Grand Bend: Series final eliminations summary

Canadian Nationals - Cox, Litton, Goforth all winers in Grand Bend Dean Goforth stuns Pro Stock field on upset Sunday Cox wins second race of season; Hoover strikes again in Pro Mod It was a day of upsets and great racing as Del Cox (Top...

Canadian Nationals - Cox, Litton, Goforth all winers in Grand Bend

Dean Goforth stuns Pro Stock field on upset Sunday
Cox wins second race of season; Hoover strikes again in Pro Mod

It was a day of upsets and great racing as Del Cox (Top Fuel), Ed Hoover (Pro Modified), Dean Goforth (Pro Stock) and Bruce Boland (PMRA) all took home Ironman trophies at the 10th annual MOPAR Canadian Nationals Sunday at the Grand Bend Motorplex in Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada.

Also claiming victories during Part Source Championship Sunday were Gary Wojnowski Sr. (Top Sportsman), Jim Rubino (Top Dragster), Jim Marshall (Stock), Pete D'Angnolo (Super Stock), Ron Folk (Quick Rod) and Tony Elrod (Super Rod and Hot Rod) in sportsman action.

Two crazy days of racing to open the weekend gave way to a beautiful Sunday afternoon as the IHRA wrapped up its two-race Canadian Tour with a great weekend in Grand Bend and will return to the U.S. with four races to go in the 2009 Nitro Jam season.


Del Cox Jr. began the year on quite a roll, but a few early exits and poor qualifying runs over the last three races left many wondering if the boy wonder had used up all of his beginners luck.

Sunday afternoon Cox proved that luck has nothing to do with it.

Cox put himself right back into championship contention over the weekend, qualifying first with the fastest lap of the year before mowing through the Top Fuel field on Sunday to record his second victory of the season.

"We are back on top of the mountain. Paul Smith is the man, he gave me a great car this weekend," Cox said.

Cox (Downey Calif.) ran a solid 4.882 elapsed time at 285.77 miles per hour, edging points leader Bruce Litton (Indianapolis, Ind.) who ran a 4.945 E.T. at 256.31 mph in one of the closest battles of the event.

"I went out there and smoked the tires, but anything for the win these days," Cox said.

Cox's victory allowed him to make up a little ground in the Top Fuel title chase, but Litton's fifth final in six tries still gave him some breathing room over the rookie. Litton leads Cox by 68 points with four races remaining this season.

"There are a few more races and we are going to win them too. Little by little, a couple more No. 1 qualifiers, a couple more wins and we should be able to catch him in no time," Cox said.

On Sunday Cox defeated Bobby Lagana Jr. and Litton to claim the win.

It was Cox's second win of the season, knocking off Litton the first time as well three months ago in Rockingham.

Litton reached his fifth final in four tries with a win over Tim Boychuk in the semifinals. The two drivers nailed the tree and were glued together over the first 1,000 feet, but both lost power at the top end giving Litton a chance to drive around the Canadian and take the win.

Litton ran a 5.065 E.T. in the semis while Boychuk coasted across with a 5.251 second pass.

Cox received a free pass into the final when team owner Mitch King did not show. Cox smoked the tires at midtrack and ran a 6.027 E.T., giving lane choice to Litton.

In quarterfinal action it was business as usual as all four of the top qualifiers moved on to the next round.

Cox was able to keep in the throttle in his win while opponent Bobby Lagana Jr. battled to keep it off the wall at half track and did a nice job of saving the car. Litton, in his first successful pass with the backup motor, topped the 300 mile per hour mark for the first time this weekend in a win over Tim Cullinan.

King kept up his recent success with a win over Dom Lagana in his first full weekend of competition and Boychuk blew by Fred Farndon.

"I want to thank all of the boys on the team, Bexar Waste, Lucas Oil, Mitch King, RG Industries, Sparco Race Products -- everybody," Cox said. "I wish my grandpa was here, this is for him. Without him I would be nobody."


