STEVE SPIESS, PART-OWNER OF ROUTE 66 RACEWAY, SETS NEW E.T. RECORD IN IHRA PRO STOCK

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IHRA’s return to Rockingham Dragway for the 35th annual Spring Nationals saw points races taking shape. The event was marked by Clay Millican’s continued dominance in Top Fuel, Al Billes sneaking up on the competition for the win in Torco Race Fuels Pro Modified, Mark Thomas benefiting from some unfortunate luck of rival Rob Atchison to claim the win in Funny Car, and Steve Spiess setting the IHRA E.T. World Record in Pro Stock on his way to his first victory in five years.

In Top Fuel Millican, from Drummonds, Tenn., continued his early season dominance by winning his second consecutive event. While the number one qualifying spot went to Sewell, N.J. driver Doug Foley, Millican extended his mastery over Rockingham Dragway to eight consecutive events dating back to the fall of 2001. Millican took a commanding lead in the points over the second place Rick Cooper, who failed to make a run during the final against Millican, and many are wondering if Millican will win his fifth consecutive World Championship.

It was an up and down weekend for Pro Modified. Quain Stott, from Columbus, N.C. qualified number one by running a 6.162 at 230.80mph. Stott made it all the way to the finals before being beaten by Billes, from Barrie, Ont. Billes ran the quarter mile in 6.162 at 230.80 mph to edge Stott’s 6.206 at 229.31 mph.

In Funny Car, Thomas benefited from some hard luck experienced by two-time defending World Champion Rob Atchison. When Atchison’s car broke in the first round of eliminations, Thomas, from Louisville, Ohio, seized the opportunity. In the final Thomas bested Melinda Green-King, from Norfolk, Va., by running a 5.859 at 240.38 mph.

The wild weekend in Pro Stock ended when Spiess, from Manhattan, Ill., bested Jerry Haas in the final. Along the way, Spiess reset the Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock ET World Record by making a pass of 6.426 in the first round of eliminations, which he then backed up in the second round of eliminations by running the quarter mile in 6.433. Spiess, who had not won since 2000, used a pass of 6.433 at 214.83 mph to get past Haas, from Fenton, Mo., who ran 6.521 at 214.14 mph. Frank Gugliotta, of Mt. Airy, Md., ran the quickest ET for the class when he qualified with a pass of 6.412, but failed to back it up for the record.

IHRA Points Standings after two events—wins in parentheses:

Pro Stock Point Standings
1. Steve Spiess (1) 180
2. Jerry Haas 154
3. Dan Seamon (1) 150
4. Robert Patrick 149
5. Pete Berner 141
6. Brian Gahm 135
7. John Nobile 119
8. Elijah Morton 103
9. Frank Gugliotta 95
10. John Montecalvo 94
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