Leicester: Laurie Cannister final report

LEICESTER, N.Y.-The semi-final gremlin has jumped up and bit defending CARQUEST Empire Nationals champion Laurie Cannister for the third straight week. This time it was Mike Decker, who helped chew off a piece of Cannister's Pro Outlaw...

LEICESTER, N.Y.-The semi-final gremlin has jumped up and bit defending CARQUEST Empire Nationals champion Laurie Cannister for the third straight week.

This time it was Mike Decker, who helped chew off a piece of Cannister's Pro Outlaw point lead as the Nicorette/Nicoderm CQ driver is finding it difficult to duplicate last season when she won four times on the way to the IHRA Rookie of the Year. The early exit could help point runner-up and race finalist Mick Snyder close the gap on Cannister.

In the second round of yesterday's CARQUEST Empire Nationals, Cannister produced the quicker reaction off the starting line with her time .475 seconds in her Fowler Race Engines-powered Mopar dragster to the .481 for Decker. It was during the rest of the quarter-mile run on the New York International Raceway Park track that the 38-year-old SmithKline Beecham executive fell short. Decker completed the pass in 6.128 seconds at 220.42 mph to a 6.195/216.13 for Cannister, who lost by a mere .061 seconds or about 19-feet.

The weekend started promising on Friday for the Clinton, Pa., resident. Excited by her finalist status in the Car Craft All-Star Awards among alcohol dragster drivers, she found a good baseline with that first qualifying pass. Her 6.277 seconds at 210.08 mph sent her into Saturday ranked third quickest.

During Saturday's heats, Cannister experienced some difficulties. The first attempt was shut down by a lack of air pressure. She did return to salvage the day with another 6.2-second lap, sending her into yesterday's eliminations the fourth quickest.

Cannister will have some time to think about what went wrong again. She will try to bust out of the semi-finals when the IHRA tour visits the CARQUEST Northern Nationals at Mid-Michigan Motorplex in Stanton on Aug. 4-6.

For more on Laurie Cannister and the trials and tribulations of drag racing

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Mick Snyder