East coast cars dominate Arizona Nitro Jam finale
Nitro Jam Media
Mar 27, 2011
What exactly is the definition of irony? Just ask Peter Gallen.
Traveling nearly 2,000 miles from his home in Pennsylvania to be in Arizona for the Arizona Nitro Jam, Gallen had high hopes that the weekend would be filled with hotly contested laps against some of the best west coast racers around.
Instead, Gallen found himself in Saturday’s final racing against a man who calls Ohio home as two of the best Prostalgia Nitro Funny cars from the east duked it out in Saturday’s Arizona Nitro Jam finale with Gallen coming away a winner and setting a new world record in the process to claim the Ironman trophy in front of a capacity crowd at Nitro Jam’s debut event at Southwestern International Raceway.
“I think we actually discovered the definition of irony this evening. We came out here obviously to support the IHRA, but we also came out here to see what these west coast guys that we have heard about for so many years are really all about,” Gallen said. “Instead we ended up racing Mike (McIntire) in the final. I guess it is what it is. It is a win and we will certainly take it.”
Along with picking up the win, Gallen also set a new elapsed time record for the Prostalgia class, besting McIntire in the final with a blistering 5.777 second lap.
“It is just a bad hotrod. We spent a lot of time getting this car ready for the weekend because we knew we would need a pretty stout lap to come away a winner,” Gallen said.
Gallen joined three additional pro winners from Saturday’s Arizona Nitro Jam finale as Bobby Lagana Jr. won for the second night in a row in Top Fuel, joining Chris Bennett who also swept in the Nostalgia Fuel Altered class. Saturday’s other pro winner was Steve Dorn who won Nitro Harley.
In Sportsman competition Southwestern International Raceway’s local racers put on an exciting show in front of a packed house on Saturday, with the biggest winner being Sheldon Gecker who won in Top Dragster, one of IHRA’s seven regular touring classes.
But it was Gallen and the “Poverty Stricken” crew who proved Saturday’s biggest winners.
After falling a bit flat during round one on Friday, Gallen came out firing on all cylinders on Saturday with a blistering 5.811, 239.40 pass to take the second spot on the qualifying charts in the opening round. In that round Gallen, the fastest Prostalgia racer on the east coast, met his west coast equivalent in Edmonton, Alberta native Tim Boychuk and the “Troy Lee Designs” team.
The epic matchup between two of the quickest and fastest Funny Cars in the land certainly lived up to the billing as Gallen put up a 5.811 to Boychuk’s 5.968, 236.34 in one of the best side-by-side passes of the night. With the win Gallen moved on to face what looked liked Friday’s winner James Day until Mike McIntire in the “MacAttack” Camaro came out one round later and posted the best lap of the round, a very solid 5.807, 240.64 to set up the final between two very familiar foes.
In the all east coast final Gallen and McIntire produced an impressive side-by-side lap with Gallen just getting to the line ahead of McIntire, posting a 5.777, 250.97 to McIntire’s 5.808, 232.39. McIntire lost the burst panel on the run and came dangerously close to the centerline, but he never lifted in his chase of Gallen.
Gallen picked up his third of the season and his 10th career victory since joining the Nitro Jam tour last year.
“Don’t kid yourself, coming out here truly is a measuring stick to see if we could run with these guys,” Gallen said. “Having Boychuk in the first round was great, those guys really are a class act, but I guess it was just meant to be that Mac and I would once again meet up in the final. It is not like we can be disappointed, those guys are running great right now and I knew it would be a heck of a race.”
In Saturday’s consolation pairings opening night winner Day and the “War Eagle” team continued to impress with their fourth round win in four tries over Mike Adams, while Boychuk picked up a win over Roger Garten and Mike Savage defeated Mark Sanders.
Top Fuel also made headlines on Saturday as Bobby Lagana Jr. posted a weekend sweep and ended the night with the best pass of the weekend, a very impressive 4.772, 311.70 in a victory over Bruce Litton. Lagana has now won five of six races against Litton this season, an impressive feat for the defending champions.
Another sweep was produced in the Nostalgia Fuel Altered class as fulltime Air Force pilot Chris Bennett crossed the finish line first in the “Pure Heaven” Altered against rival Jason Richey in the “Pure Hell” entry.
Bennett had four solid runs to pick up the pair of wins, saving the best for last with a 6.443, 214.28 in the final. Richey ran a 6.921, 217.63 in the runner-up effort, losing grip at halftrack before pushing frantically to try and play catch up.
“We had a great time this weekend. The fans were amazing and we just had a ball out here racing,” Bennett said. “These things are always on the edge of out-of-control which is what makes them so much fun for the fans and for the drivers. I am just glad we were able to put on a good show again tonight.”
