Leicester: Saturday pit notes

LEICESTER, NY - Pit notes from Harley Communications at the IHRA CARQUEST Empire Nationals. Top Fuel Bruce Litton - Litton didn't have much of Friday to brag about, but he sure made up for it on Saturday. The Wix Filters-sponsored Top Fuel...

LEICESTER, NY - Pit notes from Harley Communications at the IHRA CARQUEST Empire Nationals.

Top Fuel

Bruce Litton - Litton didn't have much of Friday to brag about, but he sure made up for it on Saturday. The Wix Filters-sponsored Top Fuel driver stormed to a 4.837/292.58, which put him in the second position. His run actually tied for first, but was relegated to the current position by a slower mile per hour. He will face Roger Dean in the first round of eliminations. His best run prior to the final day was a 5.812/159.20.

J.R. Todd - Todd, who pilots the United Expressline, Inc./Bruce Litton Trailer Sales Top Fueler, failed to improve on his first attempt. The freshman driver was on a strong run during his second attempt, but wisely lifted when the tires began to spin and the rpms went skyward. He coasted through to an 11.00. His best lap proved to be a 5.211/242.84, which put him in the sixth spot. He will face Clay Millican in the first round.

Pro Funny Car

Von Smith - Qualifying was not so kind to Smith at this event. The defending World Champion had problems in the first session and crossed the centerline bringing forth a disqualification. Knowing the threat of rain was on the horizon, Smith used a conservative run to make it into the program. He settled for the 15th spot with a 6.108/231.48. He will meet Scott Weney in the first round.

Scott Weney - Weney used Friday to establish a baseline. Saturday he used the data off of the baseline lap to haul buns. The former Nitro Funny Car driver stepped up to the plate and delivered the second quickest lap of qualifications with a 5.908/237.65.

Pro Modified

Troy Critchley/Johnny Rocca - Critchley further stepped up in the pecking order of the Pro Modified class with an impressive run. The classic Mercury continued to establish itself as the front-runner among the blown entries. The 6.497/201.74 was pretty impressive, but a 6.447/205.19 was even better and helped him to main the 11th spot in the program. He will face Steve Cossis in the first round.

Shannon Jenkins - The defending World Champion improved on his performance, but slipped one spot in the field. Jenkins improved on his previous 6.460 by hammering out a 6.425/219.72. The Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based driver ended qualifying as the seventh quickest and will face Mike Castellana in the first round.

Tommy Mauney - The two-time World Champion went into the final session on the bubble with a 6.482/214.33 best. When the final session got rained out, he ended qualifications in the same position. He will face Quain Stott in the first round. Mauney drives the Parsons Brothers 1941 Willys.

Ed Hoover - Hoover went into Saturday's qualifying as the top qualified entry. He improved on his 6.424/219.56 from Friday with a 6.413/219.94. He couldn't maintain the top spot in Paul Trussell's 1963 Corvette. The Gilbert, SC.-based driver claimed the fourth spot and will meet John Bartunek in the first round.

Dale Brinsfield - Brinsfield continued the trend of improvement on Saturday, but slipped two spots in the final order. That didn't matter as the Greensboro, NC.-based import mechanic bettered his 6.467 on Friday with a 6.440/217.60. He claimed the ninth spot and will meet Brian Gahm in the first round.

Mike Castellana - Mike's Drive In was hopping at New York. Castellana, a native New Yorker, promotes a fifties style drive-in at his pits and with a 6.446/213.92, business proved to be good. The run stepped him up from his 6.513 and allowed him to claim the tenth spot. He will meet Shannon Jenkins in the first round, the man whom he leases a race motor from.

Mike Ashley - The West Babylon, NY.-based Ashley continues to work his way back into the groove that he enjoyed back in the early-Nineties when he was a front-runner in the division. The team battled clutch problems and could only manage a best 7.980/208.33. He failed to make the cut and ended as the 27th qualifying position.

Pro Stock

Chris Holbrook - The defending World Champion finally found the right combination for his Mustang. He was unqualified going into Saturday's qualifications, but ended the day with a 6.805/204.49 best. That put him in the 13th spot where he will face current points leader Ron Miller in the first round.

John Montecalvo - Montecalvo continued his stout performances, but slipped from the top spot. He led Friday's qualifying, but in the second session fell from the top perch. He maintained his impressive performances and ended qualifying with a 6.686/207.75. He claimed the second position and will match horsepower with Ed Machacek.

Gene Wilson - Wilson was another one of the drivers that improved in performance, but fell in qualifying status. He held onto a 6.816 best from Friday, but stepped up with a 6.776/205.85. He's the tenth ranked driver and will face Steve Spiess in the first round.

Dwayne Rice - Rice was plenty satisfied with his baseline 6.831 lap on Friday. He further improved with a 6.715/205.99 and that catapulted him three spots up to the fifth spot. The Ohio-based excavator company owner will meet another Ohio-based racer Angelo Alesci in the first round.

Floyd Cheek - Cheek established himself as the quickest driver on the Charlie Hunt two-car team. This marked the first time for Cheek this season and he made the veteran car owner proud as he reeled off a 6.732/206.65. He claimed the eighth spot and will meet Tim Nabors in the first round.

Pro Outlaw

Laurie Cannister - Cannister failed to improve on her Friday performance. The defending event champion, who drives the Nicorette/Nicoderm CQ-sponsored dragster was shut off on the starting line in her first Saturday attempt with a lack of air pressure. She returned and produced another 6.2-second lap. She ended as the fourth quickest and will meet Ed Lyons in the first round.

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Clay Millican , Scott Weney , Johnny Rocca , Bruce Litton , Quain Stott , Gene Wilson , Dwayne Rice , Angelo Alesci , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Shannon Jenkins , Mike Ashley , Troy Critchley , Von Smith , J.R. Todd , Steve Spiess