Hilsabeck tops Lee in Grand Junction
Aug. 29, 1998 (Western Colorado Raceway): The CIFCA funny cars returned to Grand Junction for their second appearance of the season. This race would play a crucial role in the points standings and determine the series Champion.
A record crowd took in the action as Jim Maher qualified on the pole with a 7.64. He was followed closely by Robert Lee (also of Whittier, CA) wih a 7.65. Lee has been qualifying near the top of ladder most of the season. His elapsed times varied only from a 7.655- 7.677 thoroughout this event. That consistency would placed his Rebel racing team into the final round.
During first round of eliminations, Lee defeated Ken Kraus’ Hardcore ‘Vette of Great Falls, MT. Lee took an easy win during the semi’s when the Dave McDannel CHP Camaro red-lit.
Working his way down the other side of the ladder was current points leader Mike Hilsabeck. He took out Elko, NV based Randy Smith during the opening frame. Hilsabeck then held back the Good Vibrations Camaro of Jim Maher placing the Arizona Thunder into the money round and securing the Phoenix resident his 4th CIFCA Championship title.
The best was saved for last. Hilsabeck’s Cutlass got a small jump over Lee’s Firebird at the start. On the top end Hilsabeck stopped the timers first with a 7.63 to Lee’s game 7.66. Margin of victory: .049 seconds. Hilsabeck was also awarded the Tavia Quick Reaction Time bonus (.434) and the Made For You Best ET award (7.60). The Perma-Cool Burnout Challenge went to Richard Bogan.
A hearty thanks to the 10 teams that made the long trek and especially to those that showed up early Friday for pre-race displays. The race fans of Grand Junction appreciate it and welcome you back in 1999.