Rain cancels Saturday's action; racing to pick back up on Sunday
Heavy rain and less than favorable conditions have forced Saturday's action at the IHRA President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway to be cancelled.
Racing will get back underway first thing Sunday morning.
"With the current conditions and the timeframe we have to work with there is simply no way to get the track ready for this evening's event," said Mike Baker, Director of Competition. "While we are certainly disappointed to have to call Saturday's event, we hope to see everyone back tomorrow where the weather is calling for a much better day."
Fans that purchased a ticket on Saturday will be able to redeem that ticket at no charge on Sunday.
Currently, on-track action is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with sportsman eliminations followed by the first round of professional eliminations at 11 a.m. The rest of the schedule will follow the usual format with pro eliminations at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Racing got underway Saturday morning with beautiful conditions greeting the racers. All seven sportsman classes were able to get in another round of qualifying and eliminations before the rain began during the mid-afternoon hours.
While several attempts were made to dry the track, off and on rain showers throughout the afternoon eventually led to the event being called just before 5 p.m.
All 10 classes were able to get in at least one round of qualifying on Friday and Saturday morning, with some classes able to get in their first round of eliminations.
Making the decision to scrap Saturday's event even harder were the record numbers being put on the boards prior to the rain. In Top Sportsman Steve Drummond raced to a 6.322 second lap at 230.25 miles per hour, resetting both ends of the world record. In Top Dragster Troy Stone threatened to do the same with the records he currently holds with a 5.795 second lap at 238.47 miles per hour.
Both qualified first in their category.
In the professional classes all three categories remained unchanged from Friday as Bruce Litton (Top Fuel), Kenny Lang (Pro Modified) and Pete Berner (Pro Stock) will start Sunday from the pole position in their respective categories.
Litton (Indianapolis, Ind.) qualified first based on his 4.697 second lap at 311.70 miles per hour put up Friday night. Thanks to his solid run Litton was able to make up five more points on Del Cox Jr. in the Top Fuel title chase.
Litton was followed by Dom Lagana (4.795, 295.85), Bobby Lagana (4.829, 235.64), Todd Paton (4.845, 297.68) and Mitch King (5.580, 237.42). Del Cox Jr., Smax Smith and Ron August round out the eight qualifiers for Sunday's Top Fuel eliminations.
In Pro Modified Kenny Lang's (Grande Pointe, Manitoba) world record contending lap of 5.884 seconds at 243.55 miles per hour put down on Friday will start him from the top spot on Sunday.
If he can back up the run within one percent on Sunday he will hold a new world record in Pro Modified.
The rest of the top five include Tony Pontieri (5.929, 243.33), Ike Maier (6.239, 231.79) Harold Martin (6.321, 204.66) and Andy Jensen (6.324, 154.92).
Finally the Elite Motorsports Pro Stock bunch was topped by two-time world champion Pete Berner (Crete, Ill.) who ran a 6.306 elapsed time at 222.00 miles per hour on Friday.
John Montecalvo (6.308, 222.11), Cary Goforth (6.309, 221.05), Mark Martino (6.358, 208.78) and Dean Goforth (6.359, 220.22) round out the top five entering eliminations.
With rain wreaking havoc on the schedule, the eight drivers qualified for the Elite 8 Pro Stock Shootout will have to wait one more race to get in their $40,000 shootout until the IHRA World Finals in Rockingham.
Racing action will get back underway at 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning.