Leicester, NY - As the IHRA's Summit Drag Racing tour made its way to John Montecalvo's home state, expectations were high that he and the Chevrolet contingent would finally manage to throw a roadblock in the way of the Fords, and two drivers in...
Leicester, NY - As the IHRA's Summit Drag Racing tour made its way to John Montecalvo's home state, expectations were high that he and the Chevrolet contingent would finally manage to throw a roadblock in the way of the Fords, and two drivers in particular, that have been having their way with the competition in Sunoco Fuels Pro Stock so far this season.
Some Friday the 13th bad luck took out one of the cars, the Mustang of Montecalvo's season-long nemesis, Tommy Lee, when a blown engine on Friday forced him to call it a weekend. Without Lee to run interference for him, points leader Gene Wilson found himself in a potentially vulnerable situation. At least there were a whole bunch of drag racers that hoped that was the case.
In qualifying, Montecalvo, of Long Island, took his Citgo-sponsored Cavalier to a first-session mark of 6.662/ 208.33, a number which would hold up over the course of the preliminaries, and peg him in the number 5 position on the qualifying list. Unfortunately, Montecalvo's Chevrolet teammate, Angelo Alesci, qualified in the number 11 spot, which meant that the two would have to face each other in the first round of eliminations, effectively lessening their chances of landing a haymaker on Wilson's chin.
During the opening round, Montecalvo hung a decisive holeshot on his brother-in-arms, 0.454 to 0.498, and clicked off a winning 6.726/205.94, besting Alesci's 6.770 206.35 by a margin of approximately 27 feet. In spite of all his hard work, and a burning desire to strike a blow in the name of the bowtie brigade, however, the racing gods picked that moment in time to throw the determined Montecalvo a wicked curve ball.
Moving on to the quarterfinals, he found himself facing off against possibly the only other Chevy guy that had a chance to steal some of the blue-oval's thunder; number 3 qualifier Tim Nabors, and his new 2001 Cavalier. However it turned out, it meant that one more Chevrolet would be eliminated from competition. Perhaps anxious to move on and take a shot at Wilson, Montecalvo left early, and as the glow of the red light quickly faded in the distance, so did his chance of cutting into Wilson's points lead, at least this time around.
Nabors made the best of the situation, going to the final against Wilson and notching a runner-up finish in a close race. But "almost, just about and if only" are beginning to grate on Montecalvo's nerves. He knows that he and the other Chevy gang have a lot of ground to make up, but there are still six races left on the 2001 IHRA schedule, and a few strong finishes will go a long way towards improving the attitudes of a whole lot of drag racers and fans - none more than that of John Montecalvo.