Chicago Pontiac Racing Preview

CREASY LOOKING FOR WINDY CITY HEROICS CHICAGO (May 27, 1999) The City of Big Shoulders is the proud home of many famous Chicago sports franchises including the Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks, and the Cubs and White Sox. But one team nestled...

CREASY LOOKING FOR WINDY CITY HEROICS

CHICAGO (May 27, 1999) The City of Big Shoulders is the proud home of many famous Chicago sports franchises including the Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks, and the Cubs and White Sox. But one team nestled in the southside suburban of Lansing, a few miles from the heart of downtown, hope that for just one weekend that maybe they too can give the locals something to cheer about. The Creasy Family Racing team, currently battling for a place in the top 10 of the Winston Funny Car points standings, will roll out their Mad Magazine Pontiac Firebird at the Second annual Fram Route 66 Nationals on June 3-6 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. It is the ninth race on the 22-event NHRA schedule. So far this season, Dale Creasy Jr. has qualified his 6000 horsepower Firebird Funny Car at every one of the NHRA's eight events on the tour registering huge dividends for their low budget operation. Under the paternal guidance of team owner and crew chief Dale Creasy Sr., this friendly band of traveling mercenaries have managed to pull a trio of first round wins out of their magical bag of tricks at Pomona, Dallas and Atlanta. With all of the pressure most teams endure to compete at this level, you can't help but notice that this group is having fun. "We're having a blast but we're also starting to make the runs that will make this Mad Magazine Firebird competitive," Dale Creasy Jr. said. "You've probably noticed that we can usually get down the racetrack when we have to. Sometimes it's not pretty, but every now and then we have the capability to pop a big number and that comes in handy when you're trying to qualify. "A lot of these guys that we're racing on Sunday realize that we know what it takes to get this car down the racetrack. That can be somewhat unnerving to the competition, especially when they realize that if they bobble for just a split second we're going to take them out. It's not fancy, but it works for us. We make the other guy beat us. We've also been very happy with the consistency of the race car and that's what we'll need to win races." Creasy's best performance of the season came at the O'Reilly Nationals in Houston when he qualified 10th and set career best numbers in elapsed time at 5.017 seconds and top speed at 295.21. He is hoping that the track at Route 66 Raceway is equally as hospitable. "We just keep chugging along, qualifying our Firebird Funny car and trying to win rounds," Creasy said. "We'll have an added incentive to do well in Chicago because we'll have a lot of family and friends out. Last year we didn't qualify and that was a huge let down. But this time out we'll be ready."

Look for JCIT Firebird driver Tim Wilkerson to feel right at home at Route 66 Raceway as well. He is also a resident of the "Prairie State" and will make the two-hour drive up I-55 from his home in Springfield. At last year's event, Wilkerson's Terry Manzer-tuned Pontiac qualified second, and just in time for this year's meet, they are starting to hit their stride again qualifying fourth at Richmond, first at Atlanta and third at Englishtown. They advanced to the semi-finals at Englishtown before losing to John Force. "When you look at the talent we have assembled on this team it shouldn't surprise anybody that our performance is starting to get better," Wilkerson said. "We've had some problems with the clutch that we're starting to get a handle on and our goal now is just to get the JCIT Pontiac Firebird down the racetrack. When you get to this time of year when the weather gets hot and sticky, it's hard to run in the low 5-oh or high 4.90s. "Since Route 66 Raceway is so close to my home, I expect that we're going to have a lot of fans turn out for this event. There are a lot of people here in central Illinois who are pulling for us and who plan on turning out for the Route 66 Nationals. I'm going to have my family with me, a lot of friends, and it's a race I'm looking forward to."

Same-day television coverage of the Fram Route 66 Nationals can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 6, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Qualifying highlights can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, June 5, beginning 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Dale Creasy Jr. , Tim Wilkerson