Lagana Returns To Scene Of Greatest Victory
|2006 Top Fuel Winner Looks Forward To Return To Grand Bend Motorplex
NORWALK, Ohio (July 12, 2007) – The 2006 MOPAR Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol at Grand Bend Motorplex provided the quintessential moment in IHRA Top Fuel driver Bobby Lagana Jr.’s career: his first win.
Lagana Jr. and the rest of the competitors in IHRA’s Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam™ Drag Racing Series will return to Grand Bend Motorplex July 20-22. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster, www.grandbendmotorplex.com, or www.ihra.com.
After trying for nine years, doing whatever it took to get from race to race, Lagana had an Ironman, the trophy awarded to IHRA event winners. All those trips with the dragster pointing skyward on a ramp truck, all those times the checking account dipped into single digits, all those near-misses, DNQ’s and first round losses were wiped away with one single shot down the track against the driver who had done more for Lagana than any other driver on the IHRA circuit, Clay Millican.
Millican, with crew chief Mike Kloeber, took Lagana’s team under his wing years before they squared off in the final round in Grand Bend. Lagana and his brother, Dominic, were kind of “honorary” crew members on Millican’s Top Fuel team.
After Lagana defeated Millican in the final round at Grand Bend to win his first career Ironman, the happiest person on the grounds was Lagana. The second happiest, without a doubt, was Millican, who jumped out of his car at the end of the track and rushed over to congratulate an emotional Lagana. When Lagana met up with his brother a few minutes later the tears flowed.
“I just looked at him and said ‘this completes us.’ We had been trying for so many years and had been through so much,” Lagana said. “At that point the emotions took over. My team has had its shares of ups and downs, but that feeling in Grand Bend is something I will never forget. I still get a little choked up thinking about what that win meant to me, my family, (crew chief) Jay (Lewis) and everyone who had helped us out over the years…especially Clay and Mike Kloeber. We probably would not have been racing if not for them.”
Lagana won again later in the year in Epping, N.H. and currently sits fifth in the Top Fuel points chase this season. Millican is not racing in IHRA competition this season, but the Top Fuel ranks are as strong as ever. T.J. Zizzo, Bruce Litton, Terry McMillen and Scotty Cannon are all off to quick starts.
“Another win in Grand Bend would be huge for us,” Lagana said. “This season the championship points race is going to come down to the wire and every round is a big round. We have to keep working hard if we hope to be a factor towards the end of the year.”
Lagana was not the only driver to score an emotional first win in Grand Bend last season. Dale Creasy Jr., who had toiled in the Nitro Funny Car ranks for over a decade without finding the winner’s circle, broke through for his first career national event victory. Creasy, who went on to win the Knoll-Gas Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car world championship, defeated Bob Gilbertson in the final round.
“I got crushed about 25 times,” Creasy said of the top end celebration that followed his win. “Our team and Bobby Lagana’s team were down there high-fiving and hugging. We’re both doing the same thing; for years and years we’ve both been out here just trying to make a go of it. We both got into the final and both won. Amazing.”
Even now, after winning the world championship, Creasy fondly remembers that weekend at Grand Bend Motorplex.
“I don’t think it sunk in for a couple days,” he said. “It was probably the best weekend I ever had racing because everything worked out right.”
The MOPAR Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol will be held at Grand Bend (Ontario) Motorplex July 20-22. Professional competitors will qualify Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 12:30 and 7. Eliminations rounds are scheduled for Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 12 noon, 2 p.m. and final round at 4 p.m.
For more information or to request media credentials to a Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series event, please contact Travis Reynolds at (419) 706-8631 or email@example.com.
Headquartered in Norwalk, Ohio, the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), a division of Live Nation, promotes professional, semi-professional and local level racing opportunities for drivers at all levels. The $19.5 million Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam™ Drag Racing Series is an 11-event North American professional drag racing circuit. In 2007, the series will be comprised of eight events in major cities throughout the United States and three in Canada. The Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Championship presented by Mr. Gasket consists of competition at national events and 40 events in six regional divisions, while IHRA’s Summit SuperSeries is conducted nearly every weekend at over 70 IHRA-sanctioned tracks. Providing a safe environment to develop future stars, IHRA offers the Junior Dragster Racing Series for youths ages 8-17. Stand-alone events include Live Nation’s entertainment-filled “Thunder Jam” shows and the street legal racing and lifestyle event series Kumho Street Warriorz. More information can be found at www.ihra.com.
About Live Nation
Live Nation is the world's largest live music company. Our mission is to inspire passion for live music around the world. We are the largest promoter of live concerts in the world, the second-largest entertainment venue management company and have a rapidly growing online presence. We strive to create superior experiences for artists and fans, regularly producing tours for the biggest superstars in the business, including The Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, U2 and Coldplay. Globally, we own, operate, have booking rights for and/or have an equity interest in more than 160 venues, including House of Blues® music venues and prestigious locations such as The Fillmore in San Francisco, Nikon at Jones Beach in New York and London’s Wembley Arena. Our websites collectively are the second most popular entertainment/event websites in the United States, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. In addition, we also produce, promote or host theatrical, specialized motor sports and other live entertainment events. In 2006, we connected nearly 60 million fans with their favorite performers at approximately 26,000 events in 18 countries around the world. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Live Nation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol “LYV.”