Allison Earns First Career Top Fuel Win During IHRA Motor City Nationals MILAN, Michigan (July 18, 2004) - Louie Allison earned his first career Top Fuel victory during IHRA's Second Annual Motor City Nationals presented by the Milan News Leader...
Allison Earns First Career Top Fuel Win During IHRA Motor City Nationals
MILAN, Michigan (July 18, 2004) - Louie Allison earned his first career Top Fuel victory during IHRA's Second Annual Motor City Nationals presented by the Milan News Leader and Saline Reporter at Milan Dragway. Allison, of Denver, Colorado, covered the quarter-mile in 4.924 seconds at 286.32 mph to defeat "Doc" John Sipple in the final round.
Al Billes, Barrie, Ontario, Pro Modified; Rob Atchison, London, Ontario, Funny Car; and Rick Jones, Galesburg, Ill., Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock were winners in their respective categories.
The Top Fuel final round had a different look for the first time of the season. Current points leader Clay Millican lost for the first time since August of 2003, as Sipple defeated him in the first round. A major upset, Sipple would face Bruce Litton in round two.
Eventual winner Allison defeated Tim Cullinan in round one with a 4.872 ET to advance to the semifinal against Doug Foley. Allison with another great pass, beat Foley to the finish line at 4.882, 285.89 to set-up the final round between Allison and Sipple, two competitors who have never won and event. Allison used a reaction time advantage to win the race.
"I really don't know what to say because I haven't won before," said Allison. "This is absolutely incredible. Ever since I saw my first AA/Fuel Dragster with a Hemi run, I knew I wanted to drive one. Today is the culmination of that dream. Jack Ostrander gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and now I have the Iron Man to prove it."
Sipple, after his first round win over Millican, met Bruce Litton in round two. Litton, currently number two in the point standings, was the expected winner but it was another upset as Sipple recorded a 5.032 ET to clinch the final round appearance.
In Pro Modified, Billes defeated Fred Hahn in first round and met Mike Castellana in round two. Castellana had the reaction time advantage but Billes the faster car, covering the track in 6.321, 226.39. He then met defending world champion Mitch Stott and like Castellana, Stott had the better reaction time and Billes had the quicker car, crossing the finish line in 6.718 seconds to Stott's 6.790. Billes would meet Mike Janis in the final round, a repeat final from this year's Spring Nationals. Billes ran a 6.460, 225.11 and won the race as Janis shut off early.
"We are testing a completely new engine combination," said Billes. "We experienced some tough times, but we worked through them and the win was a great way to end the day. The car ran well in the first two rounds, but once it got hot out, the track started to go away and it got really tricky to navigate."
Janis began the day qualified No. 1 and defeated Wayne Torkelson in round one as the No. 16 qualifier Torkelson red-lighted. Janis met Pat Moore in round two and ran a 6.265, 227.61 to take the round and met current points leader Harold Martin in the next round. This is Martin's home track, but Janis outran him with a 6.295 to Martin's 6.421 in a good race.
Number one Funny Car qualifier Atchison began the day with a first round bye-run, and faced Paul Noakes in round. Atchison, the defending world champion won the round with a 5.895, 239.44. He then faced Chris Sipple in the semifinal round and made another great pass - 5.898, 239.14, to advance to the final round against season-long foe Mark Thomas. Atchison won the round and the event with a 5.950-second pass.
"I was pretty pumped up and I really wanted to beat Mark badly today," said Atchison. "He wanted to beat me just as bad. It's a great thing to race against Mark Thomas because he is a great champion. He's a fantastic winner and a good friend. He brings out the best in me and the rest of the class."
Thomas, who has won four events this season, ran a 5.903, 238.76, to defeat Terry Munroe in round one. In round two, he faced Scott Wildgust. Wildgust had the reaction time advantage, but Thomas was too quick and won the round. He faced Terry McMillen in the semifinals. McMillen, fresh off a runner-up finish in Edmonton, had the starting line advantage, but like the round with Wildgust, Thomas drove around him at 239.23 mph to advance to the final round. Despite losing to Atchison, he set the track speed record at 241.32 mph.
In Sunoco Pro Stock, Jones defeated Robert Patrick in the first round and met Steve Spiess in round two. Spiess, who held the event top speed, left early and lost with a red-light as Jones made a 6.575, 211.53 mph pass. In the semifinals, Jones defeated Frank Gugliotta to advance to the final against Morton. Jones had the slower ET in the final round, but with a better reaction time won the event.
"This was a very good day for Team Quarter-Max," said Jones. "Deep down inside, we knew that we weren't the fastest car out there, so we just tried to be the most consistent. We made good runs all day and (crew member) Mark Stockseth made good calls on the clutch."
"We just all came together as a team and I drove pretty well today. We had a real good day."
Morton defeated Tony Gillig in round one as Gillig just missed a perfect reaction time and red-lighted. Morton faced John Montecalvo next and defeated him with a 6.569, 208.91, to easily take the round. He met defending world champion Brian Gahm in the semifinal. With nearly identical reaction times, Gahm had trouble early and Morton pulled away to win the round and advance to the final.
The next event on the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series is the Third Annual ACDelco Nationals at Toronto Motorsports Park, Toronto, Ontario, July 30 - August 1, 2004.