Rockingham victory a long time coming for Goforth family When Cary Goforth entered the 2009 racing season, he knew that he had a team that could be competitive and possibly contend for a few wins. He just didn't know that it would all ...
Rockingham victory a long time coming for Goforth family
When Cary Goforth entered the 2009 racing season, he knew that he had a team that could be competitive and possibly contend for a few wins.
He just didn't know that it would all happen so fast.
After years of coming close, Goforth finally broke through with his first career victory last weekend at the IHRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway and the reaction as he exited the car told the story of just how long this win has been coming for Goforth and his team.
"Three years of hard work, that is what is going through my head right now. We are living proof that you can buy the best stuff in the world, but if you don't have the people to help you run it, it doesn't do you any good," said an emotionally overcome Goforth. "I have to thank my crew, my mom and my dad most of all.
"I am blessed to be here and for my dad to give me this opportunity is a wonderful deal. If it wasn't for him working some long, sleepless nights while we were in bed, this wouldn't be possible. Without dad and my family I couldn't do any of this."
Goforth's father, Dean, also drives in the Elite Motorsports Pro Stock division and came a fraction of a second from meeting his son in the semi-finals with a trip to the championship on the line. But Frank Gugliotta ended any hopes of a father-son semi-final matchup.
Instead, Cary Goforth met up with Gugliotta in the semis and grabbed a holeshot victory to set up a matchup between Goforth and defending IHRA Pro Stock World Champion Pete Berner in the finals.
"To go against Pete is a very intimidating thing. If you can imagine, it would be like going against Tiger Woods in a golf match. It is just crazy," Goforth said. "You are overwhelmed and you just hope you can do good enough just to stay with him."
But just staying with the defending champ wasn't good enough for Goforth.
With his first victory hanging in the balance, Goforth laid it all on the line in the final and the two veterans produced the best race of the weekend and possibly the most exciting race of the entire year.
The two cars were welded together from one end of the track to the other with neither able to gain an advantage during the most intense six seconds of Goforth's life.
"I am looking out the side during that race and I am thinking that the finish line can't come soon enough. It looked like they added 30 or 40 more feet of finish line," Goforth said with a laugh.
And exactly 6.357 seconds and 1,320 feet later it was Goforth picking up his first ever Ironman trophy by an incredible .0072 margin, or roughly two feet at the line.
"To be honest I didn't even know I had won. They didn't tell me until they got around the corner. The rescue team were the ones patting me on the back," Goforth recalled. "I thought they were lying to me at first, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was still here."
And making the win even more bittersweet for the Oklahoma native was the fact that he had to knock off the defending world champ to do so.
"Beating somebody like Pete in the finals is a big deal for us. We are trying to get to that level. We aren't quite their yet, but we are getting there," Goforth added. "I want to give my props to Pete Berner who is just a wonderful champion. To race him is an honor."
And Rockingham proved to be a double victory for Goforth and this team as they found themselves atop the Elite Motorsports Pro Stock standings after two rounds of the 10-race Nitro Jam schedule.
"I am so proud of my crew and everybody. Everybody did a fabulous job for me," Goforth said. "I could not do any of this if they are not turning the wrenches on the car."
With the win, Goforth has racked up an impressive 6-1 win-loss record with his only setback coming in the semi-finals at Baton Rouge against John Montecalvo. Goforth is leading the Pro Stock standings with 185 points, 32 markers ahead of Berner. Baton Rouge winner Jason Collins is third with 146 points.
Cary's father Dean currently sits ninth in the standings with 78 points.
"I don't see us slowing down any. I don't know how many wins we can get in a season, but I can tell you that we are going to keep the pressure on," Goforth said.
With his first win behind him and currently sitting atop the IHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock standings, Goforth says he looks forward to riding this early momentum all the way back to Rockingham in the fall for the IHRA World Finals.
And Goforth says he can't wait to return to The Rock.
"The Rockingham experience for me, whether in the spring or the fall, has been great. I was telling some people how good this place has been to me. I qualified for my first ever national event here, I made my first semi-final round here and now I have picked up my first win here," Goforth said. "Rockingham is a facility that has been awful good to me and you just have those kinds of tracks."'
In the meantime, Goforth plans on racing in a few other series in between Nitro Jam events to help get the car in the best shape possible for making a run at the IHRA title.
"This is my home and our choice is to be here and run that other deal when we can. This is where we want to be, chasing a championship with the IHRA," Goforth stated.
Next up for Goforth is to pack up and head south for the IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals May 29-31 at the brand new jewel of the Midwest, Dallas Raceway.
"The Lord has blessed me with a little bit of talent and we are going to see what we can do with it," Goforth said. "We are going to take this momentum and run with it."