IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series 6th annual Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals Budds Creek, Md. June 22, 1997 Saturday News and Notes: *About the title sponsor... Crane Cams has been a leader in the automotive performance ...
IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series 6th annual Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals Budds Creek, Md. June 22, 1997
Saturday News and Notes:
*About the title sponsor... Crane Cams has been a leader in the automotive performance industry since 1953. The Daytona Beach, Fla.-based company is also a sponsor of a variety of different motorsports attractions, including a major contingency sponsor of IHRA Snap-on Tools Championship Drag Racing, as well as NASCAR stock car racing. However, the Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals marks the inaugural venture for Crane Cams as a title event sponsor. "We're extremely pleased to be the sponsor of the IHRA Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals, and really excited about the outstanding performances by the racers at this event," said Jim Hill, Crane Cams director of publicity and advertising. "We're looking forward to getting acquainted with all the racers and fans and introduce them to our Crane Cams product line and new Crane Cams FireWire." At this event Crane Cams is introducing its new spark plug wires for racing and street performance. FireWire is designed with a unique and reactive core, which suppresses RFI (Radio Frequency Interference). RFI can disrupt computer operations within a variety of systems in vehicles. New FireWire actually lowers RFI and also delivers maximum energy to spark plugs for increased horsepower and performance. FireWire has an outer silicon shield which provides a double-layer of protection against heat and abrasion. "We're glad to have the opportunity to announce the product at this event," said Hill. "We're already having success with it, as Scotty Cannon has demonstrated in the Pro Modified category." In Friday's qualifying session, Cannon emerged with the low elapsed time, covering Maryland International Raceway's quarter-mile in 6.523 seconds at 211.30 miles per hour. Cannon is the first driver to use the new FireWire product. Crane Cams also announced a new contingency for FireWire at this event. Crane Cams, which originated as a performance company, is now heavily involved with the original equipment automotive industry, and serves companies like Ford, Chrysler, GM, Harley-Davidson, Caterpillar, John Deere, Cummins Diesel Engines, Lycoming Aircraft and Mercury Marine. The company, which prides itself on being 94-percent ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program) organization, has a staff exceeding 600. * Angelo Alesci set a new Maryland International Raceway elapsed time track record Friday with a 6.744 elapsed time in the second round of time trials. Alesci, of Cleveland, Ohio, won the Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals, June 8 at the Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway. The win was the second of his career, as he earned his first victory at the 1996 Mid-America Nationals, Scribner, Neb. Alesci, 38, gives much of the credit to his consistent performance to plenty of testing at the Norwalk Raceway Park, and the tuning prowess of crew chief Dale Kindl. Alesci drives a Rick Jones constructed 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, with 813 cubic inches of Chevy horsepower from renowned IHRA engine builder Sonny Leonard. Comments from Alesci following Friday qualifying: "We're going to look at the graph and see if we can squeeze a little more out of it. I think it's there, and so does Dale. That (second pass, record run of 6.744) was really smooth. Everyone always tells me that when you're on a good run you won't know it until you see the time sheet. The track is really good, but it's a little greasy because of the heat. I felt a little vibration, but that was it. It was a really good pass. "After Bristol we did a lot of research and development and took the engine back to Sonny and let him freshen it. When he sent it back, all he said was, 'You'll be happy.' The thing about this team is that we test constantly (at Norwalk). The team is very devoted and Dale is just phenomenal. All I have to do is drive the car."
*Alcohol Funny Car points leader Scott Weis of Ashland, Va. had some misfortune during the two week break between the Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals and the Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals. He crashed his Sherwin Williams Ford Mustang in a test session at Richmond (Va.) Dragway. However, in less than a week, the Weis family rebounded and had a car ready for qualifying Friday here at Budds Creek. AFC racer Gary Rettell loaned Weis his Dodge Avenger body and chassis, until Weis' new car is delivered. Weis' crew had the Rettell car painted in Sherwin Williams colors, and set the car up good enough to qualify with a 6.355 second run. The pass was a wild, wheel-standing ride that nearly brushed the wall. On Friday night Weis had to leave the track and travel to Norwalk, Ohio for a prior sponsor commitment. He will miss both qualifying sessions today. He is currently qualified 13th (16 car field). Should he remain qualified after the two Saturday sessions, he will return to the Maryland International Raceway Sunday for eliminations.
*In her return to IHRA Alcohol Funny Car competition, 1986 IHRA AFC World Champion Bunny Burkett of Sterling, Va., qualified ninth with a 6.256 second, 228.46 mph run in her brand new 1997 Dodge Avenger. Burkett was seriously injured in a Sept. 1995 crash at Beaver Springs, Pa. After a year-and-a-half recovery period, she is back in the driver's seat.
* After making an impressive debut in his return to IHRA Pro Stock racing, Billy Huff was among those on the outside looking in after Saturday's Maryland Lottery Night of Fire, the final professional qualifying session. Huff needed at least a 6.863 to make the program and bump John Montecalvo. Surprisingly, Huff's best qualifying effort for the weekend was 7.359 seconds at 146.12 miles per hour. Huff said his crew had been battling clutch problems all weekend. Other notables not qualifying in Pro Stock included 1996 President's Cup winner Carlton Phillips, Mid West Pro Stock Association World Champion Tony Gillig,, two-time IHRA Pro Stock World Champion Doug Kirk in his Dodge Avenger, and 1996 IHRA Pro Stock World Championship runner-up John Nobile. *Pro Modified had another stout car count. As many as 47 cars in the division showed up for the event. Notables among the 31 cars not quick enough for the 6.625 bump spot were Brad Jeter, Quain Stott, Chris Hunt, Johnny Rocca, Don Fegley Jr., Tommy Gray, Mike Castellana, Todd Howard, Randy Moore and Louis Burris.
