Martin: Saturday qualifying summary

Record Crowd sees Record-Setting Performances at US 131 Motorsports Park Three track records fall as fields finalize for Sunday eliminations at Torco Northern Nationals Martin, Mich. (Aug. 2, 2008) -- Cory Lee knew his team was in trouble.

Record Crowd sees Record-Setting Performances at US 131 Motorsports Park
Three track records fall as fields finalize for Sunday eliminations at Torco Northern Nationals

Martin, Mich. (Aug. 2, 2008) -- Cory Lee knew his team was in trouble. Following the Saturday afternoon qualifying session they were on the bottom of the qualifying sheet and had major problems to work through in the pits.

"We were lost," Lee said. "We had some problems with our computer and also had some problems with some engine parts. We had a lot of work to do."

The team was able to come through under pressure. They thrashed away to get ready for the evening qualifying session, then went out and moved to the #1 qualifying position. Lee's 5.053 at 292.90 mph put him on the pole and set up a first-round match-up with Andy Kelley Sunday.

"It was a pretty good run," Lee said of his Saturday evening pass. "It had to be. We went from being the worst car out here to being the best. We figured some things out and should be ready for eliminations Sunday."

Mike Strasburg (Linden, Utah) moved to the top of the Torco Pro Nitro Top Fuel qualifying list with an impressive 4.659 pass at 326.32 mph during Saturday evening qualifying. Sitting fourth in the points standings heading into the Northern Nationals, Strasburg will have to face points leader Bruce Litton, who qualified fifth, in the first round of eliminations Sunday.

Terry McMillen, the winner in Grand Bend two weeks ago, ended up second in qualifying with a 4.659/316.01 shot. He will face Tim Boychuk in the first round Sunday.

Mike Castellana (Westbury, N.Y.) red-lit his chance at a $50,000 payday in the final of the Torco Pro Modified Shootout, held in conjunction with Pro Modified qualifying, but his track-record 6.009 at 238.05 mph put him on top of the field heading into Sunday's eliminations. Jim Halsey (Street, Md.) posted a 6.045 at 233.76 mph to claim the #2 spot, marking the first time this season a pair of nitrous-powered Pro Modifieds ended up 1-2 on the qualifying sheet.

Castellana's 6.009 pass was the quickest nitrous-assisted Pro Modified pass in IHRA history.

Ed Hoover, who qualified #4, won the $50,000 first prize by knocking off Castellana in the final qualifying session.

"This was a great deal," Hoover said. "I've never been involved in a race with this much money at stake. I'm really happy I was able to get the job done."

Hoover's 6.073/233.96 pass gave him the Shootout title and secured him the largest single-day Pro Modified payday in drag racing.

Dale Brand (Sully, Iowa) set a track record in the Alcohol Funny Car class, using a 5.729 pass at 245.05 mph to claim #1 qualifying honors. Brand will pit his '01 Camaro against current points leader Laurie Cannister (Johnstown, Ohio) in the first round Sunday.

Rob Atchison (London, Ont.), Thomas Carter (Victoria, Tex.) and Paul Noakes (London, Ont.) rounded out the top half of the Alcohol Funny Car qualifying field.

Pete Berner (Crete, Ill.) captured his second #1 qualifying position of the season, using a track-record 6.365 at 218.69 mph to move to the top of the qualifying sheet. Berner is very comfortable at US 131 Motorsports Park.

"This is our home track and we test here all the time," he said. "It's a beautiful facility and the track is always in awesome shape. It was a nice run tonight. I knew, right when I let the clutch out, that it was going to be a nice run."

Berner entered the Northern Nationals fourth in the championship points standings. He will get the chance to make up some ground on points leader Frank Gugliotta Sunday because the two will square off in the first round of eliminations. Coincidentally it was Gugliotta who previously held the track record at US 131 Motorsports Park with a 6.386.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Ed Hoover , Mike Strasburg , Cory Lee , Dale Brand , Jim Halsey , Frank Gugliotta , Terry McMillen