Nitro Jam’s Arizona debut plays to standing room only crowd
Nitro Jam Media
Mar 25, 2011
James Day in War Eagle
It was glorious day at Southwestern International Raceway on Friday.
Not only were the stands packed full with fans eager to enjoy Nitro Jam’s brand of motorsports entertainment, but another day – James Day to be exact – stole the show with a big win in the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car “Duel in the Desert” Friday in Tucson, a win he was proud to dedicate to ill car owner Dale Pulde.
“It is an honor just to be asked to drive this car for Dale, but to win in this thing is like a dream come true,” Day said, eagerly grasping his brand new Ironman trophy. “This is a legendary car and it drove like a legend tonight. All I have to say is this win is for Dale who is still recovering. Hopefully this trophy will help him feel a bit better.”
Day was one of four professional winners during the opening night of the Arizona Nitro Jam on Friday as Bobby Lagana Jr. (Top Fuel), Chris Bennett (Nostalgia Fuel Altered) and Mike Scott (Nitro Harley) all walked away winners on day one.
But it was Day, behind the wheel of the “War Eagle” Trans Am, who truly owned the night as he bested Nitro Jam newcomer Mike Savage in the “Candies and Hughes” Barracuda in the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car final. Day, who qualified first on the charts in the opening round with a very quick 5.847 elapsed time at 239.91 miles per hour, backed up his big run with another similar pass that saw him jump out front early and never look back.
Day ran a 5.894, 236.92 in the final, besting Savage who clicked it off near the finish line as his car began to dance with the centerline. It was a huge win for the young driver who was tapped to fill in for Pulde who is still recovering from an illness.
While he didn't win, Litton hopes to rebound on Saturday
“The car was really on tonight. Some of the other cars were hit and miss, but this thing fired off two very quick laps which put us in a prime position to get the win,” Day said. “Hopefully we can duplicate these results tomorrow night and take home another trophy for these great Arizona fans.”
In the Prostalgia consolation rounds Peter Gallen found his grove once again after struggling in round one, posting the second best time of the night with a 5.865, 247.52 to defeat Mike Adams. Mike McIntire and Mark Sanders also nabbed consolation wins, defeating Roger Garten and Tim Boychuk respectively.
It was a tremendous start for the eight-car Prostalgia show as many of the best cars in the country are in Arizona for the two-day event. While Day will be looking for the sweep, any of the seven cars have the capability to steal a win on Saturday.
In another thrilling final Bobby Lagana Jr. claimed his fourth Top Fuel victory of the season over Bruce Litton. And to make the night even more satisfying for Lagana, who unveiled a new Lucas Oil sponsorship during the weekend to give Nitro Jam two Lucas-backed Top Fuel machines, was the fact that he was able to claim both rounds while also posting the best lap of the night, a solid 4.975, 296.89 in round one.
Litton’s best pass of the night was a 5.107, 269.29.
“It wasn’t our best performance, but we will take it,” Lagana said. “We will just have to go back to the drawing board tomorrow and make a few changes. Hopefully we will be able to hit 300 on Saturday and take home yet another Ironman.”
Perhaps the most exciting action of the night was produced in the Nostalgia Fuel Altered ranks as one car slapped the wall and the rest continued to improve on their numbers and produce an exciting show. Still, despite the increase in parody in the class, multi-event winner Chris Bennett in the “Pure Heaven” machine was able to once again take home the win.
Bennett had the best pass of round one and then backed that up with another solid pass in the final to defeat Ron Hope in the legendary “Rat Trap” machine to claim his third win of the season. Bennett ran a 6.406. 194.02 in the final, a tad quicker than his top qualifying run of 6.626, 166.93.
While Bennett netted the win, Ron Maroney won the biggest scare award for his round one slap of the wall. In the opening round of Nostalgia Fuel Altered competition Maroney ran into a bit of trouble right off the launch and slapped the right side wall just past the tree. Maroney was alright, but his “Super Nanook” ride was finished for the night.
