Rockingham eliminations summary

Millican Wins Top Fuel at U.S. Sports Spring Nationals Rockingham, N.C. (April 25, 2004) - Clay Millican won the 34th Annual U.S. Sports Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts and Castrol Sunday at Rockingham ...

Millican Wins Top Fuel at U.S. Sports Spring Nationals

Rockingham, N.C. (April 25, 2004) - Clay Millican won the 34th Annual U.S. Sports Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts and Castrol Sunday at Rockingham Dragway. Millican, of Drummonds, Tenn., ran the quarter-mile in 4.636-seconds at 310.41 mph during the final round against Danny Dunn.

Mike Janis, Lancaster, N.Y., Pro Modified; Mark Thomas, Louisville, Ohio, Funny Car; and John Montecalvo, Center Moriches, N.Y., Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock were winners in their respective categories.

Qualified No. 1, Millican faced Bobby Lagana, Jr. in the first round. Millican made the quickest pass of the round, defeating Lagana with a 4.616 ET at 311.34 mph. His second round opponent was Chris Karamesines, who failed to make the round. Millican ran an uncontested 4.806 and then won in the final round against Dunn, who did his burnout and then continued to the end of the track.

Millican made the quickest pass in IHRA history Friday night at 4.550, but failed to back it up to claim the record. The qualified eight-car field was the quickest in IHRA history, with the bump-spot at 4.875-seconds. Millican is now tied with Rickie Smith for the most career IHRA wins at 32.

"It was a good day," said Millican. "Mike (Kloeber, Millican's crew chief) continues to amaze me. This was a big day for us because we were running the new Goodyear tire and we were able to learn a lot."

Dunn, of Wilkesboro, N.C., began the day qualified second, and defeated newcomer Rick Cooper in round one with a 4.773, 306.88. He faced Bruce Litton round two and made a great pass at 4.740, 304.74, but lost to Millican in the final.

Janis, last year's Pro Modified event winner, started the day qualified third and defeated Mike Castellana in round one. He faced Glen Kerunsky round two. Kerunsky won the last race in San Antonio, Texas, but Janis got the best of him here, combining a great reaction time of 0.003 and an ET of 6.198 to take the win. He defeated Rick Distefano in the semifinals to advance to the finals against Billes. Janis won the final round in his seven-year-old car with a 6.274, 227.69.

"We were struggling when we first got here," said Janis. "We tried different transmission ratios, working on the motor all weekend. We were busy down there and we finally found the right combination to get the win."

Billes, qualified fifth, took out Steve Salvadore in round one with a 6.221, 227.11. He then defeated Billy Harper to advance to the semifinals against former world champion Scotty Cannon. Cannon took the early lead off the starting line, but lost traction half track and Billes won the round. He met Janis in the final round, the same match-up here in 2003.

Current Funny Car points leader and multiple-world champion Mark Thomas defeated John Bojec in round one with a 5.866, 237.92 and faced Neale Parker in round two. Thomas had the better reaction time and ran the quarter-mile in 5.892-seconds to take the win. He defeated Terry McMillen to advance to the final round with Chris Foster. Thomas defeated Foster with a 6.043 to take his second consecutive win of the season and second consecutive at this event.

"In all my years racing, even my championship years, I've never won the first two races," said Thomas. "The car is running great and my reaction times have really improved. This start really motivates the team to do well and builds morale.

"All of a sudden, I have the confidence to win again."

Foster won round one to a red-lighting David Ray and took out Chris Sipple round two with a 5.967 ET. He then faced Dan Roman in round three. Roman was unable to make the call, and Foster ran a 6.761 to advance to the final against Thomas.

In Sunoco Pro Stock, No. 3 qualifier Montecalvo, fresh off his win last month in San Antonio, took out Floyd Cheek in round one and a red-lighting Tony Gillig in round two. He went on to face Pete Berner in the semifinal round and cut an amazing 0.006 reaction time and covered the quarter-mile in 6.510-seconds to advance to the final round against John Nobile. The pair met last month at the Texas Nationals, with Montecalvo taking the win. The result today was the same, as Montecalvo ran a 6.522, 212.66 to Nobile's 6.552, 212.23.

"This is absolutely unexplainable," said Montecalvo. "I never dreamed to win two in a row and come out strong like this. I kept drilling it in my head that we had to get a strong start. And I don't think you can start much stronger than this.

"There's no doubt in my mind John (Nobile) is going to win one sometime this season."

Nobile started the day No. 1 qualifier and remained consistent all day. In round one he ran a 6.496 ET to take out Carl Baker. Round two he faced Ron Miller. Nobile recorded a 6.510 to win the round and advanced to the semifinals against Elijah Morton. Morton made a good pass, 6.551, but it wasn't enough to top Nobile's 6.530.

The next event on the 2004 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series is the 4th Annual ACDelco Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, Richmond, Va., May 28 - 30.


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About this article
Series Drag
Drivers Mike Janis , Mark Thomas , Clay Millican , Bruce Litton , Tony Gillig , John Nobile , Chris Karamesines , Scotty Cannon , Rickie Smith , Glen Kerunsky