Budds Creek: Friday qualifying pit notes

BUDDS CREEK, MD. - Friday pit notes from Harley Communications at the IHRA President's Cup Nationals presented by CompetitionPlus.com. Pro Funny Car Von Smith - The defending World Champion from Oak Ridge, Tenn., continued his gradual...

BUDDS CREEK, MD. - Friday pit notes from Harley Communications at the IHRA President's Cup Nationals presented by CompetitionPlus.com.

Pro Funny Car

Von Smith - The defending World Champion from Oak Ridge, Tenn., continued his gradual ascension up the qualifying list. He opened with a 6.065/236.15 during the Thursday session. The Atomic City Tool-sponsored driver stepped up with a 5.979. He saved his best for the last as he clocked a 5.941/239.27. His run put him in the eighth spot and will face Scott Weney in the first round of eliminations.

Scott Weney - The current points leader had a tough time navigating the Maryland International Raceway surface in the early going, but made up for it on Friday. In the second session, he stepped up with a 5.949/234.17. He failed to improve during the final session with a 5.957. He ended up in qualifying and will face points Von Smith in the first round.

Pro Modified

Troy Critchley/Johnny Rocca - With only one opportunity remaining to get into the field, Critchley delivered a berth in Saturday's final eliminations. The Aussie driver drove the classic 1949 Mercury to a 6.264/224.58 to slip in the second position. He will face Billy Harper in the first round of eliminations.

Tommy Gray - Gray, who resides in nearby Baltimore, Md., didn't let his hometown fans down. The driver of the 1953 Corvette dubbed as "The Undertaker" laid down his best run, a 6.413/217.49, to land on the bubble. He faces top qualifier Chip King in the first round.

Ed Hoover - Hoover was in danger of getting bumped out after failing to improve on his 6.420/220.98 from Thursday during the second session. He solved the problem by pushing Paul Trussell's '63 Corvette to a 6.333/222.51. He ended qualifying as the seventh. He will meet Steve Vick in the first round.

Dale Brinsfield - Brinsfield did not have a good experience during qualifying. The only highlight was his 6.425/220.33 during Thursday's session. He opened up with a severe bout of tireshake and coasted to an 11.092/75.23. He returned in the final session and looked to be on a hard and clean pass, but struck the tires a bit in second gear. That was enough to slow him to a 6.473/218.90. He ended up as the third alternate.

Mike Castellana - Castellana's rollercoaster ride of emotions continued on the final day of qualifications. He never made it down the track on all three runs and therefore by-passed the scales. He ended at 32nd qualifier in the program.

Steve Cossis - The CompetitionPlus.com-sponsored entry of Cossis provided the fans with somewhat of a fireworks show as the motor encountered some damage en-route to producing another 6.45. He failed to crack the 6.413 bubble and will encounter a DNQ for the first time this season.

Al Billes - The veteran Pro Modified driver from Canada failed to improve off of his first shot, despite two additional attempts to try and do so. His 6.365/224.77 establishes him as the ninth quickest and he will face Ronnie Hood in the first round.

Tommy Mauney - Mauney immediately made it clear that his Rockingham performance was no fluke. The veteran chassis builder pushed Roy Singleton's supercharged 1941 Willys to a 6.282/223.28. He claimed the third spot in the qualifying pecking order and will face Carl Moyer.

Pro Stock

Chris Holbrook - For the first time in his horrendous 2000 season, Chris Holbrook will have the lane choice in the opening round of eliminations. The defending World Champion from Livonia, MI., opened qualifying with a 6.769/207.94. He recorded a personal best for the Luckett & Bohanon team with a 6.629/210.44. He will face Montecalvo in the first round.

John Montecalvo - Qualifying was not kind for the Center Moriches, NY.-based Montecalvo. He found out just how temperamental that Maryland International Raceway can be. He missed the call on his first and last attempts by aborted early in the run. His only successful lap proved to be a 6.683/208.49, which put him in the 12th spot. He will face Chris Holbrook in the first round.

Gene Wilson - Wilson had found the right combination on Thursday when he claimed the second quickest lap, a 6.678/209.52. He failed to improve on Friday's first session, but more than made up for it with a 6.622/210.57 in his final attempt. He ended qualifying as the third quickest and will face Steve Spiess in the first round of eliminations.

Floyd Cheek - The Cougar has arrived according to the Friday evening performances of driver Floyd Cheek. The former Pro Stock champion from Soddy Daisy, Tenn., exceeded all expectations when he blasted out a 6.668/207.75 on the two-race old Jerry Haas-built Mercury. He claimed the eighth spot and will face Ed Machacek in the first round.

Dwayne Rice - Rice continued his improvement trend with each lap. The former Modified racer from Grove City, Ohio started out with a 6.722 on Thursday and stepped up with a 6.676 during the first session. While the majority of the Pro Stocks were stepping up in the final session, Rice joined the majority leapt up top with a 6.623/208.52. He will face Angelo Alesci in a first round all Ohioan match.

Angelo Alesci - The Cleveland, Ohio-based Alesci had laid down a respectable 6.762 during Thursday's lone session. However, when the pace stepped up a major way, so did Alesci. The leader of the self-proclaimed "Men In Black" team ended qualifying as the 13th quickest with a 6.696/208.17. This was a big improvement over his third qualifying attempt that drew him dangerously close to the centerline. He will face Dwayne Rice in the first round of eliminations.

Pro Outlaw

Laurie Cannister - After dropping to the second position during the first session on Friday qualifications, Cannister didn't sweat her failure to improve on her Thursday 6.130. The Nicorette/Nicoderm CQ-sponsored driver saved her best for last and ascended to the top of the order with a 6.060/222.18. She will face Scott Ray in the first round of eliminations.

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Scott Weney , Johnny Rocca , Ronnie Hood , Chip King , Gene Wilson , Scott Ray , Dwayne Rice , Angelo Alesci , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Tommy Gray , Al Billes , Jerry Haas , Troy Critchley , Von Smith , Steve Spiess