HILLARY WILL WINS IHRA TOP FUEL DEBUT AT SKULL SHINE WORLD NATIONALS NORWALK, Ohio (August 28, 2006) -- Hillary Will first visited an IHRA eMax Drag Racing Series national event earlier this season in Milan, Mich. She came to support teammate...
HILLARY WILL WINS IHRA TOP FUEL DEBUT AT SKULL SHINE WORLD NATIONALS
NORWALK, Ohio (August 28, 2006) -- Hillary Will first visited an IHRA eMax Drag Racing Series national event earlier this season in Milan, Mich. She came to support teammate Doug Kalitta, who was driving cousin Scott Kalitta's Nitro Funny Car at the Suzuki Motor City Nationals.
She had so much fun she decided to try her hand at IHRA racing as well, so when the series came to Norwalk, a couple of hours from her home in Ypsilanti, Mich., Will went racing. At her first IHRA event, the Skull Shine World Nationals presented by ACDelco, Will took home her first national event victory in any series by knocking off Doug Foley in the Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel final.
Will ran a 4.624 at 314.75 mph in the final to become just the third woman in IHRA history to win a Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel Ironman, joining Shirley Muldowney and Rhonda Hartman-Smith in the exclusive "girl's only" club. The last time a woman won a Top Fuel Ironman was in 1998, when Muldowney defeated Luigi Novelli in the final at the Parts Pro Summer Nationals in Morocco, Ind.
"I didn't realize that," Will said when she was told she was just the third woman to win a Top Fuel event on the IHRA side. "That makes me really proud...especially since I know that Shirley raced here."
Muldowney, a legend and pioneer in the sport, is from Ypsilanti, Mich. as well.
Toronto resident Ray Commisso has been racing in the Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified class for over three seasons. Before the Skull Shine World Nationals he had never even qualified for an IHRA Pro Mod field event. At Norwalk Raceway Park not only did Comimisso qualify, he defeated Mike Janis in the final to capture an Ironman. Commisso posted a solid 6.126/232.35 in the final to defeat a tire-shaking Janis.
"IHRA Pro Mod, without a doubt, is the toughest Pro Mod field in the world," Commisso said. "Just to come here and be beside all these guys I've looked up to my whole life, to race against them in qualifying and win the event is like a dream come true. I really don't know what to say. I'm so overwhelmed we're even here."
Pete Berner won his second Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Ironman of the season by defeating current points leader Tony Gillig in the final at Norwalk Raceway Park. Berner nosed Gillig with a 6.443 pass at 214.18 mph to top Gillig's 6.472/211.20 pass.
"We're coming along," Berner said. "Tony is a really good racer, his dad and I are really close and Tony and I are really close. They have a really good team and you have to be prepared when you race them. We've been pretty fortunate. We have great power and have a great car here. The crew did its job and I did my job."
Tim Stevens became another first-time winner when he defeated three-time defending Alcohol Funny Car World Champion Rob Atchison in the finals of the Skull Shine World Nationals. Stevens, who suffered a severe crash at the 2004 World Finals in Rockingham, was racing in just his second race this season after completing his '06 Dodge Stratus chassis.
"This really has not sunk in yet," Stevens said. "This whole team did an outstanding job this weekend. We didn't do very well last year, but this new car is very good. We haven't even tested it. When we get more information on it we are going to be very dangerous."
Stevens ran a 5.935 at 237.21 in the final to top Atchison on a hole-shot. His reaction time was 0.045, enabling him to reach the line first against Atchison's 5.910/241.58 with a 0.115 reaction time.
The Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car finalists, Scott Kalitta and Gary Densham, could not make the call for the final as both drivers left Norwalk Raceway Park to keep previous commitments.
The next event on the 2006 eMax Drag Racing Series is the Amalie Oil North American Nationals presented by New England Dodge Dealers, September 8-10, at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.