Top Fuel Qualifier = More Momentum for Maier

Canadian based racer Ike Maier accomplished something that very few drivers have done in modern day NHRA Top Fuel class racing….

In what was only his second career start in the Top Fuel category, the up-and-coming class driver (who hails from Tottenham, Ontario) has qualified for final eliminations.

Driving for car owner Barry Paton (Paris ON), Maier accomplished that during last weekend’s NHRA Summit Racing Southern Nationals held in Georgia – about 60 miles east of Atlanta.

Ike Maier

Maier ran a career best 3.931 secs at 307.44 mph to make the field in the 12th slot.  That is impressive considering the Top Fuel field drew a 21-car entry list and featured a rather swift bump spot of 4.012 secs.  In fact the Canadian driver managed to out pace some very proven NHRA circuit drivers after qualifying concluded, including names like Morgan Lucas and Shawn Langdon.

“Barry’s (Tim Horton’s sponsored) car is a very good car,” Maier admitted.  “Jimbo (Ermalovich) has it tuned up nicely and it was almost like the car was waiting on me as a driver.  We ran our best run on the third qualifier.  I knew I was on a good pass and I was glad we got it done last weekend.”

Ike did also experience a couple of other firsts at Atlanta Dragway too.   He ran his first ever nighttime run (on Friday) and he then raced in his first ever round of Top Fuel competition on Sunday.  That round one pairing was in fact huge.  It was versus non-other then 7-time NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel World Champion, Tony Schumacher.

Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army sponsored dragster did win the match rather decisively taking a 3.852 secs at 319.67 mph victory compared to Ike’s 3.992 secs at 258.57 mph.

Canada's Ike Maier qualified solidly in Top Fuel at NHRA Atlanta

“I knew that racing against Tony Schumacher there was no chance of any free-bee; their team is just too good,” Maier continued.  “We had the car dialed in for a good run but unfortunately it blew out the rear end.   I must admit I was a bit intimidated – I mean he has some 1500+ runs under his belt.  But I tried to just run my race.  I stuck to that but was a bit late.  I stayed with the car as long as I could.”

“Overall I’m OK with the results,” Ike added.  “But when I first went to Barry about this (driving his car) we agreed it was not just about me going for rides in a Top Fueler.  I want to qualify and go rounds – that objective has not changed.”

Ike did again race his own ’63 Corvette Pro Mod car at Atlanta too – but missed qualifying that machine for the event’s Get Screened America Pro Mod Challenge.  His best run of 6.306 secs sat 20th compared to the bump spot of 6.156 secs. 

Ike Maier's Pro Mod Corvette

Ike revealed that his Pro Mod Corvette will now undergo a significant and improved new supercharger program.  That should be done in time for the NHRA race at Norwalk Ohio in June where he again has plans to drive in both Top Fuel and Pro Mod categories.

Posted by:  Bruce Biegler

Photos by:  Roger Richards