Rockingham: John Vouros impressive in 2001 debut

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - We should consider John Vouros to be drag racing's version of a red-shirt freshman. Vouros, 35, of Victor, NY., made the transition to the Pro Funny Car division late last season and with only one event late last season under his...

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - We should consider John Vouros to be drag racing's version of a red-shirt freshman. Vouros, 35, of Victor, NY., made the transition to the Pro Funny Car division late last season and with only one event late last season under his belt, the CompetitionPlus.com-sponsored driver could be on his way to a tremendous career and has established himself as a bona fide contender for the Rookie of the Year accolades for the season. At the recently completed IHRA Holley Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts, the Tom Anderson-tuned machine stormed to a semi-final finish.

Believe it or not, Vouros was disappointed.

"Have you ever seen anyone that goes to a race to finish as a semi-finalist," Vouros explained, with a smile. "I am very pleased that we reached as far as we did. I really wanted to win, but that's the nature of a drag racer. I consider myself to be a diehard drag racer. Tom Anderson provided me with an excellent car, and before it is over I hope to provide him with a win."

Vouros failed to qualify at last season's rain-delayed CARQUEST Autumn Nationals, also in Rockingham, but had no such problems this go-round. His first run of the new season wasn't a pretty one, though. He drifted out of the groove in the left lane and took out a cone drawing a disqualification and negating a 6.33 lap. He fared better in the second session as he leapt to a 6.104/214.52 to end up in the fifth position. That lap would stand as his best run because of a failure to improve.

He completed qualifying in the 10th position and was scheduled to face Larry Dobbs in the first round. Vouros strapped a holeshot on Dobbs and scored his first career flopper victory with a 5.951/231.83.

If there was a defining moment in Vouros' fledgling career, it happened in the quarter-finals when he overcame a holeshot from the defending World Champion Scott Weney and blasted by for a 5.871/232.82.

His downfall came in the semi-finals when he had a burst panel explode costing him the race against eventual champion Monty Todd.

- Bobby Bennett

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Series Drag
Drivers Scott Weney , John Vouros