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Bruce Litton Clinches First Career World Championship with Victory in


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Media Contact: Mike Perry

 

(419) 706-8631

 

mperry@ihra.com

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Litton Clinches First Career World Championship with Victory in Rockingham

 

 

 

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (October 21, 2007) – Veteran Bruce Litton overcame years of championship frustration Sunday, claiming his first IHRA series championship in impressive fashion by winning the Top Fuel championship at the 12th annual Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam World Finals at Rockingham Dragway.

 

 

 

Although he clinched the $150,000 championship with a first round win over veteran Luigi Novelli of Crete, Ill., the 51-year-old Indianapolis businessman closed the deal by stopping six-time former IHRA Pro Modified Champion Scotty Cannon in a classic final round.

 

 

 

Litton won one of three championships that remained undecided entering Sunday’s eliminations, but was the only new champ to also win the race.

 

 

 

Robert Patrick, who won his first Pro Stock title, was beaten in the final round by Jeff Dobbins of Wilmington, N.C., and Mark Thomas, who became the most prolific champion in IHRA, lost to Rob Atchison of London, Ontario, Canada, in the Alcohol Funny Car finale. Mike Janis of Lancaster, N.Y., won the Pro Modified title, falling 15 points shy of the championship.

 

 

 

The door swung wide open for Litton when points leader T.J. Zizzo of Lincolnshire, Ill., was upset in the first round by Ken Jones of Berea, Ky., and the Indiana driver didn’t fumble the opportunity, winning at Rockingham for the first time since winning the Spring Nationals in 2000.

 

 

 

In getting his third win of this season and the 12th of his career, Litton put behind him the bridesmaid tag that had followed him throughout his pro career. In addition to runner-up finishes to Clay Millican in 2002, 2003, 2004, he was third in points in 2000, 2001 and 2005. Now he finally is the Top Fuel champion.

 

 

 

“It’s awesome,” Litton said of the double victory. “(But) I’m very humbled at the same. We’ve had some good cars and some really good teams (in the past) but.I think the key to this season was I got my guys back together. I love these guys and I I think I needed to be surrounded by friends I really trust.

 

 

 

“Second (three times in the past) was okay,” Litton said, “but it wasn’t our goal. This was our goal and we finally achieved it. In fact, we realized all our goals this weekend except for qualifying No. 1. We fell a little short last night but our big goals were to win the race and win the championship.

 

 

 

“They told me right before the final, ‘hang on, it’s gonna be a good one,’” Litton said. “Now they’re back there picking it apart because they thought it should have run high 50s. I just get to drive the car. My crew does all the work.”

 

 

 

In one of the day’s most surprising developments, No. 1 qualifier Pete Berner squandered his chance to repeat as Pro Stock champion when he was guilty of a first round foul start against former champ Brian Gahm of Lucasville, Ohio. Berner’s unexpectedly early exit, which came after he had lowered the Rockingham track record to 6.281 seconds during qualifying, opened the door for Patrick.

 

 

 

Scott Cannon, who locked up his first series championship – and his family’s seventh – by qualifying No. 1 on Saturday, saw his Rockingham winning streak ended in round two by Pat Stoken. The 27-year-old son of six-time Pro Modified champ Scotty Cannon had won his last two starts at The Rock but was victimized Sunday by tire shake that slowed his replica 1966 Pontiac to 6.727 seconds, well off the track record-setting 5.969 he recorded in qualifying.

 

 

 

In the Nitro Funny Car class, someone finally wrestled a Rockingham win away from journeyman Jack Wyatt of Corydon, Iowa. Wyatt had won three straight Funny Car events at the Carolina track before Bob Gilbertson prevailed on Sunday, ending a frustrating season on a positive note.

 

 

 

“I’ve been waiting for this all my life,” Gilbertson said of his first victory on his home track. “I always thought it would be really cool to win a race here. I’ve set track records and qualified No. 1 but this is the first time we ever won at The Rock and it was pretty cool. I just wish it was the first race instead of the last.

 

 

 

“I’ve got to credit my crew chief, Tommy Delago. He made the right decisions today. If I was my own crew chief, I’d be in the burn center every race because I’d be way crazy with the tune-up.

 

 

 

”It was flawless all weekend,” Dobbins said of his 2006 Ford Escort that cruised to victory in Pro Stock. “It was a really good racef or us and I was motivated in the final round to be the first guy to give a whipping to the new world champion.”