Wrapping up the night were the insane riders of the Nitro Harley division. In that class Mike Scott claimed his second career Ironman trophy with a win over points leader Steve Dorn. Scott ran a 6.867, 203.89 in the final, besting Dorn’s 7.304, 168.64.
In the consolation pairing Jay Turner defeated Randal Andras.
The big night was brought to a close with a pair of side-by-side passes between Jill Canuso in the “Queen of Diamonds” jet dragster and Terry Rosberg in the “Jersey Thunder” and a huge finale that saw the Shockwave jet semi power past Grave Digger for the first win of the weekend.
Day two of the Arizona Nitro Jam will get underway on Saturday with gates opening at 9 a.m., FanFest at 5:30 p.m. and two rounds of Nitro Jam at 7 p.m.
Don’t miss another thrilling night of Nitro Jam Saturday at Southwestern International Raceway.
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Friday's final results from the IHRA Arizona Nitro Jam at Southwestern International Raceway. The race is the third of 10 in
the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:
Top Fuel Dragster Day One -- Bobby Lagana Jr., 5.115 seconds, 222.25 mph def. Bruce Litton, 5.150 seconds, 214.55 mph.
Prostalgia Funny Car Day One -- James Day, Pontiac Trans Am, 5.894, 236.92 def. Mike Savage, Plymouth Barracuda, 6.271, 182.40.
Fuel Altered Day One -- Chris Bennett, Austin Bantam, 6.406, 194.02 def. Ron Hope, Bantam, 7.504, 158.89.
Nitro Harley Day One -- Mike Scott, 6.867, 203.89 def. Steve Dorn, 7.304, 168.64.
No Box -- Benny Gossett, '27-T Ford, 9.242, 137.27 def. Cory Vickers, Silverado SS, 15.760, 85.77.
Box -- Toby Smith, Yancer, 8.002, 148.61 def. Daniel Slade, Dragster, 8.411, 118.95.
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Final round-by-round results from the IHRA Arizona Nitro Jam at Southwestern International Raceway, the third of 10 events in
the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER DAY ONE:
ROUND ONE -- Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.975, 296.89 def. Bruce Litton, 5.107, 269.29;
FINAL -- B. Lagana Jr., 5.115, 222.25 def. B. Litton, 5.150, 214.55.
PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY ONE:
ROUND ONE -- Peter Gallen, Chevy Vega, 6.247, 232.79 def. Mike McIntire, Chevy Camaro, 6.265, 225.41; Mike Savage, Plymouth Barracuda, 5.984,
241.80 def. Mike Adams, Chevy Corvette, 6.455, 187.55; Tim Boychuk, Pontiac Firebird, 6.058, 232.39 def. Mark Sanders, Chevy Nova, 9.781,
109.81; James Day, Pontiac Trans Am, 5.847, 239.91 def. Roger Garten, Ford Mustang, 6.102, 203.22;
CONSOLATION -- M. McIntire, 6.363, 221.42 def. R. Garten, 6.570, 159.70; P. Gallen, 5.865, 247.52 def. M. Adams, 6.250, 225.86; M. Sanders,
18.580, 61.45 def. T. Boychuk, foul;
FINAL -- J. Day, 5.894, 236.92 def. M. Savage, 6.271, 182.40.
NITRO HARLEY DAY ONE:
ROUND ONE -- Steve Dorn, 6.914, 191.67 def. Jay Turner, 7.554, 218.76; Mike Scott, 6.933, 215.55 def. Randal Andras, 6.991, 204.01;
CONSOLATION -- J. Turner, 6.469, 219.94 def. R. Andras, 6.846, 183.92;
FINAL -- M. Scott, 6.867, 203.89 def. S. Dorn, 7.304, 168.64.
FUEL ALTERED DAY ONE:
ROUND ONE -- Chris Bennett, Austin Bantam, 6.626, 166.93 def. Jason Richey, Bantam, 7.921, 210.57; Ron Hope, Bantam, 7.375, 194.30 def. Ron
Maroney, '-T Ford, DQ;
CONSOLATION -- J. Richey, broke def. R. Maroney, broke;
FINAL -- C. Bennett, 6.406, 194.02 def. R. Hope, 7.504, 158.89.