Millican and Janis Clinch Championships at Norwalk Norwalk, Ohio - Clay Millican might have won the war, but Doug Foley keeps winning the battles. Foley topped Millican in the Top Fuel Final of the World Nationals presented by PPG at ...
Millican and Janis Clinch Championships at Norwalk
Norwalk, Ohio - Clay Millican might have won the war, but Doug Foley keeps winning the battles.
Foley topped Millican in the Top Fuel Final of the World Nationals presented by PPG at Norwalk Raceway Park Saturday night; his second consecutive finals win over the perennial IHRA Top Fuel bully. He was joined in the winner's circle by Pat Moore (Pro Modified), Jim Sickles (Funny Car) and Mike Bell (Pro Stock).
Millican did clinch his fourth consecutive World Title in the class while Mike Janis clinched the 2004 IHRA Funny Car crown at the rescheduled World Nationals. The Nationals, considered one of the premiere events in the country on the IHRA schedule, were originally held in August but was postponed due to inclement weather.
Millican clinched his fourth consecutive title just by showing up, and Janis captured his second overall-the first coming in 2001.
The win at Norwalk handed Foley his third Iron Man of his rookie season. But the race was not easy--both racers smoked the tires early in their passes and Foley was not sure if he would be able to hang on for the win--especially against an experienced driver like Millican.
"I've never been in a situation where it was a pedal-fest," Foley said. "Clay has a tremendous amount of experience in that type of a situation, and I don't. I took one stab at it, looked to my side and he wasn't there, so I just kept going."
Getting down the track safely was his biggest concern.
"I pedaled it, trying to keep it as safe as I could," Foley said. "But I wasn't going to let up that easy."
Foley and his team hope the momentum can continue into the off-season.
"We want to be one of the major players and be a team player within the IHRA," Foley team owner Tim Lewis said. "We want to be a contender and nobody is more amazed at our progress than we are."
The Pro Modified final was another close race, with Pat Moore just getting the best of Quain Stott by posting a run of 6.31 seconds to Stott's pass at 6.35 seconds.
"We had good lights all day and got the car down the track," Moore said. "Consistency and a good-running car will get you to the Winner's Circle."
But all of the drama wasn't just in the finals. Upsets seemed to be the order of the day as at least one underdog from each professional class made it to the finals. In the Pro Modified semifinals, Pat Moore beat out Mike Janis with an elapsed time of 6.47 seconds at 213 mph. In the second race, Quain Stott defeated Rick Distefano with a pass of 6.21 seconds at 230 mph.
In the Funny Car final, Jim Sickles eked out a win against Frederick Tigges, 5.88 seconds against 5.92 seconds.
"We've been struggling, not on our game," Sickles said. "But we went some rounds and got to the finish line. Get the car from A to B, that wins races and we certainly proved that."
In the Funny Car semis, Jim Sickles defeated reigning champ Rob Atchison with an elapsed time of 5.98 seconds at 237.34 mph. Frederick Tigges defeated Mark Thomas with an elapsed time of 5.86 seconds. This of course ruled out an Atchison/Thomas final, a much anticipated race between the two points leaders.
In Pro Stock, Mike Bell beat out Ron Miller with an elapsed time of 6.52 seconds at 212 mph--his first IHRA national victory of the season.
"It's been a long time coming," Bell said. "I'm really happy because my crew has never won one. This one was for them."
In the Pro Stock semis, Bell's reaction time of .003 got the best of Steve Spiess. In the second Semi, Ron Miller beat Tony Gillig, who had earlier posted a Norwalk Raceway Park elapsed time record at 6.47. Gillig can still be proud of himself, as he made it into the Quartermax 6.40 Club.
While the championships are a foregone conclusion in Top Fuel and Funny Car, the other two professional classes will be down to the wire as IHRA heads down to Rockingham October 22-24 for the Ninth Annual Bethesda Softworks World Finals, the final event on the IHRA calendar.