When discussing the race for the 2009 IHRA Pro Modified world championship, only two names can be included as a part of the conversation -- Ed Hoover and Kenny Lang.

And they intend to keep it that way.

For the third consecutive race the two rival drivers met in the final round of an IHRA national event, with Ed Hoover once again getting the edge when it mattered most.

"It feels good to overcome the adversities we had this weekend. We put an engine in last night until 3 a.m. and first thing this morning I did a burnout and the thing had zero oil pressure," Hoover said. "Luckily the guy red lighted on me and we came back and got the engine fixed.

"Thankfully the engine stayed together enough to get us the win. It was a great weekend for Trussell Motorsports."

Hoover (Gilbert, S.C.) ran a solid 5.988 elapsed time at 237.71 miles per hour on Sunday, his best lap of the weekend, to rocket to his second consecutive victory while Lang finished as runner-up for the fourth time this year.

"I beat Mitch Stott here in one of my last years of nitrous racing and that was the last time I had two wins in a row," Hoover said. "It has been a long time and it feels good to do it again."

Lang (Grande Pointe, Manitoba) ran an equally impressive 6.025 seconds at 237.75 miles per hour.

"He is a good racer and he has a really good team," Hoover said. "That is what happens out here in the IHRA. You go to the front one weekend and are down the next. We work on this thing fulltime and that is what it takes out here in Pro Mod."

Sunday marked the third consecutive race the two drivers have met in the final and the fifth straight race they have faced off on Sunday. In those five showdowns Lang has won three times and Hoover twice, but both of Hoover's wins have come over the last two events.

Thanks to that consistency Hoover jumped ahead of Lang in the Pro Mod championship standings by 11 points.

"We have to take this momentum right now and get a lead with it because I don't want to go to Rockingham and depend on that one race for the championship," Hoover said. "I want to go in there with it under my belt. I want to go in there with a cushion and that is what we are trying to work on now before it is too late."

Hoover recorded wins over Ike Maier, Gary Irving and Lang to claim the win.

Lang reached the final thanks to a win over the fastest man of the weekend Pontieri in the semifinals, recording a solid 6.018 elapsed time at 237.71 miles per hour to gain lane choice. Pontieri coasted across the line after smoking the tires.

Hoover reached the final via a bye run in the semis.

In the quarters all of the top drivers moved on as Pontieri coasted to a win over Russo who smoked the tires at the line and Hoover blew by Gary Irving with a six-flat run. Lang also moved on via a second-round bye.

In first round action Pontieri and Irving both received bye runs, Hoover defeated Ike Maier who went red, Lang ran away from Harold Martin and Russo defeated Melanie Troxel.

Only her second race behind the wheel of the popular door car, Troxel produced an impressive lap on Saturday to propel herself into the top five in qualifying, but is still searching for that elusive first round win.


It was only a matter of time before Dean Goforth put his bright orange GXP in victory lane.

So it should come as no surprise that when Goforth crossed the finish line Sunday afternoon to claim his first career victory, he would need a few moments to take it all in.

"We finally got it done. It has taken us three years, but I mean it feels good," Goforth said. "Honestly you try hard and things go wrong and today nothing went wrong. It was just a great day."

After years of trying Goforth finally got his wish as he managed to drive around IHRA legend John Montecalvo in the final of Sunday's MOPAR Canadian Nationals to claim his first career victory in his second ever final.

"If you go back and look at all the people I had to run today, it wasn't luck," Goforth said. "Beating Pete in the first round and John in the final and Richard and J.R. in the middle -- that is a good weekend."

Goforth (Holdenville, Okla.) ran a 6.401 elapsed time at 218.87 miles per hour got around Montecalvo as the New York native fell short of a win for the third time this season.

Montecalvo had trouble right from the start, limping across the line at 10.222 seconds.

Goforth defeated Richard Freeman, J.R. Carr and Pete Berner to get the win.

