What made McIntire’s victory even more significant was that his father, Mike Sr., was there to witness it. Mike Jr. and the team skipped the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras Nationals when it was discovered his father required open-heart surgery.
“About a week before Baton Rouge, we found out my father needed quadruple bypass surgery,” McIntire explained. “He was admitted to the hospital and two days later was undergoing open-heart surgery on the Monday before the event so that pretty much was it. We did not even consider going (to Baton Rouge) without him. He’s the team owner. He’s the whole reason why any of us are out there doing this. So there was no way we were going without him.”
On his march to victory lane, McIntire defeated Steve Nichols in the first round and trailered defending Funny Car champion Jason Rupert in the semi-final. McIntire faced Canada’s Tim Boychuk in the final after the Baton Rouge winner dispatched Mark Sanders and John Hale. McIntire’s “MacAttack” Camaro outran Boychuk’s “Hawaiian” Firebird to the finish line at 5.662 seconds and 260.49 miles per hour – setting new records in the Nitro Funny Car category in the process.
“It’s unbelievable,” McIntire admitted. “It’s a surreal feeling. You always come out trying to win, but to win it the way we did it this weekend…it was crazy. A lot of hard work and we overcame a lot of things to get here. This is for my dad. We worked our tails off this week to get this win for him. Dad’s doing great. We got him a little too excited this weekend. But I think it was good therapy overall.”
Isaias Rojas, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, scored the first win of the Crower Pro Mod class after the popular division was reinstated in the IHRA Nitro Jam program.
“I’m very happy. We loved IHRA for years. My dad ran in the IHRA Pro Mods back in 2000. Now I have the victory here. We struggled in the first round of qualifying. We went about six months without testing and we have never been to this track.”
Rojas and his Mech-Tech crew righted the ship and the 2006 Cobalt rocketed to No. 1 on the qualifying grid. Rojas met Dina Parise in the first round. Parise’s crew made a valiant effort to repair the car after suffering mechanical damage during qualifying. Rojas then went on to defeat Ken Fiscus in the semi-final in order to face Floridian Jimmy Keen in the final.
Randal Andras of Amelia, Louisiana, scored the Nitro Harley win by defeating favorite “Tak” Shigematsu of Ehime, Japan. Shigematsu, a 16-year veteran of the Nitro Harley wars, earned No. 1 Qualifier status but was a mere two miles per hour slower than Andras in the final.
“It’s absolutely wonderful. Racing in the panhandle of Florida has been a dream of mine,” said Andras. “It’s a dream come true. This is a great place and great people to race with. We were trying to get some 30s and 40s during the day, but we just couldn’t get there because of the weather. We ran some consistent 50s and it was enough for a win.”
New Yorker John Montecalvo won the U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock class over Trevor Eman of Aruba.
“It’s been a long time since we raced here in IHRA. Last time we raced his was in 2009 and we won the world championship then,” said Montecalvo. “Man, I’m tellin’ ya – I’m feelin’ pretty good. This is a great organization. They really hired some good people over here. I am impressed with the way the (IHRA) operation runs.
“This field was the cream of the crop,” continued Montecalvo, referring to the fact the Baton Rouge winner, Kevin Bealko, was unable to qualify for the eight-car field. “It’s all tough competitors. It’s only a couple hundredths of a second between us.”
Elaine Larsen scored another win in the Jet Dragster class. Larsen won the first round of eliminations when opponent Marisha Falk fouled on the starting line. Larsen faced Shea Holbrook in the final and ran 275 miles per hour to collect the IHRA IronMan trophy.
“This is amazing,” Larsen exclaimed. “It was a great night for Miller Welding. We took home the win. Now we’ll see if I can do it again next week in West Palm Beach.”
The AMSOIL Best Appearing Car Award went to Carl Weisinger. Frank Beal won the AMSOIL Best Engineered Award.
Due to local curfews, the Summit Racing Pro-Am Tour portion of the event for sportsman racers was postponed until Sunday morning.
AMSOIL Best Appearing Car Award: Carl Weisinger.
AMSOIL Best Engineered Car Award: Frank Beal.
No. 1 Qualifiers: Tim Boychuk (AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car Presented By Aeromotive), John Montecalvo (U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock), “Tak” Shigematsu (Nitro Harley) Isaias Rojas (Crower Pro Mod) and “Kat” Moller (Jet Dragsters).
Kevin Bealko, winner of the U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock final at the IHRA Nitro Jam event in Baton Rouge last month, failed to qualify. His final time trial of the meet was his best (6.664 sec./197.45 mph) but he was bumped from the field, as was Dean Goforth and New Yorker John Pluchino. Rickey House and Lyle Newton failed to qualify in the Nitro Harley class.
CROWER PRO MOD
- Isaias Rojas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) 2006 Cobalt 5.968 sec./237.02 mph.
