GILLIAM, La.-Bruce Litton had a job to do and he did it.
Litton and the Wix Filters-backed team won the Top Fuel trophy and took over the IHRA championship points lead at the Mopar Parts World Finals hosted by Red River Raceway.
The Indianapolis-based Top Fuel pilot stated before the event "The IHRA is offering a huge purse for their championship and with $200,000 and the title at stake, we came here with both guns blazing."
It was a bittersweet victory for Litton. Fellow competitor Wayne Bailey, Leonard, Mich., lost his life during the final qualifying round when his dragster broke apart just past the finish line sending the driver's compartment over the retaining wall.
When asked about his reaction to the tragedy Litton responded, "Of course Wayne's death affected us, it makes everyone realize what is at stake here - we had a job to do, you just have to go on." Litton added, "This is just a sport to many, but now a man's life is gone."
Litton qualified second (4.760/298.73) in the eight-car field, proving early he had the horsepower needed to complete his mission.
First round paired Litton against Snap-on Tools driver, Jim Bailey. Litton was out of the gate first and never looked back defeating Bailey, 4.800/307.72 to 5.121/254.47. The performance also granted Litton lane choice over Jim Head in the semi-finals.
Once again, Litton left his opponent on the starting line. Head began to lose traction, tried to pedal it with no luck and smoked the tires. Litton crossed the finish line at 4.782/304.25 to Head's coasting 7.444/109.36.
The final could not have been scripted with the money run whittling down to Litton versus Romine. The winner would go to rain-delayed CARQUEST Autumn Nationals in Rockingham, N.C. with the point lead.
Litton left the starting line first with header flames flaring over the rear wing, indicating he was on a great pass. Romine lost traction right off the starting line, fighting to keep the car planted to the asphalt. The car was sideways on the track before the now former points leader would get off of the throttle.
Meanwhile, Litton was on his way to his best performance of the event-4.746/308.85.
Litton has a six-point lead over Romine heading into the final event.
The Top Dragster Driving Experience has retained Litton's team to carry out their marketing program with WIX Filters. Top Dragster Driving Experience President Joel Collins feels the triangle marketing partnership between WIX Filters, his company and Litton's team provides a future example for other teams aspiring to run Top Fuel.