Litton Takes Over Points Lead with Final Round Appearance in Maryland Indianapolis-based Top Fuel driver qualifies ...
Litton Takes Over Points Lead with Final Round Appearance in Maryland
Indianapolis-based Top Fuel driver qualifies #1, falls to Bobby Lagana Jr. in final round of President's Cup Nationals
MECHANICSVILLE, MD (June 16, 2008) -- Bruce Litton fell one round short of claiming his second consecutive IHRA national event victory, but he did not leave Maryland International Raceway empty-handed as his strong showing during qualifying, coupled with two round wins, put him on top of the IHRA Top Fuel championship points standings.
Litton carded a 4.699 pass at 287.90 mph during the Friday evening qualifying session to move to the top of the qualifying sheet and no one would catch him. Litton's Friday pass was also the quickest winning pass of Friday's elimination session, earning him IHRA's Last Man Standing honors and five bonus points. It was a great way for Litton to start the weekend.
"Those Last Man Standing bonus points are very important," Litton said. "Five points up for grabs during each evening qualifying session of the season can really add up. We always go hard, but those evening qualifying sessions make us go just a little bit harder."
In the first round Litton stopped Kevin Jones in a very tight race. He ran a 4.896 at 288.09 mph to hold off Jones, who was charging hard at the finish line. Jones ended up posting a 4.950 at 297.88 mph in the loss.
"Kevin has a strong team behind him an they are always a threat," Litton said, "Mike Sipple and that crew have that car running very well, we were glad we were able to get by them."
Litton then had a bye run in the semifinals, choosing to save parts instead of going all-out in an effort to secure lane choice in the final against Lagana.
"The lane really didn't matter at that point," Litton said. "They were both very even. When the track is that hot (nearly 140 degrees) it really doesn't matter what lane you are in, you just have to figure out how to get from A to B."
Getting from A to B proved to be a bit problematic for Litton in the final. He launched strong and was even with Lagana at half-track, but there his engine gave out and Lagana slipped by at the finish line. Litton clocked a 4.998 in the final, but he slowed to 223.82 mph. Lagana zipped down the lane with a clean 4.869/306.40 pass to claim the Ironman.
"I have all the respect in the world for Bobby and that entire team over there," Litton said. "His little brother Dom was tuning the car for the first time and he got the job done. I'm really happy for that team because it was Father's Day and Bob Sr. was there watching both his sons do something very special. I'm sure that was a great Father's Day present for him."
Litton now leads the 2008 Top Fuel points standings with 383 points. Spencer Massey, who has two national event victories this season, is second with 353 points. Mike Strasburg (296 points) and Lagana (295 points) round out the top four.
"This points chase is really heating up," Litton said. "There are quite a few cars out here that are capable of winning an event. There are no easy rounds anymore in IHRA competition so we have to keep our focus at all times."
Litton will look to put his Lucas Oil dragster back in the winner's circle when he travels to Edmonton for the Rocky Mountain Nationals. He wanted to thank Lucas Oil and United Trailer Sales for their support of his race team this season.