Track records fall during the first round of ACDelco Canadian Nationals qualifying

With almost perfect track conditions and cool night air the first qualifying session of the ACDelco Canadian Nationals saw elapsed time numbers lower and mile per hour numbers higher than at any point in the history of Toronto Motorsports Park. The night also marked Clay Millican's first Top Fuel pass following his 200+ mile per hour blowover in Milan, Mich. Two weeks ago.

Jim Sickles (Caledonia, N.Y.) highlighted the evening when he ran the fastest Funny Car pass in IHRA history, posting a 246.57 mph run in the second to last pair of cars of the qualifying session. This pass was faster than IHRA record-holder Laurie Cannister's 246.26 run in September of '02 at Budds Creek. Sickles will now have the rest of the weekend to hit 244.11 and back up his pending record.

Sickles sits atop the Funny Car qualifying list with two sessions remaining until elimination rounds start. His 5.781 put him ahead of Terry Munroe (Beaver, Pa.) and Rob Atchison (London, Ont.), who sit #2 and #3 respectively.

Steve Spiess (Manhattan, Ill.) set both ends of the Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock track record with his 6.408/217.81 pass in Pro Stock qualifying. Spiess came precariously close to becoming the initial member of the Lenco 6.30's Club, the club that will recognize the first 16 Torco Pro Stock drivers who can run an official IHRA pass in the 6.30's. Spiess ran a 6.37 at over 220 mph during off-season testing, but no one has eclipsed the 6.30's or 220 mph barrier during competition.

Not only did Spiess set the track record for both elapsed time and miles an hour, he provisionally broke the IHRA world records in both categories as well. Spiess has the rest of the ACDelco Canadian Nationals to hit 6.472 to back up his elapsed time record and 215.64 to back up his speed record.

Tony Gillig (Lake Bluff, Ill.) and Rick Jones (Galesburg, Ill.) sit right behind Spiess on the Torco Pro Stock qualifying list with two sessions to go.

Carl Spiering (Jordan Station, Ont.) and Quain Stott (Columbus, N.C.) joined the record-setting evening during Torco Pro Mod qualifying. Spiering shattered Billy Harper's track elapsed time record, posting a 6.151 to eclipse Harper's 6.165. Stott improved on his own track speed record, clocking a speed of 230.17 to top his old record of 229.74.

Stott could only claim the #4 qualifying post, however, as both Jim Halsey (Street, Md.) and John Russo (Middleton, Mass.) joined Spiering in registering quicker Torco Pro Mod runs.

Clay Millican (Drummonds, Tenn.) showed no ill effects of his crash in Milan as he vaulted to the top of the provisional Top Fuel qualifying list with a 4.666/305.36. Millican barely edged Doug Foley (Sewell, N.J.), who was running in the other lane. Foley ended up only a thousandth slower than Millican, registering a 4.667/300.93.

75 year-old Chris Karamesines (Chicago, Ill.) rounded out the top three Top Fuelers with a 4.954 pass at 288.77 mph.

The ACDelco Canadian Nationals will continue Saturday morning with sportsman qualifying starting at 10:30 at Toronto Motorsports Park. The second round of professional qualifying is slated to start at 3:00 with the first rounds of sportsman eliminations immediately after.