ELKHART, Ind. — The Hoosier Thunder Motorsports, Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car team left Rockingham collectively scratching their heads. The team clawed its way into the fourth position after the second event of the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series despite failing to make the call for Sunday eliminations.
“It’s going to be a tough season in Alcohol Funny Car,” team owner Terry McMillen said. “If these first two events are any indication – everyone should be prepared for a heavy weight battle.”
The team experienced a catastrophic engine failure that left them unable to make repairs at the track. “Blocks are hard to come by right now,” McMillen added. “We did everything we could to buy one from anyone that would listen, but no one really had anything that they were willing to part with.”
While the weekend ended rough, the early reports looked good for the InstiGator team. Ontario based driver Paul Noakes was optimistic at first. “It started out just the way we wanted it to go,” Noakes said. “We made some big strides and it looked like the performance had picked up.”
The team’s first shot at the track on Friday was good enough to keep them in the top eight of a highly competitive field. “It went a 5.86 and I short shifted,” Noakes recalled. “It really could have been a 5.80 or 5.81. That was our first quarter mile pass on this car.”
Noakes is making his first full season attempt for an Alcohol Funny Car Championship and can’t wait to race again. “We’re proud of the team and proud of the strides we’ve made in a short time. We’re just going to look forward to our next race and figure out why it [Rockingham] went like that and then make it not happen again,” Noakes said.
The InstiGator team will prepare for the Motor City Nationals May 23-25 in Milan Michigan. Before Milan the team will test and participate at the National City Thunder Nationals held May 10th at the Knoll Gas Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.
“Michigan has really been good to me,” said Noakes. “I won there [Milan} and I had a runner-up finish there also. I’m definitely looking forward to going back to Michigan – it’s close to home – it’s close to Hoosier Thunder Motorsports home. It’s a short trip, so we can really focus on making this car go fast and making some rounds.”