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Mon, 5 Jun 2000, 11:36 AM

Inaugural Grand Bend Race Breaks Records
By Larry Sullivan





GRAND BEND, Ont. - For the third time this season, the IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series crowned a new Top Fuel winner as Clay Millican beat Shirley Muldowney in the battle of the dot coms at the Inaugural Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol.

Millican, in the stealthsponsor.com dragster, also scored his first Top Fuel victory.

Muldowney lost her reverse on her burnout and had to be pushed back by her crew to the starting line.

"Shirley is my hero," Millican said. "There was no way I was going to race without her...When her stage light came on, I knew we were going to race."

Millican beat Muldowney with a pass of 4.848 seconds/307.48 mph. Muldowney went 4.889/297.12. With the win Millican moved into third place behind Winter Nationals winner Paul Romine and Spring Nationals winner Bruce Litton in the $1 million IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series championship points.

Muldowney set a new world speed mark during the event with a 310.13.

"You know who's going to be tough the rest of the season, Shirley," Clay Millican's Crew Chief, Mike Kloeber said. "Rahn Tobler (Muldowney's husband and crew chief) is going to get that race car going and Shirley is going to be a contendor for the title."

Fred Hahn defeated Troy Critchley in Johnny Rocca's "Ironhorse" '49 Mercury in the Mopar Performance Parts Pro Modified final.

Critchley, a non-qualifer in the first two races of the season, barely lost to Hahn. Hahn's winning run was clocked at 6.220/226.70, the elapsed time good enough to back up his World E.T. record of 6.179. Critchley ran a 6.354/224.55 in the loss.

"Jim Oddy (Hahn's car owner and crew chief) and Tommy Anderson (a well-known engine tuner) are two of the smartest people in this sport," Hahn said. "They give me a perfect car to drive every week. The facility was second to none. The 6.17 was the quickest pass ever and that hasn't been done anywhere else reguardless of conditions. I'd like to have six races a year here. I will highly doubt you will see a 6-teen the rest of this year."

In Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley, Jay "Bulldog" Turner won his second race of the year, defeating 1998 World Champion Johnny Mancuso. Turner ran a 6.688/179.03 for the win, while Mancuso ran a 7.473/146.67.

"With the problems we were having, there was no way I could beat him so I shut the bike off," Mancuso said.

"I want to qualify and win the first round every time," Turner said.

In Funny Car, 1999 World Champion Von Smith won his first race of the season, in his Atomic City Tools Firebird, defeating Scott Weney with a pass of 5.902/236.96. Weney ran a 5.968/233.16.

"We have been struggling lately," Smith said. "We have been testing more than we ever have and couldn't find anything. Scott's a great competitor and I like beating him. Canadians are the nicest people. We've been very well received and looking forward to next year."

Ford came up short in Pro Stock as Ron Miller and John Montecalvo, in Chevy Monte Carlos, met in the finals. Miller won his second IHRA career Pro Stock race with a pass of 6.685/207.56. Montecalvo ran a 8.278/117.09.

"We couldn't have done this without Moser Engineering," the 51-year-old driver said. "The race facility was great and I like beating John Montecalvo."

In Pro Oulaw, Neal Parker beat Dave Christensen in the finals with a 6.210/229.41 pass. The speed was good enough to back up Parker's mph record, a 230.82. Christensen ran a 6.488/204.17.

The next stop in the $1 million Summit Drag Racing Series is Cordova Dragway Park in Cordova, Ill, June 15-17, 2000.



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