Epping, NH - Now just qualifying for a spot in a professional field at an IHRA event doesn't seem like earthshaking news, especially if you're the Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock defending champion. But for said champion Chris Holbrook, in the ...
Epping, NH - Now just qualifying for a spot in a professional field at an IHRA event doesn't seem like earthshaking news, especially if you're the Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock defending champion. But for said champion Chris Holbrook, in the context of his well-documented 'season from hell', qualifying for two races in a row behind the wheel of the same car is a big step in the right direction.
Holbrook, of Redford, MI, has toughed his way through all manner of adversity this season, and long ago was forced to abandon any thoughts of defending his title. As the season wore on, in fact, his focus unavoidably shifted to just keeping a racecar strapped around him. At one point, his old Top Sportsman Mustang was retrofitted and hauled to the track just so he could keep his name in the hat.
And this explains to a large extent why driving, and qualifying, the Luckett-Bohanon 2000 Mustang at two races in a row means so much to Chris. His Old T/S Mustang was game, but just not up to the challenge of today's competition in Pro Stock, and Chris knew it. He suffered through a string of humbling DNQ's before his latest opportunity presented itself.
The new Mustang, built by Jerry Haas, has been placed at Holbrook's disposal until his own new 'Stang is completed by the well-known Missouri builder. Two weeks ago, at the CARQUEST World Nationals, Holbrook qualified the 'shop-new' car in the 16th spot, and went to the second round, his best result in quite a while.
This weekend, at the Amalie Oil Northern Nationals, Holbrook was back with the Luckett-Bohanon entry, and he offered these comments: "It's a great relief to have some semblance of continuity return to our racing program. We've learned that we have to work our way back in stages, and hopefully, we're on the positive track now." To back up what he was saying, Chris ran a best of 6.784/204.63 to claim the number 14 spot on the qualifying grid. "We even look at small steps like that as being important now," Chris said, referring to his two position qualifying improvement over Norwalk.
In the first round of eliminations, Holbrook faced Hunt Racing's Gene Wilson. Wilson took a 0.020 starting line advantage, and carried it all the way through for the win, his 6.690 too much for Holbrook's 6.793. But Chris was far from disappointed. On the one hand, he's a very competitive racer, and he's had to swallow quite a bit of pride this season. But he's also a very intelligent guy, and he knows the best way for him to regain prominence in the class is to keep his cool, work methodically, and let the program come back to him. After all, he's been there before, and he realizes this is exactly how he got to the top in the first place.