EPPING, NH — Terry McMillen and Paul Noakes posted another banner weekend for Hoosier Thunder Motorsports and their sponsors at the Amalie Oil North American Nationals. The team efforts brings the season total to 10 final round appearances and three wins with one race remaining.
McMillen took the new look Amalie Oil Top Fuel Dragster to its fifth final of the year, solidifying his third position in the championship point standings and keeping hope alive for a second place finish. He trails defending champion Bruce Litton by 66 points and leads Mike Strasburg by 58 points. If McMillen can maintain third it will better his fifth place standing from his rookie Top Fuel season of 2007.
“That was an awesome weekend for Amalie,” McMillen said after defeating Jones and Litton enroute to a final round appearance against first time winner Tim Boychuk. “That’s four finals in a row for us. I can’t say enough about my crew and Doug Kuch. What a turn around this team has done. I only wish we had a few more races to put some heat on Bruce and Spencer.”
The Amalie Oil InstiGator car driven by Paul Noakes and tuned by Les Mellows would not be outdone on this weekend. Noakes would qualify the Dodge Avenger in the number one spot for the first time this season and carry that momentum to the final round where he defeated Dale Brand for his second win of the season. It also marked the fifth final round appearance for the Amalie Oil InstiGator.
“This feels wonderful,” Noakes told IHRA.com. “We really wanted to come here and represent well for Amalie. Our goal was to come here and thank everyone for taking a chance on us and putting us in this car this year. The sponsors spend so much money and they spent money to put their name on this race, it meant a lot that we could represent well for them here this weekend.”
Noakes has a virtual lock on a second place finish for the championship with the World Finals remaining. “I certainly want to congratulate Laurie Cannister on her first championship,” Noakes added. “Our five final rounds this season has been a remarkable ride. I can believe we have one race to go.”
Noakes’ crew chief Les Mellows has plans for the Rockingham World Finals. “Paul won two races last season and has two this season. We’re going to break tradition and go after a third win in Rockingham,” Mellows said.
With the dominance that the Mellows – Noakes team displayed in the second half of the season it would be hard to argue the point. Except for McMillen, who banters with Mellows each race as the two teams keep score of each others success. Both teams are in a virtual dead heat. Both have earned five final rounds appearances and a number one qualifier. Mellows will take a slight advantage into Rockingham with two wins and the number two spot in the points chase, compared to McMillen’s one win and third position in points for Top Fuel.
The Rockingham World Finals will also mark the conclusion of the CMT/Trick My Truck -Trick My Crew Sweepstakes where someone will become a part of McMillen’s crew for the race. The winners will ride with the team in the team transporters to the race and participate in all crew activities. Today is that last chance to enter the sweepstakes. All entries submitted before midnight, September 8, 2008 will have a shot at winning. Visit http://mytruck.cmt.com to enter now.