MECHANICSVILLE, Md. – The Hoosier Thunder Motorsports team car driven by Paul Noakes and tuned by Les Mellows raced the Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car to a final round appearance before falling to points leader Laurie Cannister. The effort put the team back into the championship hunt and after four of ten events they sit in the fourth position, just a few rounds from the number two spot.
“It was a great weekend for the car and for this team,” Noakes said after the event. “We’re one step closer to having the perfect car. I couldn’t be happier.”
The rain-shortened qualifying rounds put the team in the sixth position for eliminations where they would have to defeat fellow Canadians Larry Dobbs and Rob Atchison to reach the finals. Noakes would dominate the reaction time battle all day Sunday, including a 0.024 advantage over Cannister. That advantage would not be enough to overcome Cannister’s flawless final run. “We left those tires on one too many laps,” Crew Chief Les Mellows said after Noakes had his hands full keeping the InstiGator centered on the hot and slippery track. “We might have been able to determine that if we hadn’t shaken the computer connections off during the semi-final win over Robbie,” Mellows continued. “That data would have been very helpful going into the finals, but that’s how racing goes. Our hats are off to Laurie and her team. At this point we’re going to have to meet her earlier in the race. She’ll be hard to catch if we keep meeting her in final rounds.”
Hoosier Thunder team owner Terry McMillen was excited to announce the return of Tad Heflick to the InstiGator team as Car Chief. “We’re happy to have Tad back with us,” McMillen said. “Tad knows that car like the back of his had and will be a huge asset to Paul and Les.”
The next stop for the Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car is the Rocky Mountain Nationals July 4-6 in Edmonton, Alberta.