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Broken wheelie bar thwarts chances of winning

EDMONTON Canada - Bob Gilbertson went into this past weekend's IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals with the goal of being the No. 1 qualifier, setting the nitro Funny Car record and winning the race.

Gilbertson and his Terminator Motorsports team accomplished two of those goals until a broken wheelie bar in the first round of eliminations put him out of competition.

After running the first round of qualifying to test out the track, Gilbertson's crew chief Tommy Delago tuned the Autolite Spark Plugs/Prestone Antifreeze Dodge Stratus to a 4.97 second elapsed time at only 291.13 to get the No.1 spot during the first session on Saturday and stepped it up during that evening's Night of Fire with a 4.83 at 312.13 mph to win the Last Man Standing award and re-set both ends of the track record.

Based on previous performance, Gilbertson held a two tenth of a second advantage over his first round opponent, Dale Creasy, but Gilbertson's wheelie bar broke at the hit of the throttle causing the car to launch into a wheelstand forcing Gilbertson to shut off handing the win to Creasy.

"It left the line like a rocket ship and immediately the front end started coming up, I knew right away what happened and I was forced to click it," Gilbertson said. "I thought for a split second that I'd try to ride it out but common sense prevailed as I didn't want to crash the car so I bought it back to earth and watched Creasy streak for the win. Now we'll just re-group and head to Grand Bend for the next race on the IHRA circuit."

"The good news is that we now have a race car that Bob can win with," crew chief Delago added. "We've finally figured what the engine and clutch need to be happy and our performance proved that we're going in the right direction. We're looking for big numbers at Grand Bend and I just can't wait to hit the track again."

Gilbertson's next race will be the IHRA MOPAR Canadian Nationals at Grand Bend Motorplex July 20-22.