 

 

 

Janis actually lost the Pro Mod championship off the racetrack, the result of a decision not to compete in the July 6-8 race at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. That cost the veteran the 41 bonus points awarded to those who participate in every event.

 

“It all boils down to not making that trip to Edmonton,” Janis said, “but that’s racing. We had some clutch issues today but, all in all, it was a great day and it gives us a great start on the 2008 season.”

 

 

 

Thomas, who finished 15 points ahead of race winner Atchison, relished his seventh series championship.

 

 

 

“I love Rockingham,” he said. “I was tied with Scotty Cannon and Clay Millican and it’s wonderful to be able to get that No. 7. It all worked out.”

 

 

 

‘If I had a chance to race against Mark in an early round I thought I had a chance,” Atchison said, “but he landed on the other side of the ladder. Racing Mark in the final meant that we won the battle, but not the war.

 

 

 

“But it’s okay because he’s been my idol since I started racing 10-12 years ago. I love the guy. He’s a great champion. Besides, with three or four races left, I didn’t think I had a chance but we turned it around at the end. Some days you’re at the peak others you’re in the valley. We’ll try to get back to the peak next year.”

 

 

 

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- Sunday's final results from the IHRA World Finals Presented by The U.S. Air Force featuring UTI CHampionship Sunday at Rockingham Dragway. The race is the 11th of 11 in the $19.5 million 2007 Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series:

 

 

 

 

 

Top Fuel -- Bruce Litton, 4.606 seconds, 318.92 mph def. Scotty Cannon, 5.014 seconds, 234.82 mph.

 

 

 

Nitro Funny Car -- Bob Gilbertson, Dodge Stratus, 4.877, 314.53 def. Cory Lee, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.977, 303.30.

 

 

 

Pro Modified -- Mike Janis, Chevy Cobalt, 5.995, 239.31 def. Kenny Lang, Chevy Corvette, 6.080, 235.27.

 

 

 

Alcohol Funny Car -- Rob Atchison, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.922, 241.80 def. Mark Thomas, Monte Carlo, 5.910, 243.06.

 

 

 

Pro Stock -- Jeff Dobbins, Ford Escort, 6.313, 221.34 def. Robert Patrick, Shelby Cobra, 6.304, 221.05.

 

 

 

Summit SuperSeries Box -- Chad Hedgecock, Dragster, 7.450, 176.93 def. Steve Ferstl, Chevy Monza, 9.219, 145.96.

 

 

 

Summit SuperSeries No Box -- Will Steckly, Dodge Charger, 8.992, 144.97 def. Ed Talbert, Chevy Chevelle, 11.676, 112.89.

 

 

 

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- Final round-by-round results from the IHRA World Finals Presented by The U.S. Air Force featuring UTI CHampionship Sunday at Rockingham Dragway, the 11th of 11 events in the $19.5 million 2007 Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series:

 

 

 

 

 

TOP FUEL:

 

 

 

ROUND ONE -- Kevin Jones, 5.142, 228.92 def. T.J. Zizzo, 9.954, 77.79; Jeff O'Neill, 4.755, 314.68 def. Terry McMillen, 5.222, 188.02; Scotty Cannon, 4.933, 261.22 def. Bobby Lagana Jr., 6.955, 116.36; Bruce Litton, 4.679, 316.82 def. Luigi Novelli, 11.719, 91.52; SEMIFINALS -- Cannon, 4.824, 276.13 def. O'Neill, foul; Litton, 4.707, 313.07 def. Jones, 5.076, 236.34; FINAL -- Litton, 4.606, 318.92 def. Cannon, 5.014, 234.82.

 

 

 

 

 

NITRO FUNNY CAR:

 

 

 

ROUND ONE -- Todd Simpson, Chevy Camaro, 6.283, 148.05 def. Jeff Diehl, Pontiac Firebird, 8.372, 101.41; Mitch King, Chevy Corvette, 5.308, 214.55 def. Terry Haddock, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.314, 265.12; Cory Lee, Monte Carlo, 4.951, 306.40 def. Jack Wyatt, Dodge Stratus, 5.248, 230.41; Bob Gilbertson, Stratus, 4.906, 315.86 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Monte Carlo, 13.890, 67.41; SEMIFINAL -- Lee, 6.297, 139.95 def. Simpson, broke; Gilbertson, 4.953, 301.67 def. King, 5.099, 286.68; FINAL -- Gilbertson, 4.877, 314.53 def. Lee, 4.977, 303.30.

 

 

 

 

 

PRO MODIFIED:

 

 

 

ROUND ONE -- Jim Halsey, Chevy Camaro, 6.071, 231.28 def. Tommy Gray, Pontiac GTO, 7.442, 139.43; Shannon Jenkins, GTO, 6.806,

 

158.76 def. Jason Hamstra, Chevy Corvette, 7.049, 211.59; Quain Stott, Corvette, 6.040, 236.96 def. Burton Auxier, Corvette, 6.265, 191.00; Pat Stoken, Camaro, 6.135, 227.50 def. Chip King, Dodge Daytona, 11.443, 76.12; Kenny Lang, Corvette, 6.049, 235.76 def.

 

Mark Nielsen, Camaro, 6.163, 234.66; Mike Janis, Chevy Cobalt, 6.103, 237.05 def. Matt Hagan, Camaro, 6.380, 214.93; Mike Stawicki, Camaro, 6.272, 195.08 def. Chris Russo, Corvette, 14.210, 58.31; Scott Cannon, Pontiac Firebird, 7.897, 148.23 def. Tony Pontieri, Chevy Bel Air, broke; QUARTERFINALS -- Stoken, 6.177, 206.23 def. Cannon, 6.727, 231.64; Janis, 6.200, 195.22 def. Jenkins, 15.866, 57.75; Lang, 6.068,

 

231.08 def. Halsey, 6.123, 231.32; Stawicki, 6.059, 230.69 def. Stott, 6.096, 233.92; SEMIFINALS -- Janis, 6.050, 236.67 def. Stoken, 7.519, 127.93; Lang, 6.141, 232.87 def. Stawicki, 6.341, 202.39; FINAL -- Janis, 5.995, 239.31 def. Lang, 6.080, 235.27.

 

 

 

 

 

ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR:

 

 

 

ROUND ONE -- Terry Munroe, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.771, 241.11 def. Tim Stevens, Dodge Stratus, 6.006, 220.22; Rob Atchison, Monte Carlo, 5.748, 243.37 def. Laurie Cannister, Chevy Camaro, 5.833, 241.54; Mark Thomas, Monte Carlo, 5.806, 242.80 def. Melinda Green-King, Ford Mustang, 6.073, 224.25; Neal Parker, Monte Carlo, 5.805, 240.51 def. Bunny Burkett, Dodge Avenger, 12.176, 67.37; SEMIFINALS -- Atchison, 6.136, 239.82 def. Munroe, 11.441, 85.50; Thomas, 5.818, 243.72 def. Parker, foul; FINAL -- Atchison, 5.922, 241.80 def. Thomas, 5.910, 243.06.

 

 

 

 

 

PRO STOCK:

 

 

 

ROUND ONE -- Steve Spiess, Chevy Cobalt, 6.329, 219.19 def. Rob Mansfield, Pontiac GTO, 11.420, 77.47; Rickie Smith, Cobalt, 6.347,

 

219.29 def. Tom Lee, Ford Mustang, 15.779, 52.49; Frank Gugliotta, Cobalt, 6.338, 219.72 def. Dan Sweeney, GTO, 11.737, 96.26; Jeff Dobbins, Ford Escort, 6.311, 221.02 def. Elijah Morton, Ford ZX2, 6.361, 218.72; Cary Goforth, Cobalt, 6.341, 219.36 def. John Montecalvo, Cobalt, 6.331, 221.23; John Nobile, Mustang, 6.324, 219.54 def. Bob Bertsch, Mustang, 14.493, 58.95; Robert Patrick, Shelby Cobra, 9.029, 160.69 def. Dean Goforth, GTO, broke; Brian Gahm, Mustang, 6.783, 217.70 def. Pete Berner, GTO, foul; QUARTERFINALS -- Patrick, 6.345, 219.90 def. Gugliotta, 12.624, 69.30; C. Goforth, 6.337, 220.44 def. Spiess, 6.334, 220.22; Smith, 6.366, 219.33 def. Nobile, 6.352, 219.08; Dobbins, 6.313, 220.66 def. Gahm, 6.325, 221.52; SEMIFINALS -- Patrick, 6.327, 219.86 def. C. Goforth, 6.369, 218.87; Dobbins, 6.350, 220.40 def. Smith, 6.367, 219.29; FINAL -- Dobbins, 6.313, 221.34 def. Patrick, 6.304, 221.05.

