SHREVEPORT, LA.- What better a way to score a first IHRA victory than to do so at one of the richest events in the history of the class. Such was the case as Johnny Rocca's Prolong-sponsored, 1949 Mercury, driven by Australian Troy Critchley,...
SHREVEPORT, LA.- What better a way to score a first IHRA victory than to do so at one of the richest events in the history of the class. Such was the case as Johnny Rocca's Prolong-sponsored, 1949 Mercury, driven by Australian Troy Critchley, steamed to their first major IHRA victory at the Mopar Parts Pro Modified Shootout. The team pocketed a cool $20,000 for the win.
The Leesburg, Va.,-based, team scored the win at the race-within-a-race during the IHRA Mopar Parts World Finals in Shreveport, La., at the expense of veteran driver Tommy Gray.
"We've had some good times and some bad times this season," explained a jubilant Critchley. "We never lost sight of our goal and when it came down to it, our team came through. This win is for all of our fans because they are the greatest."
It would be a gross understatement to say that Rocca was excited with the victory. "I have waited all of my life for something like this," said Rocca. "My ancestors were riding with us all day. I've always told Troy that there was a rattlesnake in the car. I think he jumped over into Tommy Gray's car."
Critchley began as the eighth seed in the program.
Critchley produced his best of the day in the first round as he stormed to a 6.343/220.87 in the Prolong-sponsored, 1949 Mercury of Johnny Rocca to take out the newly designated World Champion Jenkins. Jenkins was the quicker of the two off of the starting line in the Parsons Brothers/CompetitionPlus.Com-sponsored, 1941 Willys and had to lift just past the 60-ft. mark.
In the semi-finals, Critchley continued his winning trend as had to overcome a holeshot-minded Hoover. The inaugural Pro Modified winner hammered out a 6.384/219.15 as Hoover trailed with a 6.434/216.31.
On the starting line, Gray knew that he was going to have to cut it close. However, he cut it entirely to close and left before the tree was activated. Critchley soloed for the automatic victory and slowed to a respectable 6.525/214.93.