GRZELINSKI BECOMES FIRST TO EARN CONSECUTIVE TITLES; HOWARD, KONN, ANTONACI ALSO WIN

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JOLIET, Ill. - Reigning Top Sportsman world champion Tony Grzelinski earned his second consecutive title on Saturday at a variety day of racing that also included a Bonus Race for Route 66 Raceway's North Central Division NHRA Finals team and an informal, unscored Powder Puff race for the women.

Grzelinski secured his throne with a 7.699-second finish at 179.61 mph. He broke out, running faster than predicted, but it didn't matter as challenger Tim Kirman fouled out at the starting line.

He is the first Top Sportsman driver to win consecutive season titles at Route 66.

“This season was by far harder for me,“ said Grzelinksi, who thanked his wife Kathy for her support. “The competition was difficult. I had Tim Kirman on my butt all season.“

Grzelinski started racing in the same way those drivers who tested their street cars on the track did, only in 1971, and in a 1969 Camaro.

The Top Sportsman event winner was Dave Howard, who drove his 2002 Pontiac to a 7.350 at 186.74 after opponent Erik Carlson fouled out.

Howard advanced to the semifinals after taking a bye in Round 2.

The day went smoothly, said Howard of his second win of the year.

Taking home the top prize in the Bonus event was Rick Konn, who defeated Pete Kreinbrink in the final round with a 5.634 at 122.32. Those drivers head to Indianapolis' O'Reilly Raceway Park to represent Route 66 Raceway at the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment North Central Division Finals this week.

The “Herd-ettes“ Powder Puff race, the women of the “Herd,“ went to winner Liz Antonaci, who drove her Silver Infiniti to a 16.145 at 76.63.

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