Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Gilby goes rounds on a tough day
Brainerd, Sunday: Bob Gilbertson and his Autolite XP Spark Plugs/Prestone Antifreeze Funny Car team had a pretty good weekend of racing at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at scenic Brainerd Int'l Raceway in
Gilbertson qualified 14th with a 4.908 second elapsed time at 313.22 mph that matched him up against current NHRA POWERade points leader and good friend Ron Capps in the first round.
As Boninfante was sick in bed at the hotel Sunday morning, co-crew chief Tommy Delago assumed Boninfante's duties and the result was a first round win over Capps, 4.813 at 311.05 that easily covered Capps 4.890 at 299.66 mph.
Gilbertson then met up with Capps’ teammate Gary Scelzi in the quarter final round and lost a close one in a tire smoking battle where both drivers tried to regain control of their cars. Scelzi made it to the stripe first just barely squeaking by Gilbertson who was only 0.0236 seconds behind.
"This was a great race for me and my team," Gilbertson said. "Even though one of the 'Super Mario Brothers' was back at the hotel sick as a dog, the whole team stepped up and gave me a great race car. The first-round win against Capps was big and if I had done a better job reigning in the car after it smoked the tires against Scelzi we probably would have been in the semis. Our performance this weekend moved us up into a tie for 12th in the points and we're now going to
Delago spent a lot of time on the phone with Boninfante during the rain delay Sunday morning deciding on the tune-up.
"It was pretty tough not having Nicky at the track on race day," Delago added. "We always kick ideas around on how to run the car and instead of just turning around and talking to him, I had my cell phone in my ear all morning. We decided to stand on it for the first round as the track was really good and the result was the 4.81 against Capps which was our best run of the race. The best part of the deal is that we now have a race car that's competitive that Gilby can win with and with a little luck we could be a spoiler in
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