Budds Creek, MD - Finally, Chris Holbrook may be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe that should be win lights at the end of the track, but however you say it, there is no doubt that the defending Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock ...
Budds Creek, MD - Finally, Chris Holbrook may be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe that should be win lights at the end of the track, but however you say it, there is no doubt that the defending Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock champion has started to put the horrors of the first two thirds of the 2000 IHRA season behind him. His misfortune has been well documented, so suffice it to say that he's more than paid the price to have his "two-in-a-row" curse lifted for good.
The turnaround for Chris began at the CARQUEST World Nationals at Norwalk Raceway Park in August. Stepping into the new Jerry Haas-built 2000 Ford Mustang of the Luckett-Bohanon team, Holbrook put a humiliating string of DNQs behind him when he qualified in the number sixteen spot. He went to the second round before being bumped out. One race later, the Amalie Oil Northern Nationals at Epping, NH, Holbrook improved on his previous effort by qualifying number fourteen, an accomplishment that the "we'll take anything as long as it's positive" crew from Redford, MI was more than pleased with, in spite of a first round loss.
This weekend, we're at the President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway, and Chris Holbrook is strapped into the same car for the third race in a row, a luxury that he hasn't enjoyed all year. The team's growing familiarity and comfort level with the car are now beginning to really show, as Holbrook runs a solid 6.629/210.44 in qualifying to grab the number five spot and lane choice over John Montecalvo in the first round of eliminations.
In a great race, both cars leave the line 0.001 seconds apart, and at the top end, it's Holbrook's 6.719/209.26 edging out Montecalvo's 6.724/208.17 by a margin of 0.004 seconds, or approximately fifteen inches. That run surely must have gone a long way towards rejuvenating the spirit of Chris and his entire team. In round two, just to remind him that you've got to fight for everything you get, a little bad luck made its presence felt again, as the Mustang broke at the line, ending Holbrook's weekend. But this time, with a little good luck working for them finally, the team can put the bad luck into perspective. It's just one of those racing things now, not an overwhelming black cloud of misfortune.
It's onward and upward now for Holbrook. If he can continue to pick up the pace at the Mopar World Nationals at Shreveport, LA on October 12-14 and the rerunning of the CARQUEST Autumn Nationals in Rockingham on November 4-5, he should be able to salvage something of his brutal season after all. Maybe not in points standings, but most definitely in his mental attitude as he prepares for the 2001 season.