NEW ALEXANDRIA, Pa. (June 1, 2013) – The rains were coming, so Nitro Jam kicked things into overdrive.
With a gloomy forecast and a nice window of warm, dry weather on Saturday, the International Hot Rod Association stepped up in a big way and accomplished the impossible by squeezing in two full sportsman races and a Nitro Jam all in one day with nearly two dozen drivers walking away winners and fans witnessing an incredible show all during a jam-packed Suzuki Pittsburgh Nitro Jam at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.
Gallen won his fifth consecutive Funny Car race Saturday at Suzuki Pittsburgh Nitro Jam
In an amazing joint effort by the IHRA and Pittsburgh Raceway Park staffs the two crews joined forces and produced an amazing result, finishing both days of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour competition and the Nitro Jam show all in less than 12 hours.
“It was an amazing effort by both the IHRA and Greg Miller and his incredible staff at Pittsburgh to get this done today. The forecast looked sketchy so we knew that we had to do something to make sure our racers and fans were satisfied,” said Skooter Peaco, IHRA VP of Race Operations. “In the end the show went off without a hitch and the racers lauded the decision. Once again we were able to shine a light on our incredible sportsman competitors and showcase them on Saturday while also avoiding a potential pitfall on Sunday. I can’t thank both teams enough for the amazing job they did today.”
In Nitro Jam professional competition Peter Gallen continued his dominance of the Nitro Jam series and Pittsburgh Raceway Park by collecting his fifth consecutive win in 2013 and his third straight at PRP to earn his 22nd win in the past three seasons. It was an especially emotional victory for the Pennsylvania native as he hosted a young boy battling a rare form of cancer and his family and dedicated the win to young Isaiah Robb shortly after the race.
“This win is for him. He is such a tough little guy and really he has become our lucky charm over the past few seasons,” Gallen said. “The car ran great and we enjoyed going up against (Mike) McIntire in the final, but really this night is all about Isaiah and his family. We are so happy they were able to join us here this weekend and he was able to be the Grand Marshal for the race. It was a great evening for the ‘Poverty Stricken’ team and for Isaiah.”
Mark Payne took home two Top Sportsman wins in one day Saturday at Pittsburgh Raceway Park
Gallen was joined in the winner’s circle by Tracy Kile (Nitro Harley) and Ron Maroney (Fuel Altered) in the professional classes, with Jill Canuso adding a thrilling exhibition victory over Bruce Litton’s Top Fuel Dragster behind the wheel of her brand new “Queen of Diamonds II” jet-powered dragster in the evening’s finale.
In sportsman competition two separate races were run on Saturday with 13 drivers taking home an Ironman trophy. Sportsman winners during Saturday’s doubleheader were Mark Payne (Top Sportsman), Chris Cadle and Ron Biondo (Top Dragster), A.H. Adkins and Michael Beard (Super Stock), Rob Garvey and Michael McGrath (Stock), Alan O’Brien and Chris Scarlata (Quick Rod), Jacob Elrod and Tommy Allen (Super Rod) and Keith Mayers and Ricky Roe (Hot Rod).
Payne produced the only double win of the weekend as the Waynesboro, Virginia native defeated Dan Flanigan and Mark Claypoole behind the wheel of the House of Payne ’06 Cavalier to take home a pair of Ironman trophies. Payne cut a pair of tremendous lights including a perfect .000 and a .023 to take the wins.
Jacob Elrod came up shy of a potential three-peat, reaching two finals in Super Rod and one in Top Dragster, but had to settle for a single win in his Sunoco sponsored ’92 Corvette roadster over Charlie Kenopic. Michael Beard also came up short of a weekend double, winning and runnering-up in Super Stock in the Duck Tape sponsored ’80 Volare.
Ron Maroney made a splash in his first Nitro Jam race of 2013 with the win in Fuel Altered
Gallen’s Funny Car victory came on the strength of two incredible passes Saturday night. As the only competitor to dip into the four-second zone in the 1,000 foot professional competition, the driver the “Poverty Stricken” Monza produced back-to-back passes of 4.919 at 225.00 and 4.926 at 227.39 to take home the Ironman. In the final McIntire pushed Gallen to the line, but came up short with a 5.086 at 214.90.
In Nitro Harley Tracy Kile advanced out of a mistake-filled first round, but more than made up for it in the final with a 5.775 at 183.90 pass to defeat Dean Comunal who struggled right at the hit of the throttle. In Fuel Altered Maroney proved the man to beat in the “Blind Faith” Bantam with the top seed coming out of round one followed by a 5.286 at 208.24 pass in the final to defeat Ron Hope and collect his first Ironman of the year. Hope ran a 5.626 at 206.14 in the runner-up effort.
Wrapping up the evening was Jill Canuso’s exciting win over Bruce Litton in the battle of jet-power versus nitro-power as Litton broke a belt at the 600 foot mark and Canuso blasted by to take the win with a 4.890 at 252.24.
Nitro Jam will return to action July 5-7 with a trip north of the border in Edmonton, Alberta for the three-day Mopar Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals at Castrol Raceway.