ROCKINGHAM, NC - Johnny Rocca will admit that he was a little embarrassed after the IHRA season-opener in Darlington, SC. The veteran car owner from Leesburg, Va., could only sit and watch raindrops fall from the Carolina skies as his classic,...
ROCKINGHAM, NC - Johnny Rocca will admit that he was a little embarrassed after the IHRA season-opener in Darlington, SC. The veteran car owner from Leesburg, Va., could only sit and watch raindrops fall from the Carolina skies as his classic, Troy Critchley-driven 1949 Mercury Pro Modified sat in the lanes awaiting its final qualifying run during the Prolong Winter Nationals. The session was cancelled and the Native American's team was forced to accept a DNQ in the first event of a season in which many have predicted his race vehicle, which is dubbed "Ironhorse", to claim the championship.
However, Rocca frets no more. The former Gasser driver accepts that often good fortunes are not always in the cards, even if one has tremendous potential. It was more or less a pride thing for Rocca as he is part owner of Darlington Dragway and his sponsor, Prolong Super Lubricants, was title-rights sponsor of the event.
"That one stung pretty bad," explained Rocca. "We are confident going into Rockingham that things will turn around. We had them turned around at Darlington. The rain messed us up. That's no excuse. But, I am very much confident that we would have went out there and laid down the number one spot in that final session. That's no big secret. The rest of the field knew that, whether they would want to admit it or not."
Rocca had good reason to feel that way. Following the completion of the event, Critchley made a test run and that netted a low 6.3-second elapsed time and would have put him atop the program. In Rocca's best assessment, "We were number one qualifier a day late."
Rocca recently announced that his team acquired associate sponsorship from the Somerset Oil Refinery in Somerset, Ky. The team at Somerset is one that Rocca is proud to be associated with.
"They are good people and I am proud to be associated with such credible individuals," explained Rocca. "They're good, friendly and down-home people that love drag racing. I am glad that they chose us."
The Somerset Oil Refinery distributes racing fuel, alcohol and oil.