Epping: Series Saturday summary

Saturday's action called due to weather; racing to pick back up on Sunday Heavy rain and less than favorable conditions have forced Saturday's action at the Amalie Oil North American Nationals to be cancelled. Racing will get back underway first...

Saturday's action called due to weather; racing to pick back up on Sunday

Heavy rain and less than favorable conditions have forced Saturday's action at the Amalie Oil North American Nationals to be cancelled. Racing will get back underway first thing Sunday morning.

"With the current conditions and the timeframe we have to work with it has created a perfect storm and there is simply no way to get the track race ready and safe in the allotted amount of time," said Skooter Peaco, Vice President of Race Operations. "While we are certainly disappointed to have to scrap Saturday's event, we were pleased to see so many people try and wait out the rain.

"They are what make IHRA racing so great. We have some of the most loyal fans out there and we are going to make sure we put on a great show for them tomorrow."

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 9:30 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.

"Right now it looks much better for tomorrow so we should be able to get this thing in the books and put on a great show for the fans," Peaco said.

A constant rain and low temperatures throughout the day created a no-win situation as the system also affected qualifying on Friday.

Two professional classes were able to get in a round of qualifying on Friday before the rains cut day one short, but Top Fuel has yet to make a run this weekend.

Because of the lack of qualifying the Top Fuel field will be set according to points, while Pro Modified and Elite Motorsports Pro Stock, who both got in a single round on Friday, will be paired according to their runs on Friday.

As it currently stands, Top Fuel drivers Bruce Litton, Del Cox Jr. Bobby Lagana Jr., Mitch King, Tim Boychuk, Terry McMillen, Smax Smith and Dom Lagana will be paired accordingly while Ron August's IHRA Top Fuel debut will have to wait.

"It is what it is and we will just have to work around it," Litton said. "You always want to get a pass on the car and see where you are, but that just isn't the way it worked out. We will make the best of things and hopefully get this thing down the track tomorrow."

In Pro Modified a strange opening round saw a new face at the top of the charts as Fidelio Montrond (Acushnet, Mass.) will roll off first on Sunday. Montrond, in his first IHRA start of the season, ran a 6.143 second lap at 230.06 miles per hour to give him his first career pole position.

Andy Jensen (Nescopeck, Penn.) is currently second on the charts, followed by Tony Pontieri, Ed Hoover and Pete Farber. Rounding out the eight car field are point leader Kenny Lang, John Russo and Chris Russo.

In Elite Motorsports Pro Stock the single round of qualifying will have a huge impact on the championship chase as the top two drivers in points find themselves matched up in the opening round.

John Montecalvo (Center Moriches, N.Y.) had a solid lap despite the conditions, placing his Chevrolet Cobalt in the fourth position, but point leader Frank Gugliotta (Mt. Airy, Md.), who usually finds himself at the top of the charts, struggled in his first pass of the weekend.

The two will meet up in the opening round in a bout that could determine the 2009 Elite Motorsports Pro Stock championship.

While all eyes will be focused on that matchup, Mark Martino will enjoy a first round bye thanks to his first No. 1 qualifier of his career. Martino (Stoney Creek, Ontario) ran a solid 6.335 elapsed time at 222.88 miles per hour to take the Pro Stock top spot.

Bob Bertsch (Willis, Mich.) is currently second on the charts, followed by Pete Berner, Montecalvo and Ned Katuran.

In other professional action the Pro Stock Sled class will see its 16-machine field set on one round of qualifying as Jay Pearl (Newport, Maine) tops the charts with an 8.491 second pass made Friday night.

Rounding out the top five are Kevin Zucco, Kristin Stanley, Brian Hamel and Ed Illgen.

Finally the Northeast Outlaw Pro Modified class and the Pro Comp classes did not get to make a qualifying pass during the weekend and will see their fields set according to random draw.

Racing action will get back underway at 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Mitch King , Ron August , Kenny Lang , Mark Martin , Frank Gugliotta , Terry McMillen , Pete Farber