World Nationals pivotal in Litton Top Fuel title chase NORWALK, Ohio-The 24th annual Mopar Parts World Nationals presented by Ethanol is the biggest race on the IHRA schedule, the prime focus of every driver. The race presents an extra...
World Nationals pivotal in Litton Top Fuel title chase
NORWALK, Ohio-The 24th annual Mopar Parts World Nationals presented by Ethanol is the biggest race on the IHRA schedule, the prime focus of every driver.
The race presents an extra incentive for Bruce Litton. He has put added pressure on himself since his performance will be pivotal in his chase for the elusive Top Fuel season championship. Coming into qualifying on Thursday, Litton rests third in points, 115 behind Clay Millican, and he doesn't want to windup in that position like he did the last two seasons.
"This is one of the last four races we're going to have to do good. It's either put up or shut up. Clay can't go to the final round. We're going to have to stop him early, and hopefully we can get some of these points back," says Litton, who led the points after Rockingham and Canada.
What the driver of the Wix Filters-Renegade-United Express-Stoops Freightliner-sponsored dragster is counting on is a change in the weather to bolster his points' position.
"The hot weather has given us a little trouble this summer, and now we're going into fall, cooler weather. That's to our advantage. We set the ET record in cooler weather," says Litton of his world record pass of 4.65 seconds during his weekend in Canada. "We're more consistent in cooler weather than when it's hot."
Litton's performance at last weekend's NHRA tour stop in Brainerd, Minn., was real cool. He reached the semifinals Sunday, losing to Darrell Russell by a scant .08 seconds. He nailed Russell to the Christmas tree and feels he could have won had he not been running the IHRA limited blower overdrive of 25-percent. The 44-year-old enclosed trailer dealer from Indianapolis, however, was ecstatic with his performance.
"The track was slippery, and we were pretty fortunate, and it showed that consistency pays," Litton says. "It was the most consistent car there as far as going down the track in every round. We were just a little bit from going to an NHRA final with an IHRA tune-up."
Besides performing well and having what he calls some fun, Litton will take what he learned in Brainerd to help negotiate the Norwalk Raceway Park quarter-mile. He is counting on the weather conditions being quite similar to help out, too. "It was a little cooler in the evenings, and sunny to make the track hot in the daytime," Litton points out. "With the IHRA running evenings for qualifying and daytime for eliminations (on Saturday), you have to have two completely different setups."
Litton is considering a similar plan of attack, adding, "Mainly we were running the car aggressive on some parts of the track and more or less getting it down in other parts of the track. We were working with the clutch setup."
An unexpected bonus from last weekend was that nothing was damaged on the Littonmobile. The same motor was used all weekend and just normal maintenance was needed after each run.
Litton doesn't plan to make any changes in the car's setup, and the blower will be the same as it was for Brainerd.
"We've got the notes from last year's race, but it's not the same parts and the same car," says Litton of the car that was destroyed in the fire last January. "It has taken us awhile to learn the car. This car is definitely faster, just not as consistent."
Litton has done well in adjusting to the new car, but that won't be good enough this weekend. He won't be satisfied with anything short of coming home first.
"We want to win, and our team is expected to win. I feel we'll be in the winner's circle this year, and I'm planning on it being in Norwalk," Litton says.
Litton has the confidence back that he had last year when he made five finals, reaching the winner's circle on four occasions.
To keep abreast of Litton's chase for this season's Top Fuel championship visit his website at www.brucelitton.com.