Leicester: Laurie Cannister review

LEICESTER, N.Y.-When the IHRA disbanded the Pro Outlaw division after last season, champion Laurie Cannister had to find new fields to conquer. She chose to do it by stepping up to funny car. Cannister ruled the final Pro Outlaw class by...

LEICESTER, N.Y.-When the IHRA disbanded the Pro Outlaw division after last season, champion Laurie Cannister had to find new fields to conquer. She chose to do it by stepping up to funny car.

Cannister ruled the final Pro Outlaw class by reaching the finals nearly half the time, winning four of those events. The executive assistant from Clinton, Pa., has found it tougher to reach the winner's circle for the first time in funny car, but she keeps knocking on the door.

For the second time in three races, Cannister, with the help of her Girl Power Campaign, reached the semifinals. The latest effort came yesterday afternoon during the 11th annual CARQUEST Empire Nationals. Her trip to the finals anda shot at victory was eventually stalled by No. 1 qualifier Dale Brand.

Brand left first, winning the holeshot .486 seconds to .506, and the chase was on for Cannister, who also reached the semifinals in Canada in early June. Cannister's Chevy, however, started to shake, and she had to pedal as the Camaro came very close to the centerline. She finished the run down the New York International Dragway in an elapsed time of 6.383 seconds at 228.73 mph, which was a little short of ousting Brand and his 5.848/237.59.

The Girl Power driver showed she could handle the men on her first two elimination runs as well as in qualifying. She started by dispatching Paul Lee, 5.886/239.10 to 6.211/229.98. Her ET in the second round was the same as she sent Terry McMillan packing early, 5.903/239.19 to 6.073/233.08.

The Pennsylvania-based driver opened Friday's trials with a baseline run of 6.077 and 226.85, and her second pass proved to be a smash hit at 5.886/239.10 to register the third quickest time. That effort also carried her into the elimination rounds as the fourth quickest even though she wasn't as sharp on her two efforts on Saturday.

Cannister has two weeks to find how to ponder her next assault on the class before heading to Stanton, Mich., for the 20th annual CARQUEST Northern Nationals from July 27-29.

-IHRA

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister