Due to several rain delays, Sunday's final rounds of the 8th Annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals were broadcast live on ESPN. Route 66 Raceway in Joliet is known for its fast racing surface, but no records were broken this weekend as the...
Due to several rain delays, Sunday's final rounds of the 8th Annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals were broadcast live on ESPN. Route 66 Raceway in Joliet is known for its fast racing surface, but no records were broken this weekend as the hot, humid and rainy weather kept the drivers and crew chiefs from achieving higher speeds.
Several upsets took place with no number one qualifiers making it past the second round. Probably the biggest upset of the weekend occurred in the Funny Car elimination bracket. It was definitely a highlight of Dale Creasy, Jr.'s career when he took out No. 2 qualifier John Force in their first round match-up. Creasy is a local driver from Beecher, IL who tuned his own car for the race because he can't afford a crew chief.
Gary Scelzi went on to win the Funny Car championship after defeating Eric Medlen in the final round. He had already taken out Bob Gilbertson, No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight and Tommy Johnson, Jr. to reach the finals. Scelzi earned valuable points to close the gap on POWERade championship points leader Force.
Chicago-area native and No. 1 qualifier Tony Schumacher blasted down the quarter mile at 333.33 MPH in 4.500 seconds achieving the low E.T. of the weekend during the first round of Top Fuel eliminations. But that's as far as The Sarge would go on the bracket. He was upset by another Chicago native, part-time driver Rod Fuller in the second round.
Scott Kalitta defeated Fuller in the finals to win the trophy. Kalitta picked up his 18th career victory beating Morgan Lucas, Cousin Doug Kalitta and Larry Dixon to reach the final round.
In Pro Stock there was no King Demon Crown "Double-Up" bonus for Dave Connolly. Jason Line defeated V Gaines in the first round and met Connolly in the second round, repeating The Crown finals match-up from Saturday. But this time there was no foul and Line prevailed. Line then defeated Richie Stevens to reach the finals. Line narrowly defeated Jeg Coughlin in the final round with an amazing .0015 margin of victory.
Warren Johnson was leading the Pro Stock championship points competition going into this event, but lost in the first round to the 16th qualifier Bruce Allen. That gave Greg Anderson room to move up to first in the championship chase with his two round wins this weekend.
Pro Stock Motorcycles have had five events and so far no driver has repeated a final round appearance. Chip Ellis won his 2nd career event on the POWERade Tour with a victory over Geno Scali in the finals. Ellis defeated Craig Treble, Ryan Schnitz and Angelle Sampey in earlier rounds. Scali defeated championship points leader GT Tonglet in the first round of eliminations keeping the points chase highly competitive in this class.
POWERade teams will now pack up and head east toward Englishtown, NJ for the 36th Annual K&N Supernationals held June 16-19 at Old Bridge Township vRaceway Park.