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Tx. Natl's @ SAR Sunday Pro class eliminations 4/6/08

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Amalie Oil Texas Nationals, presented by NAPA Auto Parts and San Antonio Express-News @ San Antonio Raceway, 4/6/08


By J M Hallas


Marion, Tx., (April 6th, 2008) The final day of the Amalie Oil Texas nationals began with cloudy, cool skies, that quickly gave way to ideal conditions for the completion of the historic event run on the 1/8 mile at San Antonio Raceway. Nearly 375 cars signed in over the three day weekend for the Pro classes and Sportsman classes, that ran a combined double event, for double points, purse and contingencies.


Nearly a capacity crowd was on had for the ever popular "Night of Fire" on Saturday night. Those people were treated to exhibition runs by Kent Shockley's Shockwave, Jet powered Kenworth Truck, Ken Nelson's Wheelstanding Cool Bus and runs by Dr. Performance's diesel dragster and pick-up truck.


The weekend went off smoothly following Friday's rain delayed start, with no major incidents, and only a few big oil downs bringing action to a halt during th entire three-day show.



Massey Out muscles McMillen for Top Fuel Trophy

The finals pitted two newcomers to the Top Fuel ranks and young Spencer Massey, who has only held his Top Fuel license for six days, walked away with Ironman. Massey, took off on green, while McMillen sat dead on the line. The Fort Worth, Texas young gun ran a 3,261 @ 256.26 MPH, to McMillen's 15.164 @ 59.94


Top Fuel was guaranteed a first time class winner, when Alcohol Funny Car veteran, McMillen bested Mike Strasburg and Alcohol Dragster novice, Massey beat Kevin Jones in the semi-finals.


Massey began wearing Cinderella's shoes, when he took out defending national and event champion Bruce Litton in round one. McMillen got the better of long time campaigner, Chris "the Golden Greek" Karamesines in the opening round.


“ It's a dream come true.” said Massey driver of the Bear Waste, Sunset Cove Lucas Oil, LaKings Confectionery, Murf-McKinney Chassis. “This is something I've wanted to do since I was four years old. I'm just ecstatic. It hasn't totally hit me yet. It's definitely awesome. I got my Top Fuel license and six days later I'm getting my first Top Fuel win. My crew guys just told me we're number one in points, too.”


“Mitch(King) and the whole crew, Paul Smith are the salt of the earth for giving me this opportunity. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be standing here right now. T car has been consistent. There's never been a problem with anything.”


“Having just gotten my license, coming here on the 1/8 mile was perfect for me. It gave me more seat time and got me more familiar with the car. I'm totally aware of what's going on and learning something every run.”


“Going up against Bruce(Litton) in round one, we knew we had a shot. We knew he was quicker in qualifying, but his best run was at night and he smoked the tires during the day. We had our good run during the day. We hoped to make a similar run, maybe cut a light on him and not beat ourself. That's how people usually lose, is beat themselves. Our goal was just go A to B, for me to be on my game and that's why we're holding the trophy”


“We haven't discussed any future plans. This was a spur of the moment deal. We didn't even decide for me to drive this car until last Monday when I started getting my license. This was a one race, one weekend deal. Though since we won, I'm sure you'll see more of me out here.”


Macklyn Makes Texas Trip Pay Off with Nitro Funny Car Win

Steve Macklyn in the hazmatstore.net, megevap.com, Pleuger Chassis and team made the long trip from Salt Lake City, Utah worth while as he posted his first ever Nitro Funny Car victory. It wasn't easy as he faced off against defending and event winner, Dale Creasy jr. Macklyn caught the break of a lifetime when Creasy lit the hides giving him the win with 3.749 @ 26.85



Another first time winner looked to be crowned in Nitro Funny Car after Macklyn got past Wyatt in the semi's. Defending national and event champion, Dale Creasy jr used a .001 reaction time to beat Bob Gilbertson to make his way to the finals.


The rookie Macklyn, who would got into the show in his final pass, got the win over Jeff Diehl in round one. Creasy got the win over Matt Hagan, who shook and smoked the tires in the opening round.


“This is a great deal,” replied Macklyn who has raced everything from bobsleds to Monster Trucks to circle tracks. “This is our second race as a team,my second race as a driver and we felt like we could get a win at some point, but the first race of the season is quite a dream.”


“I got my Nitro Funny Car license in 2006, ran one race last year in Edmonton and this is our second race. So we're brand new!”


“I'm not even good enough to look over at my competition yet so I didn't think about it being a two-time champion, Dale Creasy in the other lane. I'm so paranoid about not driving it straight down track right now. There's a tree down there I know really well that I looked at. “

“We had good fortune today. I drove it out of the groove on the first run, peddled it and got by (Jeff) Diehl. I messed up he burnout and luckily it hooked up on the second run. I peddled it again on the last run and Dale had trouble, too. There's some great fortune in there for a rookie team.”



