Two-time IHRA event winner and ...
Two-time IHRA event winner and #2 in the IHRA points race in 1998 Tony Gillig qualified for the first time this season at the NHRA Prolong Northwest Nationals in Seattle, WA. It's been a tough struggle for the Gillig Motorsports - Shanahan Drywall - Wayne's Pizza team. Gillig's 1997 Rick Jones built, Schmidt powered red & white Olds Cutlass has been through many changes and renovations since the beginning of the season.
"My dad and I have been tearing our hair out trying to figure out what will make this car work in NHRA. We had it so right in IHRAâ€¦this has been a whole other ball game." "Qualifying in Seattle is a major confidence builder for us, as one of the drivers said in an interview Saturday, "we were beginning to think we aren't as smart as we thought" we were about to give up - not anymore!" "It was awesome to come up against Kurt Johnson on my first, first round NHRA experience."
Looking back, Lake Zurich, Illinois based Tony Gillig is not new to this sport. In 1996 the ambitious 24-year-old young lion proceeded to set the drag strip ablaze with his stunning Pro Stock debut. He launched his 1996 rookie year by scoring several wins and walking away with the Midwest Pro Stock Association's (MPSA) championship. His success with MPSA prompted him to add a full season of IHRA Pro Stock events to his 1997 drag racing schedule. He once again blew his unsuspecting competition away. Gillig qualified number 1 and bagged his first IHRA national event win at the Autumn Chase Nationals, Bristol, TN., in 1997. Gillig also notched his second MPSA championship and finished in the top 10 in the 1997 IHRA Pro Stock points standings.
Gillig and team turned up the wick in 1998. The strategy was to maintain a level of race car and driver consistency, which would propel Gillig to the 1998 IHRA Pro Stock championship. The battle for the championship came down to the last event of the year, the World Finals at Shreveport, LA. Gillig plowed his way through a brutally quick field to win the event. He missed sewing up the championship by a mere 30 points. "1998 was a real nail-biter.
We came so close to taking home all the marbles. As disappointing as the outcome of the championship was for all us, we're simply more determined to wind up at the top of the Pro Stock heap in 1999." However, after that outstanding season in IHRA the Gillig team decided to take their experience to NHRA 1999 tour.
"I don't know what is in store for us the rest of the 1999 season. I can tell you that finally breaking into this very tough, ever potent Pro Stock field this weekend has given us the confidence we need to tackle the remainder of the NHRA season. We are looking forward to Sonma."