GRAND BEND, ONT. - Johnny Rocca's "Ironhorse" Pro Modified '51 Mercury, driven by Paul Athey, was on the warpath at the 2nd annual Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals this weekend. Rocca and Athey used the Grand Bend Motorplex as their personal ...
GRAND BEND, ONT. - Johnny Rocca's "Ironhorse" Pro Modified '51 Mercury, driven by Paul Athey, was on the warpath at the 2nd annual Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals this weekend. Rocca and Athey used the Grand Bend Motorplex as their personal battlefield and advanced to the second round of eliminations on Sunday in the Mohegan Sun-sponsored entry.
Athey used his Oldsmobile powered Mercury to qualify 11th out of the 32 Pro Mods attempting to make the 16-car field. Rocca provided Athey with the muscle to record a 6.365 at 218.87 mph during the IHRA's infamous "Night of Fire" on Saturday. Athey would face the '68 Pro Modified Camaro of Steve Vick during the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
Luck was on Athey's side during his match-up with Vick. After the pair performed their burnouts, Vick's motor fell silent giving the victory to Athey via a single run. The Leesburg, Virginia resident left the line hard but got out of shape near half-track and lifted early, slowing to a 7.989/106.39. Athey would face the former driver of the "Ironhorse", Troy Critchley in the second round.
Unfortunately, Athey would suffer a similar fate to his first round opponent when the "Ironhorse" broke before ever rolling through the water box. Athey was pushed to the side as Critchley moved on to the semis with a 6.292/220.15.
Despite the second round defeat, Rocca and Athey are beginning to perform up to their pre-season expectations, would could spell trouble for the rest of the Pro Mod field as the season progresses.