Wright back in the groove behind wheel of brand new ‘12 Camaro
By IHRA Media
Apr 12, 2012
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
And that is especially true for 2011 Top Sportsman World Champion Glenn Wright.
Despite the learning curve of piloting multiple cars last season, Wright simply never missed a beat. The Odessa, Texas native won multiple times culminating with a world championship at the Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions at Virginia Motorsports Park behind the wheel of a brand new Pontiac GXP, a car he picked up just a week prior with absolutely no seat time.
And just like last season ended, Wright began 2012 in the same fashion with another new car as he debuted the very first 2012 Chevrolet Camaro in IHRA competition at the San Antonio Nitro Jam at San Antonio Raceway and proceeded to reenact his championship performance from the year prior with yet another big win.
“Last October we debuted a new car that we introduced at the World Finals and obviously we had a good weekend,” Wright said. “The Camaro was already ordered, but right before the finals I found a problem with the chassis on our 2004 Grand Am. Needing a car for the finals, we drove to Virginia to pick up the GXP which we turned around and won the championship with.
Wright in victory lane after winning the San Antonio Nitro Jam
“Obviously that was probably one of the craziest things I have ever done. To drive to Virginia and buy a new car when we had one on order was a little nuts. But once we got the new car it obviously worked out well for us. Now we have the Camaro which ran good in San Antonio and we had a little luck with it in its first time out as well.”
In front of one of the biggest crowds in San Antonio Raceway history, Wright went four exciting rounds before meeting Mark Ellis from Graham, Texas in the finals. Fog late Saturday night forced the postponement of the final two rounds of Top Sportsman to Sunday night where Wright fell in one final during Sunday’s Pro-Am portion of the race race before turning around and defeating Ellis in the Tournament of Champions tilt.
And what a final it was. Wright got out of the groove early and was forced to back off the throttle, but Ellis did not realize the problem and broke out at the finish line by a few hundredths of a second. Wright’s winning pass was 15.906/43.07 with a .035 reaction time while Ellis ran a 7.864/175.85 on a 7.88 dial.
“We really didn’t run into any trouble during the weekend,” Wright said. “Saturday night we got into some fog which made it hard to see and we had to finish up on Sunday. From there we had two finals in a row where I red-lit in one and got lucky in the other.
“In the TOC final my air bottle got turned off and I didn’t have any air to shift the car, but he was like everybody else and was scared of our numbers. I was running 203 on every pass and I had everybody by 30 to 50 miles per hour so everybody was scared of me. So when I got out of the groove, he didn’t lift.
“I didn’t make a good pass in the final and I watched him go through the top end and when his light didn’t come on I knew he had obviously broke out and we coasted across for the win.”
Wright battles Ellis in the Top Sportsman final
Wright began the day from the No. 3 position on the qualifying charts with a pass of 6.922/201.79. Monte Weaver from Lubbock, Texas qualified first with a 6.704/204.73 and final round participant Ellis qualified 17th with a 7.845/176.96 behind the wheel of his 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier.
Wright then proceeded to go four error-free rounds to defeat Chris Gulitti, Terry Sawyer, Donald Boyd and Glenn Reus. Wright had laps of 6.991, 6.907, 6.937 and 6.982 on his way to the win. Ironically, the same driver Wright beat in round one of the TOC final was Sunday’s big winner in the Pro-Am race as Gulitti rocketed to the win on Wright’s .001 red light.
Ellis defeated Marlon Goates, Kevin Hampton and Scooter Hampton on his way to the TOC final.
“This is the win I needed,” Wright said. “It is always nice to get the monkey off your back early and get into the TOC. This is the third year in a row I have been to the finals at our first national event of the year and the second time I have won it.
“What we race for is to try and be the champion again and see if we can repeat. This win gives us a great start down that path.”
In addition to picking up the big win, Wright was especially proud to be the first driver to debut the new Camaro in IHRA competition. And winning only added icing to the cake.
“I picked this thing up a week before the race and put in about 100 hours worth of work to get here,” Wright said. “We worked day and night, finished it up and threw it in the trailer and on our very first pass we ran hammer down and it was simply perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better start.”
Wright won the 2011 Top Sportsman World Championship