Rockingham: Tommy Lee preview

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - Tom Lee suggested after winning last season's final event in Rockingham that he was prepared to win the 2001 season. The bad news for the rest of the competition in the IHRA mountain motor Pro Stock division is that he hasn't ...

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - Tom Lee suggested after winning last season's final event in Rockingham that he was prepared to win the 2001 season. The bad news for the rest of the competition in the IHRA mountain motor Pro Stock division is that he hasn't changed his mind. The four-time national event winner and current record holder from Kingsport, Tenn., plans to have Charlie Taylor's potent Mustang at full-gallop during this weekend's IHRA Holley Spring Nationals hosted by Rockingham Dragway.

Lee was ready to begin the 2001 campaign last November.

"I won't lie and tell you that I haven't been itching to get started," explained Lee, with his trademark smile and Southern accent. "We knew at the conclusion of last season that we had the toughest car out there and that we were more than capable of holding our own. I still feel the same way. People often mess up and make predictions and stuff, but I will make one. I predict that we're going to be strong and a team that will be tough to deal with."

He continued, "I saw where John Montecalvo made good strides with the new Cavalier in pre-season testing and I'm happy for them. The sad part is that they are where we were last year. We'll see at Rockingham where we are at now."

Lee enjoys the good-natured rivalry with his Chevrolet counterparts, particularly with Montecalvo. Steven Cultrera, Montecalvo's current crewchief, was formerly the wrench for the former IHRA Rookie of the Year Lee when the two were with Charlie Hunt's team.

Lee's new crewchief Cliff Moore, who works for Ford engine mogul Jon Kaase, won the IHRA's special "Wrench of the Year" award. The driver, crewchief and team owner credits "being on the same page" as one of the factors to their success.

"That has to be one of the most important factors in the success of any time," admits Lee. "I pretty much know what each of my guys are thinking when we work on the car. They pretty much know what I'm thinking when I'm in the car. The most common thought is the we want to win."

He continued, "Oh yeah I almost forgot. We like to run fast too."

Lee will begin his championship pursuit at this weekend's IHRA Holley Spring Nationals in Rockingham, NC. He will be afforded two qualifying attempts on Friday, with two more scheduled for Saturday. The quickest 16 Pro Stockers will return on Sunday for final eliminations.

-Bobby Bennett

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Series Drag
Drivers John Montecalvo , Tommy Lee