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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Litton Takes Top Fuel Title at
IHRA Carquest Empire Nationals

By Larry Sullivan, SUMMIT FastNews

Leicester, NY - Bruce Litton in Top Fuel, Quain Stott in Mopar Performance Parts Pro Modified, Jimmy Rector in ihra.com Funny Car, Jay Turner in Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley, Ron Miller in Sunoco Pro Stock and Mike Decker in Pro Outlaw were Professional class winners at the 12th Annual CARQUEST Empire Nationals at New York International Raceway Park, the fifth of 11 events comprising the Summit Drag Racing Series.

The Top Fuel final was over before it began as Paul Romine left the line early, allowing Litton to coast to an easy 4.842/257.80 win.

"This has been a great weekend and race for the team," said an elated Litton. "I have truly been blessed with the best car and the best crew. The WIX Filters team is dedicated to hard work and getting as much luck as we can along the way.

"I thought I saw Paul redlight and was fortunate to win the race. When you race Paul you know he's always going to be there."

Romine, who failed to qualify for the 1999 race and spent the race as a television commentator was philosophical about the loss.

"The CARQUEST team was ready for the Empire Nationals, trust me!" Romine said, "Last year's event was a disaster for us. Not only did I want to win for my sponsor, but right now, the IHRA Top Fuel field is the most competitive its been in a long time. We needed the victory to stay ahead of (Bruce) Litton, (Clay) Millican and (Jim) Bailey. I congratulate Bruce and we'll get ready for Michigan."

After five events, Romine narrowly leads Litton in the quest for the $200,000 Top Fuel championship purse, 543 to 537 points.

Millican, third in IHRA Top Fuel points (448) lost to Litton's WIX Filters dragster in the semis by nine-thousandths of a second, about four feet. "The run itself was pretty good," commented Millican. "The car made a good lap and I lost by nine thousandths; it reminded me of some of my losses when I raced in Modified. I lost on the tree."

Romine moved into the final by defeating Jim Head, who redlit.

IHRA's Pro Modified class has been the source of controversy over the new rules directed toward slowing the blown cars. Prior to the event, the supercharged combination was hit with a new set of regulations that mandated that all would have to run a three-speed transmission and a 4.57 or less rearend gear ratio. Additionally the blown cars were increased in weight by 50 pounds while the nitrous-injected entries were granted a weight break of the same.

When the flurry of controversy cleared, it provided a storybook final round with two of the each engine combination's most outspoken drivers meeting in the final. Quain Stott, 40, of Inman, SC., defeated the radical 1949 Mercury owned by Native American Johnny Rocca and driven by Australian Troy Critchley. Rocca's entry is powered with a supercharged engine.

"They (blower cars) probably feel the same way about these rules as we did about the introduction of the high-helix blower in 1998," explained Stott, whose last victory came at the 1999 CARQUEST Autumn Nationals. "It looks like these rules are hurting them as much as it hurt us back in 1998."

Jimmy Rector defeated Scott Weney in the Funny Car final, 5.941/226.47 to 6.092/182.29. Weney's body separated from the chassis at 1200 feet following a blower explosion, with Rector taking evasive action to miss the body as it crashed down on the track."

"I thought I saw the body fly by me and it was close," said the Vernon, Alabama who moved into third place in the IHRA Summit points. "I moved her to the side of the track."

Rector, who recently celebrated his 37th birthday and drove a Top Fuel dragster for the first time as a birthday present, will contest IHRA races at Epping, Rockingham and Shreveport in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.

"I'll drive the Top Fuel car as much as they'll let me," explained Rector. "Obviously, my first priority is winning the Funny Car championship in 2000."

Rector is third in points, with 377 points, behind Von Smith with 394 and Scott Weney with 438.

Jay Turner won his third Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley race of the season, defeating Doug Vancil in the final, 6.637/209.01 to 6.596/207.08. Turner, the Nitro Harley points leader has won the Empire Nationals title two years in a row.

"This is the first time we have ever repeated and it's special. The racing gods smile on you some days and this was one of them," added the Whitsett, NC native.

Cordova winner Steve Stordeur and runner-up Johnny Mancuso were eliminated in the first round, putting Team Mancuso on the trailer early. "It shows how competitive Nitro Harley is," said a dejected Mancuso. "One week you're the hero, the next week you're the goat."

