San Antonio eliminations summary

Millican Wins Top Fuel at IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 28, 2004) - Clay Millican won the 3rd Annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs Sunday at San Antonio Raceway. Millican, ...

Millican Wins Top Fuel at IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 28, 2004) - Clay Millican won the 3rd Annual Amalie Oil Texas Nationals presented by Ancira Cars, Trucks and RVs Sunday at San Antonio Raceway. Millican, of Drummonds, Tenn., ran the quarter-mile in 4.596-seconds at 311.49 mph during an uncontested final round.

Glen Kerunsky, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Pro Modified; Mark Thomas, Louisville, Ohio, Funny Car; and John Montecalvo, Center Moriches, N.Y., Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock were winners in their respective categories.

In round one of Top Fuel, Millican defeated Rick Cooper with a 4.583 ET at 320.36 mph. Millican held the track records for both ET and speed, and with this run, he reset both. Bruce Litton defeated Galveston's Mitch King in round one. King was late off the tree, and Litton made a solid pass: 4.790, 297.48. Litton went on to defeat Grant Flowers in round two, but after crossing the finish line struck the wall. Litton was airlifted from the track and later released from the hospital.

"I'm fine. I've got a headache and concussion," said Litton, after returning to the track. "They released me to race, and I wanted to come back, but knew it wasn't possible.

"The bottom line is, the lord was with me today. It was a horrendous crash, and I feel very fortunate. I hardly have a scratch on me."

After Litton's accident, the semifinal round between Millican and Todd Paton became the final round. Millican beat Paton off the line, both drivers lost traction at half track, but Millican's recovery was more successful and he crossed the finish at 5.799-seconds. Millican came back and laid down a good run for the San Antonio fans.

"It's a weird way to win a race," said Millican. "Sitting in the water box and seeing Bruce crash like that, it was a strange feeling. We've beaten each other up all over the country, we've raced each other so much. It was tough. But you have to go out there and hope it doesn't happen to you.

"I got the word as I was getting in the car that Bruce was on his way back and I knew the grandstands were full here in Texas and decided to step on the pedal and put on a good show."

In Pro Modified, Kerunsky, who entered the day qualified No. 16, took out No. 1 qualifier Zach Barklage in round one with a 6.328, 223.99. He then beat Mitch Stott, defending Pro Modified world champion, with a better reaction time and 6.286 ET. He advanced to the semifinals to face Steve Vick and defeated Vick with a 6.265. He met Harold Martin in the final round, taking the race with a 6.275, 218.94.

"Coming from 16 and beating these guys today was just awesome," said Kerunsky. "Last year we did well in IHRA, a few semifinals, and we thought we were doing really good. Today we think we're doing fantastic. It's great to get a win under our belt with IHRA."

Martin began the weekend hitting the wall Friday night, but came back Saturday and held the No. 1 qualifying spot for one round. He entered Sunday qualified second and defeated Pat Musi in round one with a 6.690, 208.49. Martin then faced former Pro Modified world champion Shannon Jenkins. In a rare move, Jenkins left early and lost the race with a red light. Martin advanced to the final round after Rick Distefano could not make the semifinal round.

Funny Car winner Thomas met John Sullivan in round one. Thomas shook the tires but recovered to defeat Sullivan with a 5.850, 240.00. His round two opponent was Ronnie Midyette. Midyette deep staged, but reacted too quickly and lost with a red light. Thomas blew off the blower belt, but snuck away with the win and advanced to the finals against defending world champion Rob Atchison. Thomas defeated Atchison with a 5.879,239.40, with the difference coming from Thomas' better reaction time.

"It feels great to win the opening race of the season," said Thomas. "Rob was running fast and we were running close all weekend. To win on a hole-shot is a really good feeling. The car is running great and when I can cut a light I know I'm on my game plan. I'm ready to race and this is what we came for."

Atchison took a free pass in round one as Chris Foster couldn't make the call. The defending world champion made a good pass with a 5.861, 238.85. In round two, Atchison defeated Terry McMillen. McMillen had the better reaction time, but Atchison ran a 5.849 ET for the win and advanced to the final round.

Sunoco Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier Montecalvo met Bert Jackson in round one. Jackson had the starting line advantage and Montecalvo came close to the wall. He quickly recovered and drove around Jackson with a 6.580, 213.03. In round two he faced Frank Gugliotta. It was Montecalvo all the way with a 6.559. Brian Gahm, defending world champion, was waiting for Montecalvo in the third round. But again it was Montecalvo with the starting line advantage and laying down his third consecutive 213 mph pass of the day. He took out John Nobile in the final round. Montecalvo used a starting line advantage to win, as both drivers ran 213 mph, and Nobile actually covering the quarter-mile in less time.

"This is just a tremendous way to start the year," said Montecalvo. "It really builds momentum and morale with the team. This is the first race we have Jeff (former Pro Stock competitor) and Cindy Dobbins on board and my guys who have been with me for a while, we've just gelled together like you couldn't believe.

"I think you'll see this Chevy in the winner's circle quite a few times this season."

Nobile began the day qualified third and defeated Carl Baker in round one. Baker had a huge advantage at the starting line, but Nobile ran him down to take the win. He then defeated Pete Berner in round two and met Elijah Morton in round three. Nobile again trailed at the start, but caught Morton and ran around him to advance to the final round against Montecalvo.

The next event on the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series is the 34th Annual Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, N.C., April 23 - 25.

-ihra-

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Series Drag
Drivers Mark Thomas , Clay Millican , Bruce Litton , John Nobile , John Montecalvo , Todd Paton , Mitch King , Harold Martin , Glen Kerunsky , Frank Gugliotta