Rockingham World Finals preview

Title chase at the Rock Pro Stock Title On Line at Rockingham World Finals ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- The closest points chase in Pro Stock drag racing history will be decided Oct. 20-22 when Rockingham Dragway plays host to more than 700 of the...

Title chase at the Rock
Pro Stock Title On Line at Rockingham World Finals

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- The closest points chase in Pro Stock drag racing history will be decided Oct. 20-22 when Rockingham Dragway plays host to more than 700 of the nation's top straight-line racers in the ninth annual Bethesda Softworks World Finals, concluding event in the 2004 IHRA Hooters Series.

In addition to the duel for the factory Hot Rod championship, the season finale also will provide Clay Millican will an opportunity to write another piece of history at the wheel of the all-conquering Werner Enterprises Top Fuel dragster in which he has won four consecutive IHRA titles.

Millican, who already owns most of the Top Fuel records in the sport including those for consecutive victories (10 in 2002) and victories in a single season (11, also in 2002), will be trying to win at Rockingham for the seventh consecutive time, a streak that dates back to 2001. No one ever has won seven straight times at one racetrack.

As for the Pro Stock championship, it will come down to a one-on-one duel between John Nobile and John Montecalvo, friends off the track but arch rivals on it. The two New York drivers are separated by just 10 championship points in a duel with far-reaching implications.

If Nobile holds on to win, he'll become the eighth different Ford driver to win the championship in 10 straight seasons of Ford dominance.

If Montecalvo wins, he'll become the first Chevrolet champion since 1992 when Billy Huff drove a Chevy Beretta to the title. Huff also was the last to win the title in a General Motors product, prevailing in a Olds Cutlass in 1994.

Nobile's bid for the title may be the most unlikely in history.

Until this season, he never had won an event on either the IHRA or NHRA circuit. In fact, before the 2004 campaign, Nobile was known more for his dogged persistence than for his dominating performance. In fact, he once went an entire season on the rival NHRA circuit without even qualifying for a race. He was 0-for-23.

This year, though, with a new Ford Escort ZX2 beneath him and momentum behind him, the Dix Hills, N.Y., businessman has put himself in a position to make IHRA history.

Runner-up to Montecalvo in last April's Spring Nationals, Nobile used his consistency, a national record-setting 6.473 second quarter mile at Richmond, Va., and a breakthrough victory at Epping, N.H., to move around the Chevy driver and into the points lead for the first time in his career.

In addition to Top Fuel and Pro Stock, World Finals champions also will be crowned in Pro Modified, Top Fuel Harley-Davidson, Funny Car and eight Mr. Gasket sportsman categories including Top Dragster and Top Sportsman.

Racing begins Friday with the first of two "Night of Fire" qualifying sessions presented by the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority. In addition to pro qualifying, the 7 p.m. show will feature Bob Motz and the "Original Jet Truck," a jet-powered Kenworth tractor, wheelstanders and a fireworks display.

A second "Night of Fire" qualifying show is scheduled for the same time on Saturday with single elimination finals beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Tickets for the finale are available at the Rockingham Dragway ticket office or by phone at 910-582-3400. General admission tickets are $35 Friday, $40 Saturday and $35 Sunday. Discount coupons good for $15 off the Sunday admission are available at participating Hooters locations in the Carolinas including those in Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Rock Hill, S.C., and Columbia, S.C.

-ihra-

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About this article
Series Drag
Drivers Clay Millican , Bob Motz , John Nobile , John Montecalvo