"I will say the luckiest thing I did today was have a triple zero reaction time and not red light. When I saw it at the end of the track it scared me to death," Goforth said. "Everybody knows I will pull a red light and I thought what was I thinking, that was crazy.

"We made eight runs and seven of them were heck. We had been sneaking up on it all weekend and finally got it done this evening."

It was the second time this season a Goforth has won a race as Goforth's son, Cary, claimed his first career victory three months ago in Rockingham.

But on Sunday, it was all Goforth.

"Other than the boo-boo we had in Tulsa we have had a really good year," Goforth said. "We have been to the final round three times as a team.

"That is pretty good for a bunch of farm boys."

And what a weekend it was for the 65-year-old.

Goforth reached his second career final with a win over Richard Freeman in one of the best races of the afternoon. The two cars were welded together the entire run, but a perfect reaction time proved the difference as Goforth crossed the line on a 6.351 E.T. to Freeman's 6.353 second run -- mere inches at the line.

And that wasn't even the closest race of the weekend for Goforth.

He produced a first round win over two-time champion Pete Berner that didn't even register on the scoreboard -- an astonishing .0000 second margin of victory -- on a day where everything seemed to fall his way.

In quarterfinal action the crazy first round gave way to a slew of new faces in the final eight.

Montecalvo reached the finals thanks to a commanding win over Cale Aronson who turned out to be one of the best stories of the weekend. Driving in a borrowed car that hadn't been on a track in well over a year, Aronson knocked off pole sitter Frank Gugliotta in the first round and made it all the way to the semifinals where his dream weekend finally came to an end at the hands of Montecalvo.

Despite not getting the win, Montecalvo leaped from fourth to second in points thanks to the wild day of Pro Stock racing. Montecalvo is now six points back of Gugliotta.

In quarterfinal action the crazy first round gave way to a slew of new faces in the final eight.

Aronson stole Gugliotta's second round bye with his stunning upset to put himself in the semis while Montecalvo produced some big numbers to beat Jason Collins.

Goforth continued his breakout weekend with a win over Elite Motorsports Pro Stock entry J.R. Carr and Freeman won a staging war with John Pluchino.

Upset Sunday got underway early during the first round of professional eliminations in Pro Stock as the top three in points all fell out in the opening round, giving Montecalvo an easy road back into the hunt for the '09 title.

While the first round was filled with stunners, by far the biggest upset of the first round came when Aronson knocked off No. 1 qualifier Gugliotta. Aronson struggled during the first two days of competition with oil downs and poor passes, but put that all behind him on Sunday.

Aronson knocked off the pole sitter with a solid pass as Gugliotta struggled from start to finish. Goforth also got a stunning first round win when he knocked off No. 2 qualifier Berner in one of the closest drag races in Pro Stock history.

Goforth edged the two-time champion by the slimmest of margins, recording an unheard of .0000 second margin of victory. It was also Goforth's best career pass by a tenth of a second.

Cary Goforth also struggled in the opening round with his second consecutive first round loss as Freeman knocked him off on a morning where the right lane proved the downfall of a lot of teams.

In other first round action Montecalvo beat Chris Holbrook, Pluchino defeated John Konigshofer, Carr beat Bob Bertsch and Collins beat Mark Martino.


In the special Pro Modified Racing Association action Bruce Boland (Stoney Creek, Ontario) was able to pull out a victory over Eric Latino.

Boland ran a 4.105 elapsed time at 178.05 miles per hour on the eighth mile to get around Latino who ran a 4.504 E.T. at 163.53 miles per hour.

Boland reached the final with wins over Mark Nielsen, Tim Martin and Latino while Latino reached the final of the eighth mile challenge with wins over Jeff Roth and Jack Grainy.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Bobby Lagana Jr. , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Mitch King , Melanie Troxel , J.R. Carr , Harold Martin , Tim Martin , Kenny Lang , Richard Freeman , Tim Cullinan , Frank Gugliotta , Ike Maier , Dom Lagana , Paul Smith