Sunday News and Notes:
* Pro Stock top qualifier Angelo Alesci broke a brake line in his 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo prior to his run with first round opponent John Montecalvo.
* Defending Pro Modified World Champion Scotty Cannon experienced an electrical problem with his 1940 Willys in his first round match with Dale Brinsfield. Cannon says his nitrous system didn't come on like it was supposed to, thus resulting in a losing 8.52 second run at 103 mph.
* Scott Weis' hectic week came to an end in the first round of Alcohol Funny Car eliminations Sunday. After winning the Prolong Super Lubricants Spring Nationals June 8, Weis crashed his primary car in a test accident Saturday, June 15 at Richmond (Va.) Dragway. He scrambled during the week to put a car together for the Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals. Fellow AFC racer Gary Rettell loaned Weis a chassis and body so that he could continue his quest to win the 1997 IHRA Snap-on Tools Drag Racing Series World Championship. Weis led the point standings in his division entering the Crane Cams President's Cup Nationals. The Ashland, Va. driver had just returned to Maryland International Raceway at 9 a.m. Sunday morning for final eliminations after traveling 10 hours from Norwalk (Ohio) Raceway Park. Weis had to accomodate a prior sponsorship commitment Saturday at Norwalk. He qualified 16th for the Crane Cams President's Cup on a wheel-standing effort Friday evening (6.35 seconds, 213.30 mph). With the Norwalk trip, he missed both Saturday qualifying sessions. In Sunday's first round he got out of the groove and lost traction in a race against top qualifier Larry Dobbs. Comments from Weis about the week: "Once we got into the pea gravel on the side of the track it was a done deal (in the first round). It killed the quarter-mile speed. We just felt good to make it back here and have the opportunity to race after all that happened this week. I'm really proud of what we accomplished. I think if we could have made the third and fourth qualifying sessions Saturday it would have made a world of difference. It's really hard to make a car work on two different tracks (Weis ran as fast as 6.08 seconds at Norwalk). The trip to Norwalk was very much worth it, because Sherwin-Williams (Paints, main sponsor) had about 480 employees there. This weekend has been a great experience for the team."
* Bunny Burkett's return to IHRA Snap-on Tools Championship Drag Racing in Alcohol Funny Car competition ended in the first round when an accellerator connector broke on her engine. Burkett's car broke during her burnout, handing the first round win to Mick Steele. Burkett missed nearly two years of competition while she recovered from injuries sustained in a racing accident in Sept. 1995 at Beaver Springs, Pa. Comments from Burkett following the first round loss: "That was really unfortunate. We just couldn't fix it. I was helpless there and had to watch my opponent toss a blower belt and make a nine-second run and get the win. I believe I've used all my luck. I guess if you have to break a part, I would rather it be an $18 part instead of an $18,000 part. I just came back over to my pits and spent time with my fans. This has been a great welcome back. I had a great weekend here at my home track. Last night I was already good enough into the program that I didn't have to run. But when I came around the corner and saw all of the people here, I had to make a run. I felt like all those people were here to see me. And many came by my pit last night and said they came out to see me. I couldn't let them down and not run the Maryland Lottery Night of Fire. These hometown fans mean a lot to me."
* Mike Corvo Jr. of Park Ridge, Ill. outran Ronnie Davis in the semifinals of Top Sportsman eliminations, but his 1994 ZR1 Corvette sustained heavy damage after he lost control in the shutdown area, ultimately flipping the car on its roof. Corvo wasn't injured in the incident. Since Corvo couldn't make it back to the starting line for the final, Rock Hill, S.C.'s Rick Moon took the uncontested victory in his 1992 Trans Am.
* Scott Duggins, three-time IHRA Quick Rod champ, proved once again his versatility in drag racing. The Spartanburg, S.C. racer advanced to the final in Top Dragster in his first race ever in the division (Duggins did not qualify for Top Dragster at the Spring Nationals). Duggins has also competed in Hot Rod. Duggins lost in the Top Dragster final to David Foxwell of Cambridge, Md.
* While IHRA Super Stock and Modified defending world champion Anthony Bertozzi has gotten off to one of his slowest starts ever, it seems like he's picking up speed as the season nears the half-way mark. Bertozzi, a three-time champ in Modified, claimed his first national event win of the season Sunday, topping Kernersville, N.C.'s Deat Buckner in the final. The win moved the Richmond, Va. based driver into second in Modified points (behind Tim Sloan). He is currently leading the Super Stock points chase. In addition to winning the Modified race at MIR, Bertozzi also earned the perfect reaction time bonus. Bertozzi cut a perfect light (.500) in his semi-final victory over Chuck Nagy.
* With his President's Cup victory Rusty Cook has a commanding lead in Super Rod. The Cynthiana, Ky. driver is 3,230 points in front of the category's defending champ, Steve Furr.
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