Jason Cannon Gainesville summary

Cannon opens year with win at home track GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Defending Division 2 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Jason Cannon opened the 2004 season the way he finished 2003, taking a win at the Division 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series opener at...

Cannon opens year with win at home track

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Defending Division 2 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Jason Cannon opened the 2004 season the way he finished 2003, taking a win at the Division 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series opener at Gainesville Raceway this past weekend. The win didn't come easy for the former Super Comp champ as the team had to overcome much adversity to take the win.

Cannon, from just down the road in Middleburg, Fla., qualified his Caps Coach & Trailer/InsideTopAlcohol.com backed blown alcohol dragster third in the field with a 5.397 second time at 260.64 mph in the opening session. Problems ensued from there.

"We spun the rear main on the .39 pass," said Cannon. "We had enough parts to build a spare motor, but with all the testing we did, we just ran out of time to have the spare ready to go. So we spent all night Saturday night assembling and installing the spare motor."

Cannon never missed a beat with the newly assembled bullet in round one taking out Don Fiorelli with a 5.465 at 261.85 mph. In round two he squared off with Guy Kelly, taking the win with a 5.429 at 249.10 mph, but damaged another motor in the process.

"We broke an intake adjuster early in the run, which made it get real lean in the other cylinders and push the head gaskets out," stated Cannon. "It torched both heads, and we really had to thrash to get it ready for the final. We had the whole Artie Allen crew over helping us get the car back together. We owe them a big thanks, the round would have been tough to make without their help."

Cannon's problems didn't end in the pits, however.

"My clutch guy, J.B. Hudson, noticed in the staging lanes a gap between the two transmission housings," Cannon explained. "Not knowing if it was just loose bolts or an indication of internal damage, we decided to change transmissions in the lanes. I was suiting up and strapping in as they were putting the new transmission in. We also had to make some tune-up changes for the different ratio."

Cannon was ready to go for the final against his opponent, Division 1 racer Rich McPhillips. Cannon would not be denied the win as he took the lead off the line and never looked back, running a 5.449 at 262.08 mph to McPhillips' 5.625 at 238.91 mph.

"It feels pretty good to come out and win here at my home track," Cannon said. "I grew up bracket racing out here since I was 16. We owe a lot of thanks to Artie Allen and his team for the help they gave us before the final, and to Jeff Wilson, who let us borrow a clutch at the last minute, since our Crower clutch was out of certification. It would have been hard without them."

"It was a big uplift to this team to pull this win off," stated team Crew Chief, Will Hanna. "Our back was up against the wall all week. We thrashed all week just to get the car ready after the big wheelstand we did last weekend in testing. Then the late night work, the thrashing between rounds, is just a testament to this crew, J.B. Hudson, Tracy Alvers, John Hammill and Mac McLean. Phil, Jason's dad, also is a big help at the track, not to mention giving us the means to go fast. We hurt a lot of parts this weekend, but I think we got a handle on the causes, and hopefully won't have too many more weekends like this."

The next race for the Cannon team will be right back in Gainesville for the Mac Tools Gatornationals, Mar. 18-21. Stay tuned to InsideTopAlcohol.com for the latest news in alcohol racing.

-cr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Guy Kelly , Jeff Wilson