Sur­prises abound at Pres­i­dent’s Cup Nationals

Boy­chuk, Go­forth among win­ners at IHRA event

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

Sunny, warm con­di­tions through­out the day on Satur­day proved to be ideal for par­tic­i­pants and spec­ta­tors alike for the In­ter­na­tional Hot Rod As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent’s Cup Nationals at Mary­land In­ter­na­tional Race­way as the el­e­vated quar­ter-mile sur­face pro­duced fast clock­ings that en­er­gized the spec­ta­tors well into the evening.

Those spec­ta­tors who might have ar­rived at Budds Creek in the early evening ex­pect­ing to see the top two seeds, Ja­son Ru­pert and Shawn Bowen clash in the AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car fi­nals were in for a mild sur­prise. Fol­low­ing the first two rounds of elim­i­na­tions, it was Mike McIn­tyre Jr. and Tim Boy­chuk who re­turned for the fi­nal as both Ru­pert and Bowen were early ex­its.

McIn­tyre (5.69 time, 257.30 mph) had reached the fi­nal courtesy of his vic­tory over Mark San­ders in the semi­fi­nals, while Boy­chuk (5.77, 243.94) had de­feated Steve Ni­chols in the other semi­fi­nal. One round ear­lier, McIn­tyre (5.71, 248.39) knocked off Bowen, while Boy­chuk (5.71, 238.85) de­feated Paul Romine.

From the mo­ment the lights went green on the tree for the Nitro Funny Car fi­nal, McIn­trye and Boy­chuk were vir­tu­ally in­sep­a­ra­ble and they re­mained that way through­out the quar­ter-mile dash to the fin­ish. McIn­tyre (5.71, 256.410 posted the faster num­bers, but Boy­chuk (5.72, 254.09) was de­clared the holeshot win­ner courtesy of a faster re­ac­tion time (.082 to .174).

“The crew had the card in great shape tonight,” said Boy­chuk, a na­tive of Ed­mon­ton, Al­berta, Canada. “We ran three straight 5.71s then we came back with a 5.72 in the fi­nal. We knew it was go­ing to be close. I hated to win by holeshot, but Mike ran a great race. The card was per­fect all day. All the credit goes to [crew chief] ‘Twig.’ He’s been with us a long time and he’s the best.”

Head­ing into Satur­day’s AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car ac­tion, much of the at­ten­tion fo­cused on Ru­pert, who ar­rived as the points leader and top seed af­ter Fri­day’s qual­i­fiers and reign­ing cham­pion. But Ru­pert’s af­ter­noon came to an early con­clu­sion when Steve Ni­chols (5.92, 222.03), who limped into the elim­i­na­tions fol­low­ing a pedes­trian qual­i­fy­ing run (9.81, 102.02) on Fri­day, de­feated the top seed in the first quar­ter­fi­nal.

Sur­prises con­tin­ued in the first round of elim­i­na­tions when Bowen, who ar­rived sec­ond in the points stand­ings but was sev­enth af­ter Fri­day’s qual­i­fiers, was ousted when his car be­gan leak­ing fuel at the start and was or­dered shut off be­fore the quar­ter­fi­nal. McIn­tyre (5.71, 248.3) com­pleted the dis­tance un­con­tested to reach the semi­fi­nals.

In the Pro Stock fi­nal, Cary Go­forth (6.27, 224.55) was quicker off the block at the start and eas­ily up­ended Trevor Eman (8.46, 88.8), who slid mid­way down the track and scraped the outer wall, an im­me­di­ate dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion. With the vic­tory, Go­forth claimed the over­all lead in the points stand­ings for this divi­sion.

“We’ve had a tough start to the sea­son,” Go­forth said. “Tonight was re­ally the first time that we got the card right. It was good all day. Trevor’s been do­ing a good job with his team. We didn’t ex­pect to leave here with the lead in the points stand­ings. I don’t know if I would rather be do­ing the chas­ing or the one who’s be­ing chased.”

Go­forth (6.28, 225.0) and Eman (6.3, 222.28) reached the fi­nal courtesy of vic­to­ries over John Pluchino (6.28, 222.44) and J.R. Carr (6.29, 224.14), re­spec­tively, in a pair of semi­fi­nals in which the fin­ish­ers were vir­tu­ally in­sep­a­ra­ble. Go­forth (6.284, 225.00) de­feated Brad Wad­dle (6.355, 223.21) in the quar­ter­fi­nals, while Pluchino (6.426, 211.30) eas­ily ousted Larry O’Brien who strug­gled across the line.

