Tucson Host CIFCA Championship Finals
Submitted by: Jim Maher
Sept 6, 1998 (Southwestern Int'l Raceway): The California Independent Funny Car Association held its final points race of the year at one of the newest and smoothest racetracks on the West Coast. Located in Tucson, AZ, this facility ranks among the finest in lighting, timing and track surface. Fortunately it was a 2-day event because rain dampened qualifying on Saturday.
The field was led by Robert Lee with a near-perfect 7.508 on CIFCA's 7.50 index. Lee has qualified his Rebel Racing Firebird on the pole more times this season than most of the other drivers combined. Team Scott was right behind Lee with a 7.51. The 8-car bump was anchored by newcomer Chill Scardino (7.92) of Phoenix. Kelly Butler missed the field but won the Perma-Cool Burnout Challenge.
Consistency was the name of the game during eliminations. During first round, the Scotts placed a 7.55 on the board to send Ken Kraus of Great Falls, MT packing. Kraus is your 1998 Perma-Cool Burnout King. "Scotty" then ran a 7.53 against Sean Dale's game 7.63 to place the Fallbrook, CA team into the money round.
Working his way down the other side of the ladder was Jim Maher's Good Vibrations. In the opening frame, Maher just narrowly defeated Lee on a 7.60 - 7.63 decision. The closest race of the day came during the semi-finals when Maher and Mike Hilsabeck battled. Maher got his Camaro off the line first (.437 - .467) but Hilsabeck drove his Cutlass around on the top end stopping the timers first with a breakout 7.44. Maher's 7.45 was good for the narrow win.
Jim Scott did an excellent tuning job all weekend while his son 'Scotty" was cool at the controls. During the finals against Maher's Good Vibrations Scotty got the holeshot (.433- .477) and ran a victorious 7.52 to Maher's breakout 7.46. Teams Scott won the race and awarded both The Tavia Quick Reaction Time and the Made For You Best ET bonuses.
Hilsabeck will be crowned CIFCA 1998 Points Champion at the Awards Banquet on Nov 21. This is Hilsabeck's 4th Championship, breaking his tie with 2nd place finisher Jim Maher. Robert Lee placed third this year in points, while Steve Tryon and Jimmy Scott rounded out the top five.