Funny Car Fever: East vs West
Submitted by: Jim Maher
Aug 22, 1998 (Rocky Mountain Raceways): One of the highlights of the CIFCA funny car circuit is the Funny Car Fever held just outside Salt Lake City. This annual race attracts teams from a half dozen states and produces side-by-side racing under the Musco lights.
Mike Hilsabeck led qualifying with a 7.53 while Sean Dale (both of Phoenix, AZ) anchored the 8 car ladder with a 7.77. The Perma-Cool Burnout Challenge was won by Elko, NV based Randy Smith.
The racing started off extremely close with Hilsabeck defeating the Good Vibrations of Jim Maher on a 7.61- 7.58 holeshot. Margin of victory: .038 seconds! During the semi-finals, Hilsabeck’s Arizona Thunder clocked a near prefect 7.49 to CHP Dave McDannel’s red light.
On the other side of the ladder was newcomer Matt Sullivan, VP and past champion of the Midwest Funny Car Assoc. This makes the first time a member of MFCA competed on the CIFCA circuit. Sullivan’s Sheer Craziness Corvette qualified with a 7.60 and ran an early shut off 7.81 in round one against Buzz Miller. Sullivan then cut an unreal .403 light coupled with another 7.60 elapsed time to trailer Robert Lee’s game 7.59.
The final paired Iowa against Arizona. East vs West. Both great drivers and competitors. Hilsabeck’s sliced the ‘tree with a .421 light and led all the way clocking a too-quick 7.48. Sullivan would take the victory and savored it 1350 miles back to the midwest. The Made For Best ET award went to Maher while Sullivan clinched the Tavia Best Reaction Time bonus with his .403 light.
Special thanks to Brandon Gee and the staff at Rocky Mountain Raceways for their great support and facility. The event was run just like the race surface: very smooth. They have not left any stones uncovered in making this racetrack one of the premier on the west coast. And the fans are some of the most appreciative and fun loving.