Manitoba’s Scott McVey is on the cusp for a potential NHRA North Central Region Championship this weekend…For NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Scott McVey, the 2016 season will culminate at this weekend’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Central Region finale in Noble, Okla. While there are a number of potential scenarios, his path to the North Central Region Championship is clear – he must go one round further than 2014 North Central Champ Andy Bohl.

McVey, from Ile Des Chenes, MB, Canada, did not enter the year in pursuit of a Championship. Coming from a few hours north of Minnesota, every race is a long haul. His team usually runs a mixture of regional and nationals that are the closest for him, if you can consider his “home” track of Brainerd, Minn., is a six hour drive.

Scott McVey (far lane) shown in competition earlier this season at his home race track BIR.

Scott McVey (far lane) shown in competition earlier this season at his home race track BIR.

However win the season started with a win at the North Central Regional at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, the team knew it was a possibility. After another strong showing two races later in Joliet, the team decided to shift their focus from their normal mixed schedule, to pursuing the championship.

“We normally don’t travel to Ohio,” said McVey. “That’s a long ‘poke’ for us, 20+ hours. We decided to go to Norwalk [Ohio] instead of the Topeka National event partially because we wanted to get our three in-region races out of the way for the year but also because the Indianapolis eliminations were pushed there (due to rain). Norwalk was an up and down race for us – we won the Indy race, but didn’t qualify for the Norwalk race. We bounced back with a strong race at Joliet [Ill.]. We were in good position to make a run at the Regional Championship, so we decided to make another long haul to Columbus [Ohio] to pursue it.”

“Columbus started pretty good as we had a good tune up for a hot, marginal track,” McVey continued. “However we had an electrical gremlin that lead to us really wounding a motor pretty good and losing the round. We bounced right back in St. Louis, qualifying No. 1 and winning the event. I had a personal commitment the weekend of the Bowling Green race, so we were unable to attend. Us not being there and Bohl getting the win really hurt us. We picked up a few points at Earlville [Iowa] a few weeks ago, so it basically comes down to Noble this weekend.”

Scott McVey

Scott McVey

Competitors in the Lucas Oil Regional series can claim their best five out of their first seven events towards a Regional Championship. Two of those five events can come from another region outside of their home region. Going into the event, McVey holds a 12 point lead over Bohl. However, Bohl has a race he did not qualify at he can replace, while McVey has a first round loss he can replace. McVey must go one round further than Bohl to retain the points lead. If McVey does not, Bohl will be the Champion. If McVey does, Bohl still has one more event he can claim points at, if he chooses to go to the season finale in Las Vegas.

Team Crew Chief Will Hanna is no stranger to late season dramatics. He has won three championships in down to the wire fashion, including 2009 in Noble.

“I have won two division championships and one European Championship on the last day of the race season,” stated Hanna. “I have also lost a couple that went down to the wire. The one championship we clinched in August was far less stressful. I am fortunate enough to have been in this situation. I told the guys at the last race – when the pressure starts creeping into your mind, remember, there’s a reason why we’re in this situation, and that’s because we have earned our chance at racing for a championship. We just have to stay focused on the run at hand and not get caught up in looking ahead to how many rounds we need to go and what Andy Bohl or anyone else is doing. We have a good running car and we need to operate within what we do. Race smart when it’s time to be smart and swing at it when it’s time to swing at it.”

“Whatever happens, I told the guys, we have nothing to hang our head about. We have had a hell of a year, and we are battling one of the best racers in the country.”

Qualifying begins on Friday with one session, followed by one final session Saturday afternoon. Eliminations will begin with round one on Saturday evening, and final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday.

Posted by Pro Race Communications
Photos by Jim Kampmann