 

 

 

 

 

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- Point standings (top 10) for IHRA professional categories following the IHRA World Finals Presented by The U.S.

 

Air Force featuring UTI CHampionship Sunday at Rockingham Dragway, the last of 11 events in the $19.5 million 2007 Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series -

 

 

 

Top Fuel

 

 

 

1. Bruce Litton, 948; 2. T.J. Zizzo, 907; 3. Scotty Cannon, 859; 4. Bobby Lagana Jr., 712; 5. Terry McMillen, 558; 6. Jeff O{Neill, 387; 7. Doug Foley, 299; 8. Mitch King, 292; 9. Jim Cavalieri, 182; 10. Clay Millican, 179.

 

 

 

Nitro Funny Car

 

 

 

1. Dale Creasy Jr., 1,108; 2. Jack Wyatt, 768; 3. Bob Gilbertson, 735; 4. Terry Haddock, 716; 5. Andy Kelley, 645; 6. Mitch King, 621; 7. Jeff Diehl, 324; 8. Todd Simpson, 251; 9. Paul Lee, 219; 10. John Lawson, 207.

 

 

 

Pro Modified

 

 

 

1. Scott Cannon, 759; 2. Mike Janis, 737; 3. Pat Stoken, 639; 4. Ed Hoover, 583; 5. Quain Stott, 571; 6. Kenny Lang, 567; 7.

 

Matt Hagan, 481; 8. Danny Rowe, 477; 9. Jason Hamstra, 426; 10. Shannon Jenkins, 383.

 

 

 

Alcohol Funny Car

 

 

 

1. Mark Thomas, 999; 2. Rob Atchison, 984; 3. Terry Munroe, 927; 4. Paul Noakes, 514; 5. Larry Dobbs, 490; 6. Terry McMillen, 437; 7. Tim Stevens, 354; 8. Neal Parker, 306; 9. Laurie Cannister, 232; 10. Tony Bogolo, 203.

 

 

 

Pro Stock

 

 

 

1. Robert Patrick, 858; 2. Pete Berner, 808; 3. Frank Gugliotta, 777; 4. Brian Gahm, 668; 5. John Montecalvo, 643; 6. Steve Spiess, 606; 7. Rob Mansfield, 519; 8. Rickie Smith, 479; 9. John Nobile, 477; 10. (tie) Cary Goforth, 436.

 

Dean Goforth, 436.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About IHRA

 

Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), a division of Live Nation, promotes professional, semi-professional and local level racing opportunities for drivers at all levels. The $19.5 million Knoll Gas Nitro Jam™ Drag Racing Series is an 11-event North American professional drag racing circuit. In 2007, the series will be comprised of eight events in major cities throughout the United States and three in Canada. The Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Championship presented by Mr. Gasket consists of competition at national events and 40 events in six regional divisions, while IHRA’s Summit SuperSeries is conducted nearly every weekend at over 70 IHRA-sanctioned tracks. Providing a safe environment to develop future stars, IHRA offers the Junior Dragster Racing Series for youths ages 8-17. Stand-alone events include Live Nation’s entertainment-filled “Thunder Jam” shows and the street legal racing and lifestyle event series Kumho Street Warriorz. More information can be found at www.ihra.com.

 

 

 

About Live Nation

 

Live Nation is the world's largest live music company. Our mission is to inspire passion for live music around the world. We are the largest promoter of live concerts in the world, the second-largest entertainment venue management company and have a rapidly growing online presence. We strive to create superior experiences for artists and fans, regularly producing tours for the biggest superstars in the business, including The Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, U2 and Coldplay. Globally, we own, operate, have booking rights for and/or have an equity interest in more than 160 venues, including House of Blues® music venues and prestigious locations such as The Fillmore in San Francisco, Nikon at Jones Beach in New York and London’s Wembley Arena. Our websites collectively are the second most popular entertainment/event websites in the United States, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. In addition, we also produce, promote or host theatrical, specialized motor sports and other live entertainment events. In 2006, we connected nearly 60 million fans with their favorite performers at approximately 26,000 events in 18 countries around the world. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Live Nation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol “LYV.”

 

 

 

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