Callaway finishes No. 2 with runner-up ENNIS, Texas - Any other year, former NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Lee Callaway might have added another championship trophy to his mantle with his performance this season. But ...
Callaway finishes No. 2 with runner-up
ENNIS, Texas - Any other year, former NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Lee Callaway might have added another championship trophy to his mantle with his performance this season. But Callaway's resurgence to championship form was overshadowed by one of the most dominating performances in class history by Steve Torrence's run to the World Championship and Division 4 Championship. At this past weekend's Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at the Texas Motorplex just outside of Dallas, Callaway shot past mega-budget heavy-hitters Ashley Force, Aaron Olivarez and Gene Snow to finish second in Division 4 points with a runner-up to Steve Torrence.
Callaway, from Baytown, Texas, qualified his Stacy McLemore tuned machine sixth in the field with a 5.415 at a career-best speed of 264.44 mph. In round one, he took out a tire smoking Olivarez with a 5.522 at 257.38 mph. He then used a holeshot-aided 5.459 at 262.44 mph to defeat Brandon Pierce's 5.454 at 255.49 mph. In the final, Callaway gained a starting line advantage with his blown alcohol dragster, but couldn't hold off Torrence's Tom Conway owned and tuned injected-nitro dragster, running a 5.445 at 260.01 mph to Torrence's 5.315 at 267.27 mph, which was low elapsed time of the event.
"We really have to thank Harry Clack and Will Hanna from the ATC Funny Car team," said Callaway. "We found a problem with our blower right before the second qualifying session and would have been done. They had hurt some parts and were just about to pull out of the racetrack, and were willing to loan us their supercharger. I had loaned them a cylinder head to make the first round at the national, and Harry asked me earlier in the weekend if there was anything he could do to pay me back. We'll I'd say he paid me back and then some. I think we can call it even!"
"We put these new Hoosier 2055 tires on at the national event, and that really helped our tireshake problems," Callaway continued. "We still fought tireshake through eliminations, but I think it would have been a lot worse with the old tires. When the A/Fuelers have you covered by over a tenth, you really have to push the edge. We shook it real hard in the final, but we had it loaded for bear. We knew it was going to take cutting a good light and running a mid .30 to even have a shot at Conway and Torrence, but we just couldn't get there."
Despite not accomplishing his goal of winning another Division 4 Championship, Callaway is still pleased with the season.
"If you take a look at the top six cars in Division 4, it's a really tough group," stated Callaway. "Torrence, Force, Olivarez, Snow and Thompson are all big budget nitro teams. For us to finish second in that crowd with the budget we run on, with a blown car, is still something special. I have to thank the people and companies that made that possible. My Mom (Pat) and Dad (Dickie), brother Johnny, my wife Kim, my son Blaine, Crew Chief Stacy McLemore, Cory Clawson, Robert Aldrete, Henry and Danny Riojas of Tejano Salsa, Will Hanna from InsideTopAlcohol.com, Dewight Pyle of Pyle Brothers Performance Differentials and Wayne Caldwell from Trans Matic. Without their help and support, this would not be possible."
"We're actively seeking sponsors for the 2006 season. We plan to have Chuck Haase' build us a new car and with some additional sponsor help, I think we can make a real run for the Division 4 title and a strong national finish."