Stephenson Successfully Defends Comp Eliminator Title in Joliet GM Performance Parts Sportsman standout Tony Stephenson returned to national event competition in impressive fashion this past weekend, winning the Competition Eliminator title at...
Stephenson Successfully Defends Comp Eliminator Title in Joliet
GM Performance Parts Sportsman standout Tony Stephenson returned to national event competition in impressive fashion this past weekend, winning the Competition Eliminator title at the Carquest Auto Parts Nationals in Joliet, IL. It was Stephenson's 15th NHRA national event win, second consecutive victory at Route 66 Raceway, and served notice that he would be a force to contend with for the remainder of the 2006 Lucas Oil Drag Racing season.
After qualifying 19th in the 32-car field, Stephenson used the combination of intelligent racing, great reaction times and a very consistent Pontiac GTO to power his way through an impressive line-up, including defeats of the No. 1 and No. 3 qualifiers, to reach his first championship round of the season. Facing No. 2 qualifier and defending Competitor Eliminator champion Jeff Taylor in the final, the North Carolina native was again on top of his game. Gaining the advantage at the starting line with a .019 reaction time (his fourth sub .02-start of the day), he never looked back, using a strong 7.837-second, 167.97 mph pass to claim the win.
"You couldn't ask for a better day," said an elated Stephenson afterward. "Our GM Performance Parts GTO ran great all weekend. After opening with a strong run, I had a little bit of luck, getting the automatic wins in the second and third rounds when Dean Carter broke an axle and Doug Stewart went red."
"After that, however, I raced the two baddest hombres on the grounds, Glen Treadwell and Jeff Taylor. I was able to squeak by Treadwell at the finish line in the fourth round without fully showing my hand, so Taylor really didn't know how fast I could run in the final. Jeff had lost a lot of index throughout the day, and it all worked out in our favor, helping me to beat him. It was great to defend our title here at Route 66 Raceway, and gives us something to build on for the rest of the season."