Ironical, despite Bennett’s weekend sweep, it was actually Ron Maroney who had the best lap of the weekend in the class. After the car failed to fire in round one, Maroney returned in the consolation round and more than made up for his shortcoming as Maroney in the “Blind Faith” machine posted a very fast 6.248, 224.51 lap.
Wrapping up the evening was the Nitro Harley division as Steve Dorn got revenge on Friday winner Mike Scott with a win of his own, his third of the season. After posting the quickest lap in round one, Dorn was again on his game in the final as narrowly pulled out a win by just a few hundredths of a second over Scott. Dorn ran a 7.102, 207.59 in the final to Scott’s 7.161, 210.837.
Other sportsman winners from the Arizona Nitro Jam were Jerry Duffy in Super Pro, Benny Gossett in Pro ET, Matt Hawk in Sportsman, Marle Patterson in Bikes, Dannielle Tramell in Junior Advanced and Cody Thomas in Junior Beginner.
After a hugely successful event in Arizona that saw two consecutive standing room only crowds and plenty of great racing, the Nitro Jam tour now heads east – although not by much – for a date with San Antonio Raceway April 1-2 at the San Antonio Nitro Jam in Texas.
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Saturday'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 Two -- Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.772 seconds, 311.70 mph def. Bruce Litton, 5.212 seconds, 206.42 mph.
Prostalgia Funny Car Day Two -- Peter Gallen, Chevy Vega, 5.777, 250.97 def. Mike McIntire, Chevy Camaro, 5.808, 232.39.
Fuel Altered Day Two -- Chris Bennett, Austin Bantam, 6.443, 214.28 def. Jason Richey, Bantam, 6.921, 217.63.
Nitro Harley Day Two -- Steve Dorn, 7.102, 207.59 def. Mike Scott, 7.161, 210.87.
Top Dragster -- Sheldon Gecker, Dragster, 7.661, 169.89 def. Chuck Hawk Jr., Dragster, 7.363, 176.70.
Super Pro -- Jerry Duffy Sr, Eddies, 7.607, 172.34 def. Ken Bolle, Dragster, 8.268, 156.30.
Pro ET -- Benny Gossett, '27-T Ford, 10.417, 86.83 def. James Sorenson Jr, Nova, foul.
Sportsman -- Matt Hawk, Mustang, 13.213, 95.80 def. Chris Stout, Nova, 12.083, 107.88.
Bikes -- Marle Patterson, Kawasaki, 10.487, 122.31 def. Tom Patterson, Kawasaki, 9.593, 134.36.
Jr Dragster Runoff -- Dannielle Tramell, Dragster, 8.045, 80.50 def. Cody Thomas, Dragster, 9.001, 71.40.
Jr. Dragster 13-17 -- Dannielle Tramell, 8.073, 80.35 def. Gabriel Brown, 7.998, 80.93.
Junior Dragster 8-12 -- Cody Thomas, 9.009, 71.16 def. Courtnee Boettcher, 9.492, 68.14.
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 TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Bruce Litton, 4.793, 300.73 def. Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.828, 286.32;
FINAL -- B. Lagana Jr., 4.772, 311.70 def. B. Litton, 5.212, 206.42.
PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- James Day, Pontiac Trans Am, 5.904, 235.27 def. Roger Garten, Ford Mustang, 6.171, 231.16; Mike Savage, Plymouth Barracuda, 5.930, 241.71 def. Mark Sanders, Chevy Nova, 6.955, 235.89; Peter Gallen, Chevy Vega, 5.811, 239.40 def. Tim Boychuk, Pontiac Firebird, 5.968, 236.34; Mike McIntire, Chevy Camaro, 5.807, 240.64 def. Mike Adams, Chevy Corvette, 8.502, 105.74;
CONSOLATION -- T. Boychuk, 5.837, 232.71 def. R. Garten, 5.998, 235.80; M. Savage, 5.867, 243.28 def. M. Sanders, 6.107, 238.38; J. Day, 5.895, 232.83 def. M. Adams, 6.314, 222.80;
FINAL -- P. Gallen, 5.777, 250.97 def. M. McIntire, 5.808, 232.39.
FUEL ALTERED DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Jason Richey, Bantam, 6.866, 216.41 def. Ron Hope, Bantam, broke; Chris Bennett, Austin Bantam, 6.349, 214.28 def. Ron Maroney, broke;
CONSOLATION -- R. Maroney, 6.248, 224.51 was unopposed;
FINAL -- C. Bennett, 6.443, 214.28 def. J. Richey, 6.921, 217.63.
NITRO HARLEY DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Mike Scott, 13.638, 67.63 def. Jay Turner, broke; Steve Dorn, 6.897, 201.73 def. Randal Andras, 10.475, 85.93;
CONSOLATION -- R. Andras, 6.819, 194.58 def. J. Turner, broke;
FINAL -- S. Dorn, 7.102, 207.59 def. M. Scott, 7.161, 210.87.