Norwalk: Saturday qualifying summary

GILBERTSON'S RECORD-SETTING WEEKEND CONTINUES After setting Norwalk Raceway Park Nitro Funny Car record Friday, sets new standard Saturday at the Skull Shine World Nationals presented by ACDelco NORWALK, Ohio (August 26, 2006) -- Bob ...

GILBERTSON'S RECORD-SETTING WEEKEND CONTINUES

After setting Norwalk Raceway Park Nitro Funny Car record Friday, sets new standard Saturday at the Skull Shine World Nationals presented by ACDelco

NORWALK, Ohio (August 26, 2006) -- Bob Gilbertson was not content with just setting the Norwalk Raceway Park Knoll Gas-Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car track record once, so he went back for seconds.

Twenty-four hours after eclipsing John Force's previous mark of 4.879 with a 4.864 pass at 318.39 mph Friday night, the Charlotte, N.C. resident roared down the track in 4.800 at 314.68 mph Saturday to better his record-setting number and claim the No. 1 qualifying position at the Skull Shine World Nationals presented by ACDelco.

"I told the team we just need to run 4.82, but this thing is a fast hot rod, thanks to Autolite, Prestone and everybody," said Gilbertson. "I feel good, but I'm a little bummed out. We had a plan but it just fell apart because we ran too quickly. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but since we missed a race, we figured we could use the extra points for a national record. But the way we calculated it, we went too quick to back it up."

J.R. Todd (Avon, Ind.) showed why he has been one of the most successful racers on the NHRA circuit. Todd climbed to the top of the qualifying sheet and threatened the Norwalk Raceway Park track record with a 4.586 shot at 321.12 mph to knock Doug Foley, who ran the pair before him, into the #2 position. Foley (Sewell, N.J.) finished second on the sheet with a 4.624 run at 312.64.

"I wanted to give the fans something to talk about," said Todd. "A 4.58 is what we were shooting for, so it's a good run for us going into a big race next weekend, but right now it's about winning here tomorrow."

An unfamiliar face found its way to the top of the Torco's CompetitionPlus.com Pro Modified qualifying sheet when the third and final qualifying round was completed at Norwalk Raceway Park. Canadian racer Tony Pontieri (Toronto, Ont.) drove to his first pole position of the '06 season by driving his '57 Chevy Bel Air to a 6.122 pass at 234.41 mph. Pontieri is running a limited schedule this season, but ripped right down the groove in the second Saturday qualifying session to take the top qualifying spot away from Quain Stott.

Stott, a Columbus, N.C. resident, finished second on the ladder with a 6.145 pass at 230.25 mph while Carl Spiering (Jordan Station, Ont.) closed out the top three with a 6.152 pass at 231.12 mph.

Rob Atchison might have things finally figured out. The London, Ont. resident put together a blistering 5.766/245.32 pass during the final qualifying session Saturday to break Jim Sickles' track record of 5.769 and grab the top qualifying spot heading into Sunday's elimination rounds. A three-time defending IHRA World Champion, Atchison remains in search of his first national event victory this season.

Rob Mansfield has had an up-and-down 2006 season, but Saturday night at the Skull Shine World Nationals was definitely one of the ups. Mansfield (Winter Park, Fla.) grabbed the top qualifying position when he drove his '05 Cobalt to a 6.434 at 217.00 mph. Mansfield nosed out Robert Patrick (Fredericksburg, Va.) for top qualifier honors as Patrick carded a 6.442 in his '06 Shelby Mustang.

In Nitro Cycles, Jay Turner (Julian, N.C.) drove to the exhibition victory with a 6.491/205.32 pass. Mike Romine, a Sturgis, Mich. resident, was second in the class with a 6.554 run at 208.68 mph.

Professional eliminations for the Skull Shine World Nationals presented by ACDelco at Norwalk Raceway Park begin Sunday at 11 p.m. Final round starts at 4:15 p.m.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , John Force , Quain Stott , Jim Sickles , Doug Foley , J.R. Todd