US National - Dixon, Force-Hood, Stanfield, and Tonget
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – An exciting week at Indy culminating in the Pro finals on Sunday. Larry Dixon, #1 qualifier, ran against Cory McClenathan in the final on Sunday and emerged victorious with a 3.83s, 319.6 mph blast vs. Cory’s 3.87s, 319.82 mph run. Dixon has had an extraordinary year with Al-Anabi Racing. I guess it is hard to beat a team that has an oil-dynasty backing it!
In Funny Car, it was another family feud with John Force going up against his daughter Ashley. After being the first female Funny Car winner, Ashley again topped her Dad at the start. “This has been an amazing day.” Ashley continued, “Maybe people don’t believe this, but the pressure really is off when you run against a teammate… We were going up there and having fun.”
Greg Stanfield pulled an upset in Pro-Stock. The four-time Super Stock national champion didn’t have an easy path to victory driving his Nitro-Fish Pontiac past Warren Johnson, Jason Line, and finally Allen Johnson in the semi finals. Greg then faced Pro-Stock champion and #1 qualifier Mike Edwards on Sunday. Stanfield pulled an impressive 0.020 s hole shot compared to Edward’s 0.084 s, beating the champ with a slower 6.665 s et – Mike’s et was 6.627 s. “We were struggling a lot earlier in the season,” Greg commented, “but I had promised Kenny that I’d get him at least one Wally this season, and I’m going to give him the trophy right after this race.”
LE Tonglet also pulled an upset beating Andrew Hines in the final round. This was somewhat of a miracle as Tonglet seriously hurt their only motor while running at Brainerd last week. But the team and engine builder – Vance and Hines coincidentally – worked hard to repair the damage. As history is a witness, they did a great job. Tonglet ran a 6.86s, 195.22 pass against Hines’ 6.96s, 194.13 mph. This was Tonglet’s first Indy win.
The other interesting story of the weekend was the Mopar Hemi Challenge on Friday. Always a crowd pleaser, the 24 AH/SS ‘cudas and Challengers raced to claim the title of the “world’s fastest Hemi.” After 2 qualifying rounds on Friday, Charlie Westcott earned top qualifier with an 8.413 s ET. Gary Wolkwitz was second with an 8.546 s time with Charlie Westcott Sr. rounding 3rd place with an 8.59 s run. Saturday was a different story with the Westcott cars nowhere in the pits. The Westcott’s apparently hurt both motors during Thursday’s qualifying. Charlie probably decided that he has said “’nuff” with his dominating run and would fight another day. The final round pitted Dave Barton against his customer Jim Daniels. Both ran impressive times, but Jim Daniels took the win with an impressive 0.018s light.