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Thu, 20 Jun 2002, 11:59 PM

Baker Dominates 24th Annual Mountain Motor Nationals at MIR
Courtesy of Bill Pratt

BUDDS CREEK, Md. -- Carl Baker won the 24th Annual Mountain Motor Nationals Pro Stock race last night at Maryland International Raceway in a dominating performance. Driving the Summit Racing 2002 Cougar, Baker set Low ET and Top Speed and won the eight car qualified event with consistent 6.50s. In a repeat of the IHRA Shreveport final this year, Baker defeated John Montecalvo and the Citgo Chevrolet Cavalier. Larry Plummer won an associated Frantic 7 Doorslammer show in his nitrous assisted '63 Corvette.

After two rounds of qualifying, the Pro Stock field was set as follows:

1. Carl Baker, 2002 Mercury Cougar, 6.559, 211.36
2. Doug Kirk, 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier, 6.618, 210.87
3. John Montecalvo, 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, 6.620, 209.79
4. Tim Nabors, 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier, 6.634, 209.04
5. Wally Stroupe, 2001 Pontiac Grand Am, 6.677, 208.52
6. Frank Gugliotta, 1997 Ford Probe, 6.692, 209.59
7. Frank Snellings, Jr., 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, 6.728, 207.43
8. Terry Walters, 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 6.806, 203.37


9. Harold Robinson, 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 7.000, 195.17 10. Jason Collins, 2002 Mercury Cougar, 7.643, 128.02 11. Steve Williford, 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, 7.941, 202.48

Round one began with Wally Stroupe upsetting Tim Nabors, who shut off with problems. Wally went 6.780 at 207.37 to advance to round two with a unique Jon Kaase GM powerplant. Pro Stock rookie Frank Snellings Jr., then won his first ever round of Pro Stock racing in a huge upset of Doug Kirk. As the two time IHRA World Champion shook the tires to a 10.90 shut off, Snellings sped to a personal best time of 6.705 at 207.82 mph. Snellings is a local racer who won the first two Frantic Four season championships at MIR. He went to Jerry Haas’s shop in late 2001 and dropped $82,000 on a brand new Cavalier, then spent more money on best motor Sonny’s Automotive had to offer. NHRA Ford Pro Stock star Robert Patrick Jr. was on hand to help Snellings.

John Montecalvo found the 6.50s with a 6.596, 210.37 defeat of Frank Gugliotta, now driving the Jon Yoak Ford Probe. Gugliotta nearly pulled off the win when he coupled his 6.684 at 209.85 to a .463 to .537 holeshot. Montecalvo held off the Ford by only .014 seconds! Carl Baker then backed up his qualifying run with a booming 6.562, 213.40-mph defeat of Terry Walters, whose psychedelic Monte Carlo ran a career best, but inadequate, 6.788 at 202.82. Walters said he would return for the IHRA Mid Atlantic Nationals in September only if he could find additional horsepower.

The Pro Stock semifinals began with Frank Snellings dream evening ending in tire spin and a 14-second shutoff. John Montecalvo stayed close to Baker with a 6.585 at 208.78. Carl Baker then earned lane choice in the final with a 6.553, 206.54 defeat of Wally Stroupe, who ran a good 6.665 at 209.36. Wally made it close with a .449 to .487 holeshot, but 6.50s were the order of the day.

The Ford versus Chevy final was a Pro Stock lover’s dream. Montecalvo’s Citgo Cavalier had been a few hundredths behind Baker’s Summit Cougar all day so he needed to get a jump at the start. John did get a holeshot, but it was a minor one, .471 to .479. By half-track, Baker’s iridescent Mercury was clearly ahead and he finished off the Citgo Chevy with an amazing 6.537 at 213.50 to John’s 6.602 at 210.64. The win was Baker’s second Mountain Motor Nationals title in the past three years.

MIR’s popular Frantic 7 category was on hand to round out the evening for the doorslammer crazy Southern Maryland fans. Former nitrous Top Dragster star Larry Plummer took his new ’63 Corvette to a win over two time 2002 winner Kent Ferrell.

After two rounds, the Frantic 7 field was set. (Frantic 7 qualifies seven cars, and offers the low qualifier a first round bye as incentive.) The field lined up as follows:

1. Kent Ferrell, nitrous 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.518, 214.76
2. Larry Plummer, nitrous 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.528, 213.77
3. Mark McHugh, nitrous 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.551, 215.79
4. Ed Burnley, nitrous 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.610, 212.90
5. Tommy Howes, supercharged 1991 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.612, 214.45
6. Marc Hemling, nitrous 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.706, 211.36
7. Allan Juhasz, nitrous 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 6.731, 207.50


8. Billy Farmer, nitrous 1992 Pontiac Trans Am, 6.735, 209.23
9. Milt Decker, nitrous 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.851, 201.64
10. Al Boyd, nitrous 1969 Chevrolet Nova, 7.241, 179.11
11. Robert Tyree, nitrous 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, 7.265, 190.59
12. Dale Brady, nitrous 1995 Dodge Avenger, 7.629, 178.07
13. Barney Squires, nitrous 1998 Chevrolet Corvette, 9.726, 93.84
14. Marc Hayes, nitrous 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 10.551, 87.06

Round one kicked off with the lone supercharged entry of Tommy Howes facing chassis builder Ed Burnley’s Sorcerer Corvette. Howes stayed side by side with Burnley until half-track, then slowed at the top end. Burnley went 6.673, 212.59 to defeat Tommy’s 7.519 at 137. Up next, 2002 points leader Allan Juhasz blatantly redlighted away a good 6.695 at 208.17. Larry Plummer shut off to a 7.079 at only 148 mph for the win.

Up next, Marc Hemling wheelstood his Corvette, headed for the right retaining wall, and shut off. Three time series champ Billy Farmer (filling in for a broken Mark McHugh), took the win with an exact duplicate of his qualifying run, 6.735 at 209.69 mph. Kent Ferrell only needed to break the beams under power on his first round bye and that’s exactly what he did. Barney Squires then came out for a 6.890, 201.55 time run, a huge improvement for the Shooting Star Corvette.

The semifinals began with Kent Ferrell meeting Ed Burnley. The two left the line like Super Comp racers, with Burnley barely leading Ferrell with awesome reaction times of .418 to .421! Ferrell’s patriotically painted Corvette again found the low 6.50s and won with a 6.528, 214.42 over Burnley’s 6.681. Larry Plummer kept pace with Ferrell by defeating Billy Farmer, 6.575, 212.69 to a loose 6.878, 186.87. Farmer has sold his dominating ’63 Corvette and was shoeing John Coles’ IKES Racing 1992 Trans Am. Marc Hemling then came out for a time run and hit an amazing 6.464 at 215.31.

The final had Larry Plummer and Kent Ferrell meeting with Ferrell going for his third straight win. Ferrell redlighted away his chances, however, handing an automatic win to Plummer. Pity, as the numbers were superb and close: 6.562 at 214.01 for Ferrell and a winning 6.583 at 211.89 for Plummer.

The next special event at MIR is the War on Wednesday on August 17. The mid-week event will feature Pro Street Doorslammers, Frantic 7 Doorslammers, and Frantic 7 Dragsters/Altereds. War on Wednesday is also a "Fox Hunt" event, as MIR promoters rekindle a 1970s drag racing phenomena. All females will receive free admission to the event.

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