WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Mike Savage came to Salt Lake City with one goal and one goal only on his mind – take back the lead in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car standings.
And in front of one of the largest Friday night crowds in Rocky Mountain Raceways history, Savage made major headway toward that goal with a big victory over Bob Godfrey and the “Burn N’ Money” team, spoiling Godfrey’s bid for a victory on his birthday while collecting his second career victory Friday at the NAPA Auto Parts Nitro Jam presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports and Cricket Wireless.
“Our day was not too bad at all. We are running higher up than we are used to, but we are working hard on the car and getting it to consistently get down the track,” Savage said. “On that last pass it was a little slippery and I had to pedal it, but we stuck in it and put down two solid laps to get the win here tonight.”
Other winners during the opening night of the NAPA Auto Parts Nitro Jam were newcomers Casey Grisel (Pro Fuel) and Ron Gledhill (Nitro Harley) and Nitro Jam veteran Tom Padilla (Fuel Altered).
Savage worked his way through one of the toughest AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car fields ever assembled in Nitro Jam competition on his way to a big opening round win over Tim Boychuk behind the wheel of the famed “Candies & Hughes” Barracuda.
Savage had two solid laps on his way to picking up his second victory of the season as he mustered a session best 6.150/225.45 in the opening round to dispatch of multi-time Nitro Jam winner Tim Boychuk and the “Troy Lee Designs” team. Godfrey had the second best time opening round time with a 6.286/226.70. And all of those runs were made at over 7,000 feet of adjusted altitude.
In the final Savage had the advantage on the tree with a .105 light, but Godfrey kept him honest to half track where he began to slow allowing Savage to cruise to the Ironman trophy. Savage ran a 6.215/222.93 in the final.
“There were some tough cars out here which really makes a win like this all that much more special,” Savage said. “We really are just out here having fun and getting wins makes it even more enjoyable.”
In the consolation round Steven Densham drove “Teachers Pet” to a victory over Dale Pulde, Tim Boychuk defeated Roger Garten and Jason Rupert claimed a bye win.
The Funny Car competition also saw one of the odder moments in drag racing lore as Steven Macklyn driving the “Nitro Thunder” flopper had an issue following his burnout on his backup which caused the car to spin wildly out of control into the lane of a backwards pedaling Rupert who unknowing plowed into the side of Macklyn’s car resulting in a lengthy cleanup.
Another big winner during opening night was Casey Grisel in Pro Fuel Dragster. In his Nitro Jam and Rocky Mountain Raceways debut, the Orangevale, Calif. native and driver of the “American Nitro” dragster guided his ride to his first career Ironman over Kristen Dennis and the “Ladies First” team.
Grisel opened the night with a solid 5.871/243.77 in the mountain air in defeating Don St. Arnaud and bested that lap in the final against a smoking Dennis with a 5.801/247.25.
“It really can’t get much better than this. We come up here not really knowing what we are going to do or what to expect and we come away with a win,” Grisel said. “We have never been up this high, but we gave it our best shot and it worked out well for us.”
In the consolation round Johnny Ahten drove “Stump Puller” to a win against St. Arnaud.
The Fuel Altered competition saw some fast, side-by-side runs as Tom Padilla, from Arlington, Wash., drove to his fourth career victory against Kyle Hough and the “Nanook” team. Padilla and Hough easily won their round one matchups and squared off in an exciting final that saw Padilla overcome a slight startling line disadvantage and drive around the rookie with a 6.638/211.86 to Hough’s 6.938/215.00.
The loss continues Hough’s early-career woes as he has visited five finals in his rookie campaign without a single victory. In the consolation matchup Randy Bradford defeated Ron Hope.
Ron Gledhill claimed the only professional trophy for the Beehive State as the Taylorsville native defeated Tony Ruggiero in the final of Nitro Harley. Gledhill had two consistent laps, firing off a solid 7.565/193.71 in the final to take the win.
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