In the Nitro Mo­tor­cy­cle fi­nal, Bob Mal­loy (6.25, 212.73) con­tin­ued a stel­lar run through the event to de­feat Tii Tharpe (6.39, 216.83) for the ti­tle. Mal­loy had es­tab­lished a new world record with his semi­fi­nal vic­tory but needed to come within one per­cent of that mark in the fi­nal in or­der to keep the stan­dard. Mal­loy suc­cess­fully backed it up with his tri­umph in the fi­nal.

Tharpe and Mal­loy had ad­vanced to the fi­nal via nar­row semi­fi­nal vic­to­ries, although Mal­loy’s was an eye-open­ing 6.20, 209.85 mph world record per­for­mance. In the quar­ter­fi­nals, Jay Turner (6.30, 230.4) edged Ran­dall An­dras (6.37, 220.9), but top seed Tracy Kile could not avoid the wave of up­sets when he was up­ended by Ja­son Pride­more.

In Satur­day’s Pro Mod­i­fied fi­nal, Kevin McCurdy (6.03, 236.3) had lit­tle trou­ble de­feat­ing Mac McA­dams (12.64, 55.45) who was late off the light and ap­peared to shut down 100 yards from the line. McCurdy avenged a prior set­back to McA­dams the last time they had met in an IHRA event fi­nal at Budds Creek.

“This win means a lot,” McCurdy said. “We needed this one. The car was OK. We fought through some things early. The track was a lit­tle quick for us early, so we had to ad­just, but get­ting the win was nice. I lost to Mac the last time we met in the fi­nals, so get­ting one re­ally helped. We work seven days a week.”

McCurdy and McA­dams had won their semi­fi­nals in dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent fash­ion. McCurdy (5.96, 239.87) eas­ily dis­posed of Steve King, while McA­dams (7.23, 136.23) won in a walkover as top seed Dwayne Wolfe never made it from the pit area to the start­ing line.

Rac­ing fans and par­tic­i­pants got an early in­di­ca­tion about the light­ning fast con­di­tions on Fri­day evening when AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car cham­pion Ru­pert es­tab­lished a new track record of 5.635 sec­onds while trav­el­ing 255.39 mph McIn­tyre posted the sec­ond-fastest qual­i­fy­ing time (5.686) while es­tab­lish­ing a new speed record of 258.71 mph.

Billy Harper, who ar­rived as the points leader, set the IHRA Pro Mod world record when he cov­ered the quar­ter-mile dis­tance in 5.832 sec­onds while hit­ting 235.93 mph. Harper’s first round elapsed time of 5.873 sec­onds was within one per­cent of his top ef­fort. Wolfe (5.870, 243.24) was the sec­ond seed af­ter Fri­day’s qual­i­fiers.

Turner, the de­fend­ing IHRA Nitro Mo­tor­cy­cle cham­pion and a four-time champ over­all, set track records of 6.285 sec­onds and 228.11 mph. But in the sec­ond ses­sion, Kile, grabbed the top over­all seed by post­ing a 6.253-sec­ond run and trav­el­ing 230.33 mph. Kile ar­rived eighth in the IHRA stand­ings but en­tered the record books on Fri­day night with his stel­lar qual­i­fy­ing ef­fort.

In IHRA Pro Stock qual­i­fy­ing on Fri­day, Go­forth (6.249, 223.80) grabbed the top spot courtesy of his sec­ond qual­i­fy­ing run, while Carr (6.287, 223.32), Matt Bertsch (6.291, 221.45) and O’Brien (6.299, 223.88) com­pleted the top four seeds af­ter Fri­day’s two rounds of qual­i­fiers.

PHOTO BY CHRIS SIM­MONS

Cary Go­forth pre­pares for a start on Fri­day night in IHRA Pres­i­dent’s Cup Nationals qual­i­fy­ing rounds at Mary­land In­ter­na­tional Race­way. Go­forth won the cham­pi­onship on Satur­day night to take the over­all points lead in the Pro Stock.

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