WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Steve Dillman of Indianapolis, Ind., staged a remarkable rally on the final day of competition to claim the overall points title at the 19th annual Sunoco Five-Day E.T. Championships at Moroso Motorsports Park. Dillman, a professional firefighter, won the $10,000 first place prize on the opening night of the event, and secured the overall title, and the $7,500 bonus that went with it, by reaching the semifinals on Sunday. Dillman finished with 107 points, 16 more than second place Mark Kelley of Hainesport, N.J. Bruce Kaul, Tim Cmar, Steve Ryan, and Phllip Chester finished in a three way tie for this place.
"You always dream about having races like this, but you never think it's going to happen to you," said Dillman, who is a member of Harold Stout's Winnebago team. "I've had a rough year but this make up for it. I have to give a lot of credit to my car. It was flawless all five days."
Dillman entered the final day of competition leading the standings with 72 points, though more than 50 drivers were still mathematically alive for the championship. Dillman continued to pile up round wins, locking out many of the would-be challengers. The intense chase came to an end in round five where Cmar, Kaul, and Ryan all were defeated, giving Dillman an insurmountable lead. All told, Dillman's take for the weekend was nearly $20,000.
Sunday's $10,000 final round was won by Shane Carr, who drove Scotty Richardson's Rydin Decal dragster to a nearly perfect run to stop Kelley. Carr, who won a $10,000 race a week ago in Bradenton, Fla., cut a .504 reaction time and ran an 8.193 on his 8.19 dial for the win over Kelley, who wasn't far behind with a .512 light and a 7.927 on his dial-in prediction of 7.92.
Dillman was the lone semifinalist and George Rupert of Cookville, Tenn., and John Bochon of Scranton, Pa., were the quarterfinalists.
On Saturday, local racer Mike Ferraro of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., claimed a final round victory over former NHRA and Moroso champ Steve Cohen. Ferraro left with a competitive .511 light and ran an 8.257 on his 8.24 dial for the win over Cohen, who broke out with a 7.696 on his 7.71 dial. Both finalists were driving Mullis-built dragsters.
Saturday's semifinalists as former Moroso winner Steve Ryan, the brother of Day 2 winner Jim Ryan. Harry Dixon Jr., of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., and Gerry Sweeney of Boca Raton Fla., were the quarterfinal finishers.
More than $200,000 in cash was paid to the more than 350 competitors who took part in the Sunoco Five-Day E.T. Championships and Moroso Motorsports Park track officials are already making plans for a special 20th anniversary celebration which will take place in November 2001.
19th Annual Sunoco Five-Day E.T. Championships Final Points Standings
Steve Dillman Indianapolis, Ind. 107 points $7,500 bonus Mark Kelley Hainesport, N.J. 91 $2,500 Bruce Kaul Racine, Minn. 80 $1,125 Tim Cmar Goodlettsville, Tenn. 80 $1,125 Steve Ryan Owings Mills, Md. 80 $1,125 Philip Chester Clarksville, Tenn 80 $1,125
NHRA: 10 Most Recent Entries
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Sunday Wrap Up
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Countdown to the Championship Points
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Bonus Points
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Summary of Eliminations in Top Fuel
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Summary of Eliminations in Funny Car
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Summary of Eliminations in Pro Stock
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Summary of Eliminations in Pro Stock Motorcycle
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Summary of Eliminations in Pro Modified
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Summary of Eliminations in Competition Eliminator
Sep 25- ST. LOUIS - Summary of Eliminations in Stock Eliminator