Budds Creek: Team Castellana post race

BUDD'S CREED, Md.-Shannon Jenkins was so close to his second IHRA Pro Mod victory of the season for Team Castellana that he virtually could reach out and grab it, but it slipped away in a puff of smoke. After waiting out a two-hour rain delay...

BUDD'S CREED, Md.-Shannon Jenkins was so close to his second IHRA Pro Mod victory of the season for Team Castellana that he virtually could reach out and grab it, but it slipped away in a puff of smoke.

After waiting out a two-hour rain delay and earning a hard fought semifinal victory, the driver of the Western Beef-sponsored Chevy was revved up to make chopped meat out of challenger and No. 1 qualifier Mike Janis in the Pro Mod finals during the 10th annual CARQUEST President's Cup Nationals yesterday afternoon. The meat grinder blew up.

A nitrous explosion was the culprit when purging the system while staging, and it cost the Alabaman an opportunity to add to the win collected in the New York race since Janis was ripe for the picking. His car shook hard, and he was forced to shut down almost immediately, coasting across the finish line in 10.045 seconds at 89.43 mph. Jenkins never left the tree.

After the rain delay, Jenkins over came his toughest head-to-head challenge when he nosed out Ed Hoover in a race that was a dead heat much of the way. His margin of this semifinal victory was .008 seconds or about three feet. Hoover was off first, winning the holeshot .421 seconds to .474, but Jenkins caught him, covering the Maryland International Raceway quarter-mile in 6.363 seconds and 223.50 to 6.424/222.95.

Jenkins also left the Christmas tree second against Mark Hemling, .437 to a .516, during his first head-to-head battle in which both cars shook. Hemling slowed immediately and as did Jenkins about 100 feet out. When each realized the other was having problems, they got back in, but Jenkins had more momentum in winning 6.940/217.77 to 7.797/212.09

Alan Pittman gave Jenkins a tough battle, too, and the race was so even it appeared that the cars were welded together. Pittman did lead early but not for long as Jenkins led when it counted at the finish line, winning by .003 seconds or about 12 feet on his elapsed time of 6.260/244.28

The start of qualifying on Friday had a familiar ring. Neither Mike Castellana nor Jenkins found their way into the program after the first session. The second session was cancelled before either could run.

The frustrations continued on Saturday for Castellana as the supermarket chain owner from Westbury, N.Y., failed to get his Western Beef-sponsored '57 Chevy down the track under power two more times. The Long Islander finally had something to smile about when Jenkins covered the quarter-mile in 6.242/224.51 on his first pass of the day, and that was good enough to vault him into No. 3 on the final standings.

The next day the grin broadened for Castellana as he watched his teammate cook the competition into the finals.

Jenkins, buoyed by this performance, will be gearing up for another victory in the season final at the fourth annual Mopar Parts World Finals from Oct. 12-14 in Shreveport, La.

-tc-

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Series Drag
Drivers Mike Janis , Alan Pittman , Ed Hoover , Shannon Jenkins