Winning a championship, that is certainly no easy task in the high-stakes world of professional drag racing. Winning two? Now you are getting into something special. Winning two championships on the same day? Well, there really aren’t many ways to describe such a monumental feat. Winning five championships with four different sanctioning bodies? Who is this guy?
The racer in question is none other than Holdenville, Oklahoma’s very own Cary Goforth. A three-time Pro Stock World Champion entering the 2014 season, Goforth added two more championships to his resume this year including his most prized possession yet – an IHRA championship. But it was how he won those championships that made headlines.
Goforth entered the final weekend of the IHRA and PDRA racing seasons as the points leader with both organizations. Needing to at least start both races to clinch the championships, Goforth began the World Finals weekend in Richmond, Virginia on a Friday night, getting the start in one car before flying back to Memphis, Tennessee to make the start and finish the weekend at the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway the following day.
That overnight haul helped Goforth clinch both championships, giving him five for his career. But it was his championship with IHRA, known as home of the Mountain Motor Pro Stock division, which really made the year special.
“It has been a special year, no doubt about it. We took on an ambitious schedule, from helping Richie Stevens in NHRA for a few races, to getting my daughter a new Junior Dragster and taking on a schedule racing with two organizations, the situation just presented itself and we decided to go for it,” Goforth said. “Winning two championships, of course that is a hard thing to do. And winning two on the same weekend, I am not sure many people will ever have an opportunity to do something like that again. But five championships? Wow. You are getting up there with the Rickie Smiths of the world, and that is big time.
“This is the kind of stuff, if I quit tomorrow, I can tell my grandkids about. Five championships and winning with the IHRA, something I dreamed of doing as a kid, that is really special for me.”
By making the start in Memphis, Goforth formally clinched the IHRA Pro Stock World Championship, holding off the Black Diamond Motorsports duo of John DeFlorian and Kevin Bealko in the process. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the double race weekend left Goforth in an unfamiliar car and an unfortunate first round exit in the race, putting a slight damper on an otherwise successful weekend.
“When we got to Memphis I jumped in the GXP because our Camaro was on the way, which took some adjusting. And because we made our qualifying pass in the GXP, I couldn’t get out of that car,” Goforth said. “We ended up losing in the first round, which I really would like to have had back, but it was still a great weekend. We actually ended up finding what was wrong with the car later in the weekend, so there were a lot of good things to take away from Memphis. Getting the car down the track, winning the championship, doing what we needed to do Friday night and getting enough points, it was quite a weekend.”
While Goforth wasn’t able to escape a disappointing first round exit in the finale, he was able to capture three wins on the season. Goforth had wins at the season-opening Southwestern Nationals in Tucson, Arizona, followed by wins at the Southern Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park and a win in the rain-delayed Pittsburgh Nationals, completed later at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.
On the year Goforth accumulated 829 points, 75 points clear of second place DeFlorian. Both Goforth and DeFlorian spent the majority of the season trading the championship lead, with never more than a couple rounds difference between them.
DeFlorian and his Black Diamond Motorsports teammate Kevin Bealko, who finished third in the championship standings, had two wins and seven total finals on the year in their AMSOIL-sponsored Camaros. DeFlorian also rewrote the Pro Stock history books, setting both ends of the class record with a 6.224-second elapsed time at 226.70 mph set at San Antonio Raceway in March.
Goforth’s teammate Todd Hoerner finished fourth in the standings, with former IHRA champion Pete Berner rounding out the top five. Goforth Racing patriarch Dean Goforth finished sixth.
In addition to an exciting championship battle, the season was a success in a number of ways, including the much-anticipated return of the Pro Stock class to its rightful home with the IHRA.
“Everything is starting to turn around for this class, which is pretty exciting,” Goforth said. “The support we have received has been exceptional. We are really trying to show our support for this class and the IHRA in bringing Mountain Motor Pro Stock Racing back to the forefront and where it belongs with the IHRA.”
Goforth attributes much of the success of this year and his previous championships to his father, Dean, who has helped keep the Goforth Racing Team at the top of the Pro Stock world for some time. In fact, the team fielded a competitive three-car operation in 2014 in two different series, with all three teams finishing in the top six in IHRA points.
And it was Dean who was the driving force behind the ambitious schedule that resulted in one of the most unlikely endings you will ever see.
“It was something we certainly didn’t want to have happen, but the closer we got to the end of the year, we knew we were going to end up having to do the double,” Goforth said. “It costs a lot of money to get a plane from here to there; luckily I have a dad who is as crazy as any 20-year-old trying to do this. He always thinks outside of the box and I am appreciative of that.
“Everything he has done for us has been a blessing. It was crazy. Three cars, multiple series and to end it all flying from Virginia to Memphis for two different races, what a year.”