Robilotto Wins Super Comp at NHRA Gatornationals
Drag Racing Action Online Images: Phil Hutchison
The finals of Super Comp at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville Fla. featured two veterans facing off against each other. Both Mike Robilotto and his opponent Kent Hanley have won their fair share of events. Both racers have won the NHRA Northeast division more than once. Both drivers had been sharp on the tree throughout eliminations and were right on the 8.90 class index, so it was a toss up for the title.
Robilotto got off the line a tick quicker than Hanley with a 0.013 light to Hanley’s 0.024 RT and both drivers ended up pushing the top end too much with a double breakout win going to Robilotto with an 8.88 to Hanley’s 8.863
Robilotto said, “The finals were run after the Pros due to TV and nobody wanted to run. So, Kent and I pushed out first. I had been in the left lane all weekend except for time trials. Kent wanted to take me out of the left and we had a coin flip and I lost. But I don’t get nervous in big races and had data from my earlier runs so I felt confident. I just treat each round as the same and let go of the button. It must have been that we were the first out or the lane change, but I was running quicker than expected. We (Nancy) had a 0.89 in the car and ran quicker. I talked to Kent after the run and he was surprised he ran faster too. Luckily it fell my way.”
“I knew Kent had his car set up to run a little under the .90 so we set our car up to run an 8.89. He was right there with me and there was no room to dump. I think the conditions surprised us both.”
After the race Hanley said, “Mike and I have raced against each other lots of times. We ran in the final at Cecil last year and I came out on top. I wanted to get him out of the left lane, and I won the coin toss. I had the car set up for a 0.88 and knew that Mike was going to dial pretty hard and when I came off the stop, I knew I had better MPH and I thought I could clean it up and looking back, should have let him go. I knew by the way the flags were blowing that we might run quicker.”
It wasn’t an easy run to the finals as Robilotto had to drive his way to the win. “In the first round I had Ray Miller. I must not have pulled into the lanes in a good spot. But we had a good run and beat him. I had the better light and after the run Ray said he saw that I wasn’t letting off and he figured I was going to run a .90 so he clicked it and I got the win.”
In his second round match up against the always tough Lauren Freer, Robilotto ran a dead on 8.90 for the win putting him in the hunt for the Right On award provided by Right Trailers Inc. “Depending on how many racers ran on the .90 is how much money Right Trailers will pay for the “Right On” award. I know Super Gas winner John Taylor ran dead on in his semifinal round so I will not be getting the entire award.”
In round three Robilotto got a break when his competition, Dave Scigliuto left 0.001 too soon and gave Robilotto the easy win.
“Scigliuto was killing it throughout eliminations. I looked at his times and he was setting the car up to cut 0.000 lights. I saw his red light and ran the car out to see what it would do.” Robilotto adds, “In the next round I had Hugh Meeks who won the Gators last year. He’s good friends with Sherman Adcock so I know he’s sharp. I didn’t have a bad light (0.017) but the car was set to run the number and it did.” Robilotto ran an 8.908 in the win over Meeks who had the better RT with a 0.007 but ran a losing 8.925.
Handras’ dragster was quick off the line but lacked consistency throughout the weekend
Hanley had Mike Handras in his semifinal round and Handras killed the tree with a 0.003 light to Hanley’s 0.030 but on the top end Handras’ dragster slowed losing with an 8.983 to Hanley’s 8.918. Hanley said, “I talked to Mike after the race, and he told me his car was not consistent to the 60 foot. He tried something different, and he said it backfired on him. And Mike had been hammering the tree all weekend.”
Robilotto said after his win, “I need to thank Rich Forbes for all his help. He has been instrumental in my success. He taught me everything about race cars. As far as sponsors I would like to thank Mickey Thompson Tires, VP fuels and A-1 Torque Convertors. And of course, I have to thank my wife, Nancy. Most racers who know me, know that Nancy is the head tuner and crew chief for the car. She dials the car. When you see those 90’s coming up on the score board, it’s all her. She knows how to work the throttle stop.”
Hanley adds, “When we were doing contingencies at the top end after the finals, the first thing I did was to hug Nancy and congratulate her. She does all the work, Mike just pushes a button!”
The winning dragster is a 2013 Undercover chassis built by Kurt Damron and is powered by a Sunset Performance built 582 cubic inch big block Chevy. “I love the car that Damron built. It was one of the last ones he did. It has to be the best car I have ever drove. Joe Jolly at Sunset built the motor. He knows how I run and during the winter I sent it back to Texas for a freshen.”
“And one last thing, I want to thank my daughter Heather, husband Anthony Fetch and my grandson Little Anthony who is my good luck charm.