Cannister Continues Clicking Off Wins and Records.

The girl just wants to have fun.....and fun she had as Laurie Cannister kept clicking off the wins, and backing up records. The Johnstown, Ohio native put one on multi-time National Champion, Rob Atchison taking the victory with a 3.843 @ 195.82 versus Atchison's 3,928 @ 194.66.



In Alcohol Funny Car, Cannister continues to obliterate the record books and march her way to the finals, putting Tom Carter on the trailer in the semi-finals. A pair of past champions squared off in the other semi, with Atchison getting the hole shot win over Mark Thomas.


Cannister, used round one to back up her records as well as getting the victory over Paul Noakes. Atchison again used a holeshot, this time on Tony Bogolo to get the win in the first round.


“It's unbelievable,” stated Cannister in he Kalbones Grill'n Sauce, Flat out Gaskets, Hemi powered, Pro Start Chassis. “It's great for a brand new team to come out like this and we hope that it continues. We definitely want to stay a contender and it's tough competition out there.”


“We didn't get any testing in and my husband, Dale did his homework. We came out here and he made all the right calls.”


“I was surprised when everyone predicted that I might be the champion. It's been a long time since I've been here. There's an awful lot of good teams It's going to be anybodies game every race.”


“It was the car that got all the records. When you're on during weekend, you're on. Everything was working out with him tuning it. The records just come to you when everything is running right.”


“The 1/8 mile races are tough for me. It's hard to step off the throttle because it's just getting going. We didn't have any engine problem though, which is attributed to the short track. You usually hurt parts going out the back door.”



Halsey Hustles to Pro Mod Victory

Jim Halsey was barely off the line first, fell behind Billy Harper, but was first to the finish line after Harper back-fired and slowed at half track. The two left with nearly identical .06 lights, but Halsey crossed the line with a 4.104 @ 184.52 to Harper's slowing, 4.685 @ 115.85


In a class dominated by the blown cars recently, two nitrous injected car found themselves in the finals, with Harper going up against Halsey after both ran 4.0's in the semi's.


Harper, who has run consistent 4.0's got wins over former Pro Mod champ, Mike Janis, Billy Gibson and Jason Hamstra to get to the finals. Also turning consistent 4.0's, Halsey bettered Mike Castellana, veteran Pro Mod ace Scotty Cannon and class alternate, Jason Stock in the semi-finals.


“We had a little luck there in the final,” replied Halsey, who runs Cecil County Dragway. “But ran good enough to get the win. We just put in the car what we think the track will hold and not worry about who we're racing against. In the second round against Scotty(Cannon) we hit it right. That's pretty much it.”


“Billy's(Harper) whooped me a couple times before, so I don't take him lightly at all. We were thinking about leaving here with the points lead before the semi-finals. We'll kind of make our plans off this race and it's helped us for the rest of the year.”


“I think the 1/8 mile helped the nitrous cars against the blown cars. The weather helped a little bit. When we get to Rockingham it probably won't be as much help.”



Montecalvo's Cobalt Conquers Pro Stock Class

After watching former crew chief, Jeff Dobbins trim the lights, New York's John Montecalvo new he needed to step up in the finals. Step up he did as he beat Dobbins at his own game on tree with a .013 reaction time to Dobbins .026. Montecalvo transformed that edge to the win with 4.178 @ 173.74 against Dobbins 4.186 @ 173.18




Known for his lightning reaction times, Dobbins used a hole shot victory in the semi's over Pete Berner to find his way to the finals. On the other side, Montecalvo used bracket-like 4.18's to get the big dance, beating Elijah Morton in the semi's.


Dobbins had lights of .048 and .018 to get past Larry O'Brien and Richard Freeman in the opening rounds. In round one Montecalvo used a hole shot to beat Frank Gugliotta, then caught a break when Dean Goforth broke after the burnout to get a bye run in round 2.


“This weekend started off miserable for us,” replied Montecalvo who drives the basically unsponsored Sonny Leonard powered, Rick Jones chassis with help from Ram Clutches, Brasswell Carburetors. “We only got down the track once during qualifying. We've got a team that's tough, they stick it out. We woke up this morning and said we're coming here to battle. That's what we did.”


“From there it turned out to be a storybook weekend. It went from the worst to best it could be. One of those upside-down weekends.”


“I'm not supposed to look at the numbers from the other guys, but I did. I follow Jeff(Dobbins), he's my former crew chief and can drive a car. He was cutting .020's .030's all the time, I don't really even have to look. When you're running the 1/8 mile, you better be on the tree. It just happened to be my day. I knew I had to be up for Jeff and I was.”


“This track has been good to us. We have two wins now and a runner-up finish. Our record is stellar at this place. Maybe I should go beat the bushes around here and see if I can pick up a sponsor. Even if it's just a race by race deal.”

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