Norwalk, OH - Alan Pittman and the Westbrook Motorsports racing team took full advantage of the recent month-long break between scheduled IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series events to prep their feared '41 Willys Pro Mod powerhouse for the season's ...
Norwalk, OH - Alan Pittman and the Westbrook Motorsports racing team took full advantage of the recent month-long break between scheduled IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series events to prep their feared '41 Willys Pro Mod powerhouse for the season's stretch run.
An early-season string of top qualifying efforts and two national event wins had propelled the sophomore driver into second place in the Mopar Parts Pro Modified championship points chase, but the Pelzer, SC-based competitor knew that holding on for the rest of the schedule was going to be the real challenge.
Of late, several of the teams running with nitrous-aided motors have been showing signs of mounting a serious challenge to Pittman and his fellow supercharged racers, and it wouldn't take a call to Miss Cleo to see that the battle was shaping up to be a knock-down, drag-out affair right to the last round of the last race.
A multitude of minor problems had been plaguing the team over the course of the last two races, and failure to track down the culprit or culprits during routine maintenance led to the decision to go with everything new prior to this weekend's Mopar Parts World Nationals at Norwalk Raceway Park. Not only is this the IHRA's flagship event, but it's also the critical seventh race on the diminishing eleven-race schedule.
Arriving at the showplace facility just south of Lake Erie, Ken and Sylvia Westbrook's pride and joy was shiny and from stem to stern, even sporting a fresh coat of paint. During Friday's qualifying sessions, the red and silver beauty took the first steps towards reasserting its earlier dominance. A tentative opening shot of 6.460/221.89 was bolstered by a 6.348/226.58 effort later in the day, which set a new track mile per hour record.
Even though he was in the program, however, Pittman still felt that the car had a lot more in it. He and the team spent much of the day fighting mechanical failure and tire shake, but unfortunately the two sessions on Saturday proved that they still weren't free of their gremlins. Both of Pittman's attempts were abandoned before he crossed the finish line.
On Sunday, from his number 14 spot on the qualifying chart, Pittman faced one of the toughest of the nitrous posse in the first round; Alabama's Shannon Jenkins, who had qualified his Team Castellana '68 Camaro in the number 3 position. At the launch, Jenkins moved out first, taking an advantage of .023 at the tree, and legging it through at 6.267/221.71. Alan hung with him for a while, but his 6.381/223.50 effort lacked the punch to challenge for the win.
Pittman was disappointed, but not surprised by the turn of events. "I said right at the beginning of the season that there are an awful lot of good racers out here, nitrous and blower," he commented. "Any one of them can pop up and kick your butt when you least expect it. That's what makes this so much fun. Of course, we'd be having a lot more fun if we could get back to the performance we had earlier in the year. We're not going to quit working on this thing, I guarantee you that. We'll get a handle on it, and when we do, we're going all out to finish up strong"