- Jimmy Keen (Parrish, Florida) 1963 Corvette 5.993 sec./237.02 mph.
- Chuck Mohn (Fountainville, Pennsylvania) 1969 Camaro 6.005 sec./229.53 mph.
- Kevin Fiscus (Jacksonville, Florida) 2012 Mustang 6.035 sec./239.74 mph.
- Ruben Tetsoshvili (Wesley Chapel, Florida) 6.120 sec./241.54 mph.
- Jerico Balduf (New Smyrna Beach, Florida) 1941 Willys 6.206 sec./220.53 mph.
- Bill Lutz (Canal Winchester, Ohio) Camaro 6.733 sec./185.22 mph.
- Dina Parise (New Freedom, Pennsylvania) 2013 Cadillac 10.043 sec./78.73 mph.
AMSOIL NITRO FUNNY CAR PRESENTED BY AEROMOTIVE
- Tim Boychuk (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) 1977 Trans-Am “Hawaiian” 5.756 sec./238.03 mph.
- Mike McIntire (Mentor, Ohio) 1970 Camaro “McAttack” 5.766 sec./243.04 mph.
- Jason Rupert (Yorba Linda, California) 1969 Camaro “Black Plague” 5.831 sec./245.83 mph.
- Paul Romine (Fishers, Indiana) 1979 Mustang “Man O’ War” 5.870 sec./218.07 mph.
- John Hale (Addison, Texas) 1969 Camaro “One Bad Texan” 6.042 sec./237.52 mph.
- Bruce Litton (Indianapolis, Indiana) 1974 Vega “U.S. Male” 6.061 sec./232.67 mph.
- Steve Nichols (Newark, Delaware) 1970 Camaro 6.190 sec./232.67 mph.
- Mark Sanders (Maple Valley, Washington) 1970 Mustang “Mr. Explosive” 6.228 sec./230.17 mph.
U.S. BOUNTY HUNTERS PRO STOCK
- John Montecalvo (Speonk, New York) 2013 Camaro 6.288 sec./222.82 mph.
- J.R. Carr (Pasco, Washington) 2015 Camaro 6.302 sec./223.32 mph
- Trevor Eman (Pos Chiquito, Aruba) 2011 Mustang 6.338 sec./221.02 mph.
- Cary Goforth (Holdenville, Oklahoma) 2013 Camaro 6.349 sec./222.05 mph.
- Cale Aronson (Chillicothe, Missouri) 2010 Mustang 6.379 sec./221.62 mph.
- Matt Bertsch (Tecumseh, Michigan) 2007 Mustang 6.390 sec./220.37 mph.
- John Konigshofer (Otterville, Ontario, Canada) 2013 Mustang 16.435 sec./85.32 mph.
- John DeFlorian Jr. (Arnold, Missouri) 2015 Camaro 8.534 sec./151.48 mph.
Did not qualify:
John Pluchino (Commack, New York) 2006 Escort 6.488 sec./183.59 mph.
Kevin Bealko (Bridgeport, West Virginia) 2013 Camaro 6.664 sec./197.45 mph.
Dean Goforth (Holdenville, Oklahoma) 2014 Camaro 11.723 sec./97.28 mph.
- Takeshi Shigematsu (Ehime, Japan) 6.393 sec./216.76 mph.
- Larry “Drums” Brancaccio (Nutley, New Jersey) 6.400 sec./221.67 mph.
- Randal Andras (Amelia, Louisiana) 6.633 sec./216.86 mph.
- Tracy Kile (Asheville, North Carolina) 6.721 sec./213.57 mph.
- Bob Molloy (Elmton, Maryland) 6.726 sec./193.12 mph.
- Jim Fagan (Valley City, Ohio) 6.951 sec./205.90 mph.
- Jay Turner (Julian, North Carolina) 7.623 sec./124.36 mph.
- Alvin Kobernusz (Manly, Iowa) 8.057 sec./139.59 mph.
Did not qualify:
Rickey House (Humble, Texas 8.366 sec./192.67 mph.
Lyle Newton (Naniamo, British Columbia, Canada) 8.388 sec./123.62 mph.
- Katarina Moller (Osprey, Florida) 5.727 sec./284.45 mph.
- Elaine Larsen (West Melbourne, Florida) 6.027 sec./272.56 mph.
- Shea Holbrook (Groveland, Florida) 6.102 sec./260.19 mph.
- Marisha Falk (Port Orange, Florida) 6.103 sec./275.48 mph.
NEXT EVENT: IHRA Nitro Jam Palm Beach Nationals Presented By Sunoco Race Fuels, April 24-25, at Palm Beach International Raceway. PBIR is located at 17133 Beeline Highway in Jupiter, Florida. Event page: http://racepbir.com/tickets-events/event-schedule/eventdetail/12011/-/ihra-nitro-jam-palm-beach-nationals. For more information, please call PBIR at (561) 622-1400 or visit www.racepbir.com.