Martin: Friday qualifying summary

Huge Crowd at US 131 Motorsports Park sees Terry McMillen Jump to Top of Provisional Top Fuel Qualifying List Andy Kelley (Nitro Funny Car), Mike Castellana (Pro Modified), Tom Carter (Alcohol Funny Car) and Jeff Dobbins (Pro Stock) also claim...

Huge Crowd at US 131 Motorsports Park sees Terry McMillen Jump to Top of Provisional Top Fuel Qualifying List

Andy Kelley (Nitro Funny Car), Mike Castellana (Pro Modified), Tom Carter (Alcohol Funny Car) and Jeff Dobbins (Pro Stock) also claim provisional #1 qualifying spots at Torco Northern Nationals

Martin, Mich. (Aug. 1, 2008) -- Prior to the Mopar Canadian Nationals in Grand Bend, veteran crew chief Doug Kuch joined up with Terry McMillen's Hoosier Thunder Motorsports Top Fuel team. Early returns are in and the numbers do not lie...Kuch has made a world of difference.

McMillen, from Elkhart, Ind., grabbed his second career Ironman by defeating Spencer Massey in the final round two weeks ago at Grand Bend Motorplex. He followed that up Friday at the Torco Northern Nationals by vaulting to the top of the provisional Top Fuel qualifying sheet, posting a strong 4.659 at 316.01 mph. McMillen also claimed five bonus points for being the quickest driver who also turned on his win light as part of IHRA's "Last Man Standing" program.

"We really needed the points and my hat's off to my crew," McMillen said. "Doug Kuch, what can I say? He has this car running very well. Doug and the crew make my job so much easier, I just have to worry about getting the car down the track."

Mike Strasburg (Lindon, Utah) was right behind McMillen after Friday's qualifying session, recording a 4.669. His 317.94 mph speed was the fastest speed of the Top Fuel session. Current points leader Bruce Litton (Indianapolis, Ind.) was third on the qualifying sheet with a 4.705/297.81 pass while Spencer Massey (Fort Worth, Tex.) rounded out the top half of the provisional field with a 4.734 at 304.53 mph.

Veteran Top Fuel driver Luigi Novelli (Crete, Ill.) ended up sixth on the provisional Top Fuel qualifying sheet with a 4.866. But his 315.49 mph speed was a career best.

Todd Simpson was the sole survivor of a difficult Nitro Funny Car qualifying session as ideal weather gave the racing surface at US 131 Motorsports Park more bite than most NFC crew chiefs were banking on. Simpson registered a 5.168 at 252.95 mph to move to the top of the provisional qualifying sheet as nearly every other driver had difficulty keeping power to the track, resulting in tire shake.

"That was tough," Jeff Diehl, who ended up third on the provisional sheet with a 6.189 at 160.06 mph, said of the Friday evening qualifying session. "A lot of guys will be making some serious adjustments before tomorrow's afternoon session."

Mike Castellana (Westbury, N.Y.) cleaned up during Torco Pro Modified qualifying. The grocery store owner ended up on top of the provisional qualifying sheet with a career best 6.031 pass at 237.00 mph, also claiming "Last Man Standing" honors and five bonus points. Jim Halsey (Street, Md.) was second on the provisional qualifying sheet with a 6.063/232.99 pass, putting two nitrous cars at the top of the ladder. Ed Hoover (Gilbert, S.C.), who won in Grand Bend, was the top qualified supercharged car Friday, ringing up a 6.077 at 233.96 mph.

Castellana's 6.031 pass was the second-quickest nitrous-powered pass in history, second only to Pat Stoken's 6.022 set at Maryland International Raceway this June.

Dr. Tom Carter (Victoria, Tex.) moved to the top of the provisional Alcohol Funny Car qualifying sheet when he posted a 5.801 pass at 245.00 mph. Carter, in his '08 Monte Carlo, was followed by Larry Dobbs (Welland, Ont.) who clocked a 5.872/246.89 pass. Dobbs claimed Last Man Standing honors, garnering five bonus points.

Jeff Dobbins (Wilmington, N.C.) drove his '06 Escort to the top of the provisional Torco Pro Stock qualifying sheet, clocking a 6.399 at 218.80 mph. Dobbins was a thousandth of a second quicker than both John Montecalvo (Center Moriches, N.Y.) and current points leader Frank Gugliotta (Mt. Airy, Md.) who both checked in at 6.400. Montecalvo, who matched Dobbins' speed at 218.80 mph, was second on the provisional sheet due to his speed advantage over Gugliotta's 217.07.

Pete Berner (Crete, Ill.) was fourth in provisional qualifying with a 6.401/218.02 while Steve Spiess (Manhattan, Ill.) rounded out a tightly-bunched top five with his 6.405 at 218.34...the fastest time clocked of the round. Gugliotta, who had the quickest ET of the evening session while also winning against the car in the other lane, won the Quarter-Max Pro Stock Challenge. He will gain five bonus points and receive a $500 check from Rick Jones at Quarter-Max.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Ed Hoover , Luigi Novelli , Mike Strasburg , Jim Halsey , Jeff Diehl , Steve Spiess , Spencer Massey , Terry McMillen , Todd Simpson