Turner, who celebrated his 34th birthday at New York International has built a big lead in Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley, leading Mancuso 526 to 393.

Ron Miller pulled off a Pro Stock "hat trick," winning his third Sunoco Pro Stock race in a row by defeating John Montecalvo 6.723/206.23 to 6.692/207.42. The Lebanon, Ohio engine builder holds a narrow lead over Montecalvo in the points, 427 to 394.

"The car is consistent and working well," exclaimed Miller. "When you're on a roll, good things happen. The Moser crew is working well together but there is still a long way to go in the championship."

In Pro Outlaw, Mike Decker of Louisville, KY won his first race ever, defeating Mick Snyder 6.122/218.44 to 6.189/223.60 in the final. Decker, runner-up at the Amalie Oil Summer Nationals in Cordova, has become a contender for the Pro Outlaw title in his Spitzer/Chevy, trailing points leader Laurie Cannister by 89 points, 349 to 438.

"I knew I had to stay focused, because Mick is tough," said Decker. "But I've been number one qualifier for the last two races with my Jim Lyons prepared engines and felt this could be my day.

"I've been thinking about this for a long time," Decker added. "It was my turn and I earned it. My dad and I have four bottles of champagne waiting for us at the trailer. After all, he's the guy who made this possible."

The finals of the Empire Nationals were delayed by a steady drizzle that set the schedule back two hours.

The next race in the Summit Drag Racing Series is the CARQUEST Northern Nationals at the Mid Michigan Motorplex, Stanton, MI, August 4-6, 2000.

LEICESTER, N.Y. -- Sunday's final results from the 12th annual CARQUEST Empire Nationals at New York International Raceway Park, the fifth of 11 events in the IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Bruce Litton, 4.842 seconds, 257.80 mph def. Paul Romine, foul.

Mopar Pro Modified -- Quain Stott, Chevy Corvette, 6.344, 222.05 def. Troy Critchley, Mercury, 6.525, 212.71.

ihra.com Funny Car -- Jimmy Rector, Dodge Avenger, 5.941, 226.47 def. Scott Weney, Pontiac Firebird, 6.092, 182.29.

Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley -- Jay Turner, 6.637, 209.01 def. Doug Vancil, 6.596, 207.08.

Sunoco Pro Stock -- Ron Miller, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.723, 206.23 def. John Montecalvo, Monte Carlo, 6.692, 207.42.

Pro Outlaw -- Mike Decker, 6.122, 218.44 def. Mick Snyder, 6.189, 223.60.

Omega Performance TS Shootout -- Mike Janis, Chevy Corvette, 6.509, 215.51 def. Jim Gleason, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.899, 197.75.

Annihilator Top Sportsman -- Elijah Morton, Pontiac Firebird, 7.734, 179.92 def. Gary Bingham, Pontiac Trans Am, foul.

NOS Top Dragster -- Rich Coury Jr., 6.768, 195.22 def. Mike DiDomenico, broke.

Hooker Modified -- Anthony Bertozzi, Dragster, 7.741, 169.39 def. Robert Staton, Dragster, 7.831, 169.93.

Dominator Quick Rod -- Mike Fuqua, Dragster, 8.915, 161.37 def. Slate Cummings, Dragster, 8.901, 171.26.

Holley Team G Super Rod -- Bob Bielaszka, Pontiac Grand Prix, 9.895, 141.57 def. Glenn Ferguson, Ford Maverick, foul.

Weiand Hot Rod -- Glenn Ferguson, Ford Fairlane, 10.886, 123.96 def. John Furr, Chevy Nova, foul.

Lunati Super Stock -- Anthony Bertozzi, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.617, 141.30 def. Bob Harris, Chevy Camaro, 10.004, 131.21.

Earl's Stock -- Mark Beaver, Ford Mustang, 11.489, 112.48 def. Bob Letellier, Chevy Nova, 12.026, 108.86.

