ROCKINGHAM, N.C.-Laurie Cannister came into this past weekend's IHRA's third annual CARQUEST Autumn Nationals bent on erasing the only stain on her rookie Funny Car resume. Back in the spring during the season opener on the Rockingham Dragway, she...
ROCKINGHAM, N.C.-Laurie Cannister came into this past weekend's IHRA's third annual CARQUEST Autumn Nationals bent on erasing the only stain on her rookie Funny Car resume. Back in the spring during the season opener on the Rockingham Dragway, she failed to qualify for the only time behind the wheel of her Girl Power-themed Camaro.
Once the jitters had been taken care of from the transition as Pro Outlaw champion, the executive assistant from Clinton, Pa., put the guys on notice that they had a formidable challenger. And Cannister has been just that as evidenced by residing third in points coming into this race.
Cannister also was focused on reaching at least the semifinals for the seventh time in eight races, and ironically her best pass of the weekend wasn't good enough to move forward. To do it, she had to bounce Dale Brand during the quarterfinals.
Cannister broke into the fives for the first time during the weekend, got off to a good start by beating Brand off the Christmas tree, .484 seconds to .493, but it wasn't enough to stymie the determined challenger. She covered the quarter-mile in an elapsed time of 5.974 seconds at 233.88 mph to the No. 1 qualifier's 5.926/231.73, failing to advance to the semis by .039 seconds or about 13 feet.
The start of eliminations against James Libby had Cannister looking good. Despite losing the holeshot, .446 to .492, Cannister turned on the Girl Power, ran Libby down at the top end of the track and won by .010 seconds or about three feet. She covered the track in 6.033/223.63 to 6.089/228.85
Cannister struggled in early qualifying. Her first pass on Friday was clocked at 6.180/231.91. She couldn't find any relief the next time out, shaking the tires and slowing to a 16.271. She finished the day 14th in the 16-car field. She picked up the times on Saturday with her first shot being a 6.106 and 231.11. Knowing that the key to improvement was to overcome tireshake, Cannister reached her objective during her final heat with a 6.042 and 231.52, sending her into the next day's eliminations as the ninth quickest.
Now that Cannister has blotted out that stain from her rookie Funny Car record, she'll be back to work this weekend at the 10th annual CARQUEST President's Cup Nationals from Friday through Sunday in Budd's Creek, Md.