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Maier, Kile, Gallen sweep in thrilling fashion during championship Sunday at Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Prior to this weekend’s IHRA national event at the Grand Bend Motorplex neither Tracy Kile nor Ike Maier had ever won an IHRA Ironman in their respective class.

That all changed over the weekend.

During a thrilling three days of racing at the famed Grand Bend Motorplex in western Ontario Maier, piloting the “Nitro Warrior” Top Fuel Dragster, and Kile, driving a Jay Turner powered Nitro Harley, both claimed their first and second career Ironmen in exciting fashion during championship Sunday at the Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada.

Maier, a former IHRA winner in Pro Modified, picked up his first career Ironmen in Top Fuel Saturday and Sunday in Grand Bend, besting Bobby Lagana Jr. both nights. On Sunday Maier ran a quick 4.969 seconds at 277.77 miles per hour in the final, a feat that was made even more impressive considering Maier is a regular on the NHRA circuit and isn’t acclimated to running the full drag racing distance of a quarter-mile.

GBM Sunday Gallen

   Peter Gallen

“To be honest this was pretty new to us. We had not run a full quarter-mile pass in a long time entering Edmonton a few weeks ago and here and we were just trying to get used to the distance,” Maier said. “We added more fuel and had to put together a completely different setup, but boy did it feel good to run the quarter-mile again. I am so used to lifting at 1,000 feet and that extra 300 feet, it is tough, but it is fun. You are running wide open and the car is still carrying so much speed, but you learn to work around it.

“This IHRA deal is really nice racing. I love it.”

Joining Maier and Kile in Sunday’s pro winners circle were Peter Gallen in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Mike Hilsabeck in Nostalgia Fuel Altered and Eric Latino in the PMRA Pro Modified Invitational.

Sportsman winners during Day 2 of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL Division 3 doubleheader were Fred Sommer (Top Sportsman), Bill Moloughney (Top Dragster), Franco Cantusci (Super Stock), Stephen McGrath (Stock), Ken Hebert Jr. (Quick Rod), Jacob Elrod (Super Rod) and Roy Lister (Hot Rod).

GBM Sunday Kile

   Tracy Kile

Other sportsman winners from Sunday’s Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals were Top ET winner Will Steckly, Mod ET winner Will Steckly, Junior Dragster winner Tyler Donahue and Harley Destroyers winner Pete Thomson.

Maier put himself on the radar at IHRA’s Mopar Rocky Mountain Nationals two weeks ago in Edmonton as the Tottenham, Ontario native came just a few miles per hour shy of setting the track speed record in his first pass. While he didn’t turn that speed into a win at the western Canadian event, Maier more than made up for it with a pair of wins in Grand Bend.

“This is very exciting. I have won a bunch of races here, but never in a Top Fuel car. The car is running pretty good. I had to lift a couple of times, but for the most part we were able to run it hard and put on a show for these great fans,” Maier said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but as they say it is not how you win, it is how many you win and we got two this weekend.”

GBM Sunday Elrod

   Jacob Elrod

In Sunday’s final Maier’s 4.969 held up to Lagana’s 5.124, 259.46 pass to take the win. In the consolation run Bruce Litton defeated Kyle Wurtzel with both lifting midway through the run.

Tracy Kile was Sunday’s other big winner as the Asheville, North Carolina native won his very first career Nitro Harley win on Saturday and followed it up with a second win Sunday. Both wins came against Kile’s bike owner and tuner Jay Turner with the pair saving the best for last in Sunday’s final elimination. In that final Kile ran a 6.512, 211.10 to Turner’s 6.691, 213.23 in a tremendous side-by-side pass to give Kile the win.

“It is about time! The bike has been running good all year long, but I just haven’t been able to get it done with the trophy on the line,” Kile said. “Jay tunes both bikes, so ultimately he has control over the deal, so I guess he cut me some slack this weekend!

“The great thing about having to run Jay all the time is that you get to prove yourself. As they say if you want to be the best you have to beat the best and it feels awesome to do it against Jay. That was a big goal for me this year was getting an Ironman and I am so excited to accomplish that.”

GBM Sunday Hilsabeck

   Mike Hilsabeck

In the consolation run Jake Stordeur defeated Rob Brown.

Peter Gallen won for the seventh time in 2013 in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, sweeping a Nitro Jam weekend for the fourth fifth time in his career as he held off Mike Minick and the “Chi-Town Hustler” team. Minick had low elapsed time of the weekend entering Sunday’s final, but in the money round Minick went -.201 red and Gallen powered to a 5.778, 248.29 in the “Poverty Stricken” ’77 Monza in picking up the win and setting the bench mark for the weekend.

In the consolation round Rick Krafft defeated Mike McIntire.

Mike Hilsabeck wrapped up Nitro Jam competition with a close win over Ron Hope in Fuel Altered. Hilsabeck drove the “Arizona Thunder” to a 6.581, 212.49 in the win, edging Ron Hope’s “Rat Trap” by just two thousandths at the line to get the win. Hope ran a 6.553, 209.88 in the runner-up effort.

Ron Maroney won the consolation pairing against Kyle Hough. Maroney also failed to back up his numbers from Saturday night as the Arizona native ran the quickest and fastest Fuel Altered pass in IHRA history at 5.935 seconds at 236.13.

GBM Sunday Lister

   Roy Lister

Eric Latino won the Pro Modified Racing Association Invitational on Sunday, defeating three-time PMRA champion Bruce Boland in the final. Latino won his second Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals in row in easy fashion as Boland broke on his burnout allowing the Ontario native to take a nice leisurely stroll to the Ironman.

Latino qualified No. 2 on the charts and defeated Steve Legare, Kenny Lang and Boland on his way to the win.

In sportsman competition Harrod, Ohio native Jacob Elrod returned to the track where he won three races in one day one year ago, once again claiming a win in Super Rod to give him four Sunday wins in four years at Grand Bend. Elrod drove his Corvette roadster to a win over Dave Klomps as Elrod ran one one thousandth off of the 9.90 dial while Klomps broke out by that same margin.

In Top Sportsman Fred Sommer won via red light over Steve Corriveau while Bill Moloughney produced a very close win over Tony Positano in the Top Dragster final. In the Stock categories Franco Cantusci won over a red-lighting Robert Becker in Super Stock and Stephen McGrath continued his hot streak in Stock with a win over Doug Box.

GBM Sunday Latino

   Eric Latino

Finally Ken Hebert Jr. used a .001 reaction time to help propel him to a win over Vince Gregoire and Roy Lister took the win light over a red-lighting Chris Black in Hot Rod.

Next up for the IHRA Nitro Jam series is a trip to U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan for the CarSafe Northern Nitro Jam presented by Perry Harley-Davidson August 9-10.

GBM Sunday Kile 1

   Tracy Kile

GBM Sunday McGrath

   Stephen McGrath

GBM Sunday Maier 1

   Ike Maier

GBM Sunday Sommer

   Fred Sommer

GBM Sunday Minick

   Mike Minick

GBM Sunday Moloughny

   Bill Moloughney

Last modified on Sunday, 21 July 2013
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