GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA (March 15, 2012) – Ike Maier showed up at the fabled NHRA Florida drag strip for NHRA Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals last weekend hoping to successfully compete in both the Top Fuel Dragster and Pro Modified classes, but just missed the mark.
“My goal was to qualify both cars, said Maier, who lives in Tottenham, Ontario. I wanted so much to qualify both.”
If Maier had been successful, he would have been the first driver in NHRA history to do so. But even though he turned a 3.951-second, 307.93 pass in qualifying, it was not good enough to get into the 16-car field. He did qualify his 1963 Corvette Pro Mod in 15th with a 6.761-second, 189.95 posting, but was eliminated in the first round after running a stout 6.271, 230.25 and was taken out by Dan Rowe’s 5.890, 244.96.
Both cars had good potential, he noted, but we really didn’t have enough testing time. We tested the Pro Mod in Bradenton, and the car tested well with good speed, but it then shook at Gainesville.
We needed to run the cars more, he continued. We only had four laps on the dragster.
A Pro Mod competitor for several years in IHRA, NHRA, and PMRA racing, Maier obtained his NHRA Top Fuel license last year and ran several NHRA events with the Paton Racing Top Fuel car. The Gatornats was the team’s first race for 2012. This Paris, Ontario-based team is headed up by Barry Paton and crew chiefed by James Jimbo Ermalovic.
Maier said he plans to run the 8000-horsepower Top Fueler at selected events if sponsorship can be obtained. He added he will run the Pro Mod at the upcoming NHRA 4Wide Nationals April 13-15 at the zMax Dragway in Charlotte, NC. This event is the fifth on the 17-event NHRA Full Throttle drag race schedule for 2012. Qualifying takes place April 13 at 1:30 and 4:30 pm, Saturday at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm, with eliminations to begin Sunday at noon.
By Tim Miller