Rockingham I: Sunday eliminations summary
McClenathan Ends Millican's Dominance at The Rock ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (April 23, 2006) -- Clay Millican had owned Rockingham Dragway for a long time, winning nine consecutive national events heading into the Nicko's NY Style Pizza Spring ...
McClenathan Ends Millican's Dominance at The Rock
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (April 23, 2006) -- Clay Millican had owned Rockingham Dragway for a long time, winning nine consecutive national events heading into the Nicko's NY Style Pizza Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts. One thing about winning streaks...they eventually come to an end.
Cory McClenathan (Lake Havasu City, Ariz.) ended Millican's dominance and won his first eMax Drag Racing Series event when he squeaked by Andrew Cowin (Wrightsville Beach, N.C.). McClenathan became the first driver to visit the Top Fuel winner's circle at Rockingham Dragway since Paul Romine won the 2001 spring race at the track.
The ironic thing is Cowin advanced to the final in the car McClenathan drove in competition last year. Scott Griffin, when he put his Top Fuel team together, purchased much of his equipment from McClenathan's race team, the Carrier Boyz.
"Andrew and I are good friends and there is a strong relationship between Scott Griffin and the Carrier Boyz," McClenathan said. "It was funny because Scott was up in our lounge before the final, we were all up there cutting up and having fun. When do you think the last time two teams were going to the final against each other and they were hanging out in each other's trailer? There is a lot of friendship there. They have a great car and are a great group of guys."
Cowin left early on McClenathan in the final, taking a .044 second advantage at the starting line, but his Serta dragster's engine gave out just past the 1,000-foot mark and McClenathan beat him to the stripe.
"They should have beat us," McClenathan said. "Andrew got me at the stripe and had me at the 1,000 foot mark, but our car didn't give up and his did just a little."
McClenathan ran a 4.712/309.91 pass to top Cowin's 4.786/281.54.
"This means a lot, especially for Mark and Andy Carrier since their father, Larry, founded the IHRA," McClenathan said. "I have won plenty of times in NHRA competition, but this was my first one over here. I always wanted that Ironman and it is going to have a special place in my trophy case."
Jack Wyatt also visited the winner's circle for the first time in eMax Drag Racing Series competition. Wyatt (Corydon, Iowa) topped Vinnie Arcadia (Lancaster, N.Y.) in the Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car final at Rockingham Dragway, posting a 5.033 pass at 290.01 mph.
"The car was very consistent all weekend," Wyatt said. "I really didn't have a run I could point at as being my toughest. The car and crew did a great job and it was great to get a win here at Rockingham. The crowd was incredible this weekend and the fans really treated us well."
Joshua Hernandez was another driver who captured an Ironman for the first time at Rockingham Dragway. Hernandez (Conroe, Tex.) topped Calgary, Alberta resident Glen Kerunsky in the final to take home his first Torco Pro Modified win. Kerunsky won Pro Modified in the first eMax Drag Racing Series event of the season, the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals in San Antonio.
"We just love to race," Hernandez said. "It doesn't matter where we are or what organization we are in, anyone who will let us come and race we're going to do it. We had a really good weekend here and were able to get the win, so that's pretty much all we can ask for."
Hernandez has now won races in both exhibition Pro Modified series, the ADRL and AMS/NHRA, and now has a professional win under his belt. His 6.274/228.07 pass easily put him out in front of Kerunsky, who got out of the groove and had to lift in the final.
Sunday's Torco Pro Stock victory wasn't the first for Tony Gillig (Lake Bluff, Ill.), but it was his first in a very long time. Gillig had not won on the eMax Drag Racing Series circuit since 1998.
"It sure feels good to get the monkey off my back," Gillig said. "It was about time I won one of these. The competition in Pro Stock is so tight and the field so balanced, anyone can win in any round."
Gillig defeated Bert Jackson (Glen Ellen, Va.) by running a 6.499 pass at 203.28 mph. It was Jackson's first career final.
Tom Carter (Cuero, Tex.) moved into an Alcohol Funny Car prior to last season. After finishing fourth in the points standings last season, Carter finally broke through and captured his first Ironman.
"It is all about consistency," Carter said. "I just try to do the same thing every time I get in the car, and it paid off. I don't know what to think right now, it hasn't really sunk in yet. This is great."
Carter defeated Fred Tigges (Holbrook, Mass.) on a holeshot. His elapsed time was worse than Tigges', 5.944 to 5.931, but he made up for it by taking a .049 advantage at the tree.
The next event on the 2006 eMax Drag Racing Series is the MOPAR Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol, June 2 -- 4, at Grand (Ontario) Bend Motorplex.