thrilling side by side final against surprise runner-up Bobby Lagana. Lagana, from Scarsdale, N.Y., did everything humanly possible to pull off the upset, but the Werner team proved too strong. Doug Foley, from Sewell, N.J. came on in the second half of the season and tried his best to chase down Millican, but the distance was too great, and remains in second place. Millican is trying to win his ninth consecutive race at Rockingham Dragway, and further extend his lead as the all time winner at the track. Rounding out the top five in Top Fuel are Bruce Litton (Indianapolis, Ind.) in third, Rick Cooper (Boise, Idaho) in fourth, and Louie Allison (Denver, Colo.) in fifth. Millican is going for his ninth consecutive win at Rockingham Dragway.

In Torco Race Fuels Pro Modified, Mike Castellana (Westbury, N.Y.) cemented his first world championship by bringing home the victory in Budds Creek. Steve Bareman (Holland, Mich.) piloted the Jim Oddy powered Summit car to a devastatingly low 6.050 pass, destroying the old world record of 6.102 previously held by Al Billes, another Summit/Oddy driver. If weather conditions are right in Rockingham, the world could see the first 5 second pass in Torco Pro Mod during IHRA national event competition. Rounding out the top five in Torco Pro Mod points are Shannon Jenkins (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) in second, Jim Halsey (Street, Md.) in third, Carl Spiering (Jordan Station, Ont.) in fourth, and Mike Janis (Lancaster, N.Y.) in fifth.

The biggest story of the year may just be developing heading into the last race of the season. The Funny Car title had been all but given to Rob Atchison as he went on a tear midway through the season, boosting his season total to six wins. But Atchison (London, Ont.) has faltered as of late, and Jim Sickles (Caledonia, N.Y.) and the Meyers RV team has come on. Sickles has won three in a row--four overall--and sits just five points back. Sickles has been running consistent 5.70s and currently owns the Funny Car speed record at 248.75 mph. Rounding out the top five in Funny Car are Mark Thomas (Louisville, Ohio) in third, Thomas Carter (Cuero, Texas) in fourth, and Chris Foster (Davenport, Iowa) in fifth.

In Torco Pro Stock, the most dominant car of the season has belonged to Steve Spiess. Spiess (Manhattan, Ill.) has led the points chase since mid season, winning four events, lowering the world ET record to the current standard at 6.380 and winning the Torco Pro Stock Showdown, all of this on his way to his first world championship. While Frank Gugliotta (Mt. Airy, Md.) and Brian Gahm (Lucasville, Ohio) have both come on as of late, Spiess has put together one of the most complete seasons in the most competitive pro class in IHRA. Rounding out the top five in points are Gugliotta in second, Robert Patrick (Fredericksburg, Va.) in third, Dan Seamon (Bellevue, Ohio) in fourth, and Rick Jones (Galesburg, Ill.) in fifth.

Points Standings after eleven races (wins in parentheses). The 10th Annual IHRA World Finals is the final stop on the 2005 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series

-ihra-

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Series Drag
Drivers Mike Janis , Mark Thomas , Clay Millican , Bruce Litton , Robert Patrick , Louie Allison , Shannon Jenkins , Al Billes , Jim Sickles , Doug Foley , Jim Halsey , Steve Spiess , Frank Gugliotta