CAYUGA – Doug Foley has grown quite fond of Toronto Motorsports Park, still known by locals as Cayuga Dragway. He recorded his first career victory here in 2004 and repeated it last season. This weekend he hopes to keep the Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel championship points race in his sights as he goes gunning for a third consecutive win at Cayuga.
“Last year at this time Clay was 180 points ahead of us,” Foley said. “Now we are within 100. We can’t let him run away with it like he did last year.”
“Clay” is Clay Milligan, the 39-year-old five-time (2001-05) world champion from Drummonds, Tennessee who is one of the sports top racers scheduled to be in Cayuga for this weekend International Hot Rod Association’s Canadian Nationals, part of the Drag Racing Series.
Winning the Canadian Nationals (July 21 – 23) would be a big step in the right direction for Foley and the Foley/Lewis team, and he can’t think of a better place to make a move than in Cayuga.
“We’ve never lost a race there,” he said. “There aren’t too many tracks a driver can say that about, but we’ve won all six rounds there. The place is pretty special to us.”
Foley enters the Suzuki Motor City Nationals in Milan, Mich., (July 7-9) second in the eMax Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points race. Milligan is leading the field with 437 points to Foley’s 347. Foley’s teammate, Rick Cooper, is third, two points back. Foley thinks the time has come for the Torco-sponsored team to begin reaping the benefits a two-car team has to offer.
“This is our second season as a two-car team,” he said. “Last year we were content to just get down the track and our goal was to finish both cars in the top five. This year we aren’t happy unless we have at least one car in the final round and we want to finish 1-2 in the world. We don’t care which one of us wins, because either is good for the sponsor, but we are looking to be there in the end.”
Dale Creasy, Jr. is also looking to make a move in Canada. If recent history is any indication, Creasy should do just fine. The Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car driver has won two races this season, both on Canadian tracks. He followed up his first career victory at Grand Bend with a win in Edmonton, taking over the season points lead in the process.
When Glen Kerunsky was bounced in the first round in Edmonton, and Quain Stott ended up in the Winner’s Circle, the Knoll Gas-Torco Pro Modified race got a lot tighter. Stott headed into Milan just 35 points behind Kerunsky atop the standings board. Tommy D’Aprile, who drives Stott’s second car, also enters the race in Milan in the thick of the race, just 100 points behind the leader.
London, Ontario resident Rob Atchison has some work to do in the Alcohol Funny Car class, and he hopes a trip to nearby Toronto Motorsports Park will be just what the doctor ordered. Atchison, the three-time defending class champion, has failed to visit the Winner’s Circle in ’06 heading into the Milan race and is behind front-running Mark Thomas by 55 points. Speaking of doctors, Dr. Tom Carter, the oral surgeon from Cuero, Texas, jumped into third place in the point standings with his win in Edmonton. Carter and Thomas have alternated winning eMax Drag Racing Series national events this season, a trend Atchison hopes to change in Toronto.
Frank Gugliotta won his second race of the season in Edmonton, defeating Jeff Dobbins in the final. He left Castrol Raceway with the Knoll Gas-Torco Pro Stock points lead at 350 points, but Tony Gillig (339) and Pete Berner (263) are right on his tail.
For more information on the IHRA Canadian Nationals, July 21 – 23, at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga, Ontario, please log onto www.ihra.com.