Fallon, NV (July 10, 1999): Robert Lee extended his point lead when he placed his 1997 Firebird funny car into Top Gun Raceway's winner circle. The Whittier, CA resident qualified 2nd in the 8-car field and ran very consistent elapsed times enroute to his first CIFCA win. This was the fourth stop on the California Independent Funny Car Association (CIFCA) circuit.
Lee first disposed of Tony Rishton in the opening frame. Rishton was riding high winning the previous race at Tucson on June 12 but lost to the Rebel Racing team on this balmy Saturday night. The CHP Camaro of Dave McDannel was Lee's second round victim. McDannel is having one of his best seasons though Lee's 7.52 elapsed time sent the veteran packing during the semi-finals.
Facing Lee in the money round was Randy Smith. This Elko, NV based racer ran a 7.55 in the first round to defeat Hal Rishton. Smith then recorded another 7.55 during the semi-finals to end Mike Hilsabeck’s day.
It was one year to the date that Smith made his CIFCA debut at Top Gun Raceway. He did it in style taking home runner up honors. In doing so, he edged out Lee for “Rookie of the Year” honors. Smith duplicated that accomplishment this year when his 1996 Cutlass got out of shape in the final and tagged the right wall. Lee got his revenge and his first ever CIFCA win.
This is only Lee's second season with CIFCA which once again shows that the rookies this year are making it rough on the veterans. The Perma-Cool Burnout Challenge bucks went to Hilsabeck while Lee pocketed Enderle $100 for his .406 light in the final.