Milan: Final eliminations summary
Creasy Jr. Clinches Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Funny Car Title Cannon Earns Second Top Fuel Win; Litton Closes In On Zizzo MILAN, Michigan (September 23, 2007) -- Dale Creasy Jr., Beecher, Ill., earned his sixth win of the Knoll Gas Nitro Funny Car ...
Creasy Jr. Clinches Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Funny Car Title
Cannon Earns Second Top Fuel Win; Litton Closes In On Zizzo
MILAN, Michigan (September 23, 2007) -- Dale Creasy Jr., Beecher, Ill., earned his sixth win of the Knoll Gas Nitro Funny Car season to clinch his second-consecutive IHRA world championship, with two events remaining in the season. Creasy Jr. defeated Bob Gilbertson in the Suzuki Motor City Nationals presented by GM Performance Division and Heritage Newspapers final round on a holeshot advantage to win the race.
Other professional winners include Scotty Cannon (Top Fuel), Mike Janis (Pro Modified), Rob Atchison (Alcohol Funny Car) and Jeff Dobbins (Pro Stock).
Creasy Jr., who prior to 2006 had never even won a race, tied-up his second world championship in two years by running a 4.977 ET, 306.95 mph, to Gilbertson's better 4.962, 321.12. The difference came at the starting line, as Creasy had the better reaction -- 0.081 to 0.145. Gilbertson tried to run him down, but couldn't catch him.
"I don't think I've ever won on a holeshot," said Creasy Jr. "I can't think of a better way to clinch the championship than running a 4.99 and a holeshot, with two races left to go. Last year was fun when it went down to the end and it kept the fans happy, but this way is easier and less stressful."
Cannon, Lyman, S.C., advanced to his second Knoll Gas Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel final of the season by defeating points leader T.J. Zizzo in round one and Canadian Todd Paton in round two. By taking out Zizzo, Cannon, who came into this race third, opened the door take make up some ground toward the world championship chase.
His final round opponent was Bruce Litton, who entered the race second behind Zizzo. If Litton won the race, he'd jump to the points lead. He had the reaction time advantage, but Cannon was too quick, covering the track in 4.640 seconds at 320.58 mph to Litton's 4.692, 315.93.
"The car has been coming around, the crew is doing a good job and I'm trying to drive it as best I can. It just takes some time to put it all together," said Cannon. "As a whole today, I felt good and the same going into the final. When you race for (team sponsor) Evan Knoll, he has so many good teams and crew chiefs...it helps. It's good to be part of a team where you have more than one guy doing it all, and it's definitely helped our team."
Janis, Lancaster, N.Y., started the day qualified fourth in Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified and dispatched Mike Stawicki and Pat Stoken in rounds one and two. His third round opponent was points leader Scott Cannon Jr. Cannon had a huge reaction time advantage, but Janis stayed in it and covered the quarter-mile in 6.616 seconds to Cannon's 6.895 to advance to the finals against Burton Auxier. Janis was in his third final of the year; Auxier, his first since 2005. Janis would used a 6.206, 218.97 to take the win, his second of the season.
"What a great race for this entire team," said Janis. "We've come a long way this season and to put this car into another win, in a field like this that is always so tight and competitive, shows how hard we've worked."
Janis entered the event No. 5 in the points, but, with this win, jumped to second behind Cannon Jr. Stoken would fall to fourth, Ed Hoover third.
Atchison's road to the final started against first-round opponent Dale Brand, who used a 5.649 ET Saturday during qualifying to take the No. 1 spot and set the world ET record. However, in round one it was all Atchison, as he had the reaction time advantage and covered the track in 5.856 seconds to advance to the semifinals against points leader Mark Thomas. Atchison, London, Ontario, again had a slight lead off the line and crossed the finish in 5.818, 243.33 to take out Thomas.
Atchison met fellow London-resident Paul Noakes in the final. So far this season Noakes was 2-0 against Atchison in final rounds. However, Atchison, himself a former three-time world champion, had the better car today and beat Noakes with a 5.885, 245.45, to take his second race of the year.
"It's been a crazy season so far, and this is an important win for this team," said Atchison. "It feels so good to be back in the winner's circle and cut into the points chase with Mark (Thomas)."
Dobbins, who finished qualifying Saturday night not even in the Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Pro Stock field but as No. 17 qualifier, was ready to make the call Sunday as first alternate when Ron Miller withdrew before round one. Dobbins, Wilmington, N.C., took out Rob Mansfield in round one, then defeated a red-lighting John Montecalvo to advance to the semifinals to face John Nobile. Dobbins, known for quick reaction times, had the race off the line and took the round with a 6.885.
In the final round, Dobbins faced Brian Gahm, who had set the world speed record in the semifinals with a 222.03. The reaction time went to Dobbins -- 0.061 to 0.288 -- and he won on a holeshot, covering the quarter-mile in 6.340 seconds to Gahm's 6.339. Ironically, Gahm bettered the world record at 222.66 in the losing effort.
"This was a great team effort today," said Dobbins. "To go from not even in the field, to winning a few rounds, and then winning the race? I'm just blown away how it all happened."
The next event on the $19.5 million Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series is the Torco Racing Fuels President's Cup Nationals, September 28 -- 30, at Maryland International Raceway. For more information, log onto www.ihra.com.