LEICESTER, N.Y. -- Final round-by-round results from the 12th annual CARQUEST Empire Nationals at New York International Raceway Park, the fifth of 11 events in the IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE -- Paul Romine, 5.085, 284.72 def. Louie Allison, 5.509, 186.79; Clay Millican, 4.945, 296.63 def. J.R. Todd, 4.968, 295.27; Bruce Litton, 4.910, 280.72 def. Bobby Lagana, 5.663, 213.11; Jim Head, 4.894, 291.54 def. Jim Bailey, 8.605, 93.80; SEMIFINALS -- Litton, 4.823, 300.30 def. Millican, 4.816, 303.64; Romine, 5.581, 257.21 def. Head, foul; FINAL -- Litton, 4.842, 257.80 def. Romine, foul.

NITRO FUEL HARLEY:

ROUND ONE -- Jim McClure, 6.610, 211.96 def. Jack Romine, 7.381, 151.41; Jay Turner, 6.685, 206.23 def. Bill Furr, 6.667, 201.65; Doug Vancil, 6.722, 207.27 def. Steve Stordeur, 7.565, 190.51; Mike Romine, 6.782, 197.10 def. Johnny Mancuso, broke; SEMIFINALS -- Turner, 6.759, 205.05 def. McClure, 6.755, 205.24; Vancil, 6.626, 203.34 def. M. Romine, 7.154, 175.47; FINAL -- Turner, 6.637, 209.01 def. Vancil, 6.596, 207.08.

PRO MODIFIED:

ROUND ONE -- Brian Gahm, Willys, 6.464, 214.89 def. Dale Brinsfield, Chevy Camaro, 6.518, 216.45; Shannon Jenkins, Dodge Viper, 6.453, 219.35 def. Mike Castellana, Chevy Bel Air, broke; Quain Stott, Corvette, 6.385, 221.23 def. Tommy Mauney, Willys, 6.527, 220.10; Troy Critchley, Mercury, 6.621, 214.23 def. Steve Cossis, Chevy Corvette, 6.562, 217.28; Harold Martin, Firebird, 6.496, 216.39 def. Tim McAmis, Corvette, 6.444, 217.54; John Bartunek, Corvette, 6.554, 216.91 def. Ed Hoover, Corvette, 6.442, 219.35; Fred Hahn, Corvette, 6.457, 221.67 def. Ronnie Hood, Corvette, 6.436, 21.82; Pat Moore, Bel Air, 6.460, 218.49 def. Al Billes, Studebaker, 6.516, 216.29; QUARTERFINALS -- Martin, 6.521, 217.28 def. Bartunek, foul; Q. Stott, 6.361, 221.89 def. Gahm, 6.436, 216.60; Jenkins, 6.464, 218.65 def. Moore, 6.443, 219.40; Critchley, 6.636, 217.65 def. Hahn, foul; SEMIFINALS -- Critchley, 6.474, 219.88 def. Jenkins, 6.463, 218.87; Q. Stott, 6.403, 219.56 def. Martin, 11.074, 88.33; FINAL -- Q. Stott, 6.344, 222.05 def. Critchley, 6.525, 212.71.

ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE -- Scott Weney, Pontiac Firebird, 5.943, 235.54 def. Von Smith, Firebird, 6.056, 236.96; David Rowe, Olds Cutlass, 6.102, 230.59 def. Billy Gibson, Chevy Camaro, 6.017, 235.23; Jim Lape, Camaro, 6.036, 226.70 def. Paul Athey, Corvette, 6.233, 211.66; Jimmy Rector, Dodge Avenger, 5.919, 236.90 def. Andy Kelley, Avenger, broke; Terry Munroe, Firebird, 5.970, 233.70 def. Santo Volpe, Ford Crown Vic, 6.112, 230.82; Fred Tigges, Camaro, 6.066, 235.54 def. Mark Thomas, Avenger, 10.484, 72.21; Dale Brand, Firebird, 6.025, 231.60 def. Herb Rodgers, Ford Mustang, 6.153, 227.50; Adam Szeler, Achieva, 6.028, 230.59 def. Paul Noakes, Mustang, 6.269, 225.16; QUARTERFINALS -- Rector, 5.920, 238.22 def. Szeler, 6.106, 228.42; Munroe, 5.956, 232.91 def. Tigges, 6.361, 223.71; Weney, 5.935, 236.28 def. Brand, 6.331, 202.33; Lape, 8.737, 102.82 def. Rowe, foul; SEMIFINALS -- Weney, 5.969, 235.84 def. Munroe, 5.953, 234.07; Rector, 5.895, 238.15 def. Rowe, 6.082, 231.95; FINAL -- Rector, 5.941, 226.47 def. Weney, 6.092, 182.29.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE -- Floyd Cheek, Ford Probe, 6.808, 205.47 def. Tim Nabors, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.796, 203.80; Gene Wilson, Probe, 6.805, 205.15 def. Steve Spiess, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.796, 204.68; Carl Baker, Ford Thunderbird, 6.740, 205.15 def. Bob Holzer, Pontiac Firebird, 6.844, 204.40; Dwayne Rice, Firebird, 6.747, 204.96 def. Angelo Alesci, Monte Carlo, 6.857, 197.10; Ron Miller, Monte Carlo, 6.751, 205.71 def. Chris Holbrook, Cutlass, 10.511, 129.75; Jon Yoak, Probe, 6.759, 207.61 def. Chuck Demory, Probe, 6.854, 202.70; John Montecalvo, Monte Carlo, 6.746, 206.51 def. Ed Machacek, Firebird, 6.815, 203.71; Tom Lee, Ford Mustang, 6.744, 205.43 def. Robert Killian, Probe, 6.864, 202.88; QUARTERFINALS -- Miller, 6.746, 206.13 def. Rice, 6.748, 205.15; Montecalvo, 6.752, 206.37 def. Wilson, 6.825, 205.47; Lee, 6.736, 206.75 def. Cheek, 6.809, 205.85; Baker, 6.743, 206.23 def. Yoak, 6.741, 208.33; SEMIFINALS -- Montecalvo, 6.718, 206.61 def. Baker, 6.753, 205.38; Miller, 6.726, 206.23 def. Lee, 6.693, 206.89; FINAL -- Miller, 6.723, 206.23 def. Montecalvo, 6.692, 207.42.

PRO OUTLAW:

ROUND ONE -- Laurie Cannister, Dragster, 6.198, 215.87 def. Randy Fraker, Dragster, 7.359, 144.11; Neal Parker, Fiat, 6.120, 219.88 def. Charlie Gambino, Dragster, 6.512, 210.52; Mick Snyder, Dragster, 6.163, 225.84 def. Ed Lyons, Dragster, 7.821, 124.46; Mike Decker, Dragster, 6.176, 218.23 def. Jim Walter, Dragster, 7.371, 126.45; QUARTERFINALS -- Decker, 6.128, 220.42 def. Cannister, 6.195, 216.13; Snyder, 6.181, 223.60 def. Parker, broke; SEMIFINALS -- Decker, 6.122, 218.44 def. Snyder, 6.189, 223.60. 

LEICESTER, N.Y. -- Point standings (top 5) for IHRA professional categories following the 12th annual CARQUEST Empire Nationals at New York International Raceway Park, the fifth of 11 events in the IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

1. Paul Romine, 543; 2. Bruce Litton, 537; 3. Clay Millican, 448; 4. Jim Head, 405; 5. Jim Bailey, 334.

NITRO HARLEY:

1. Jay Turner, 526; 2. Johnny Mancuso, 393; 3. Steve Stordeur, 391; 4. Doug Vancil, 328; 5. Bill Furr, 244.

PRO MODIFIED:

1. Fred Hahn, 433; 2. Quain Stott, 286; 3. Ed Hoover, 259; 4. Troy Critchley, 255; 5. Al Billes, 236.

FUNNY CAR:

1. Scott Weney, 438; 2. Von Smith, 394; 3. Jimmy Rector, 377; 4. Dale Brand, 259; 5. Billy Gibson, 221.

PRO STOCK:

1. Ron Miller, 427; 2. John Montecalvo, 394; 3. Jon Yoak, 360; 4. Steve Spiess, 314; 5. Tom Lee, 291.

PRO OUTLAW:

1. Laurie Cannister, 438; 2. Mick Snyder, 413; 3. Neal Parker, 358; 4. Mike Decker, 349; 5. Dave Christensen, 208.

Results provided by the FastNews Network,
courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment
**
http://www.summitracing.com/ **

 

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