In DRagster IHRA

To Be The Best, You Have To Beat The Best; Craig Marshall Wins Super Stock World Championship


Craig Marshall, from Columbus, Ohio, already has one gold Ironman on the mantle from his 2004 Stock World Championship. He’s always been a front-runner in both Stock and Super Stock, but the odds-makers may not have given him the credit he deserved toward his chances of capturing his first Super Stock World Championship.

Despite not “chasing” points, defending champion Anthony Bertozzi still managed to attend plenty of races and accidentally rack up a solid 694 points. In addition to the presence of Bertozzi’s dominating force, Scotty Richardson, easily among the best bracket racers on the planet, also threw his hat into the ring this season.

Marshall opened up the season with a victory in his first event with his “Wanna Be Dodge Material” SS/CM ’98 Grand Am, at the Immokalee Regional Raceway Summit Pro-Am, presented by Mr. Gasket. A lot of racing happened between February and June, however, and Marshall temporarily dropped from the radar. That quickly changed, as it became a hot, hot summer for Marshall. He scored a special Father’s Day win at Maryland International Raceway, even while back problems had forced the family patriarch, Bob Marshall, to the sidelines. The win vaulted him back up into sixth place in the World Championship standings.

He won again in his next outing, in the first race of a triple-header at Pittsburgh Raceway Park. A week later, Marshall nailed down his fourth victory of the season, confirming him as more than just a spoiler between Bertozzi and Richardson. But even as the picture started to come into focus for onlookers, Marshall remained cool.

“I don’t think about it much. But, if you see Bertozzi, tell him he needs to spend more time at the beach!” he joked.

Marshall barely skipped a beat before recording a runner-up effort at the US 131 Motorsports Park Summit Pro-Am to lock up the division championship. By the end of the weekend, he amassed 694 points. He went on to win day one of the Osceola Summit Pro-Am, despite being claimed out of eligible points races.

Bertozzi finished his final points claims a month later, and also scored 694 points, yet fell one round short of surpassing Marshall. The first tie breaker goes to head-to-head matchups, which gave Marshall the World Championship nod. Marshall defeated Bertozzi twice in Summit Pro-Am competition.

Scotty Richardson still factored into the picture as late as the final race of the year, the IHRA World Finals at Rockingham Dragway, but because of his solid appearances throughout the entire season, he had to win the event in order to improve on his points total enough to steal the championship from Marshall. His bid ended in a breakout against Terry Taylor in the first round of competition.

Marshall let out a sigh of relief, and with no further fanfare, went back about his day, as calmly as ever.

“I really want to thank all of the guys at Eastland Crane for making it possible for us to go racing,” said Marshall. “We’re so busy at work that it’s tough to take the time off, but any time you win, it’s worth it. Everybody has worked their butts off, and we really appreciate them.”

Marshall also thanked his father Bob, his brother Kevin, crew chief Leonard Wyche, Crane, Hoosier Racing Tires, and Jeg’s.

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