Rockingham: Saturday summary

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - Qualifying Pit Notes from the IHRA CARQUEST Autumn Nationals courtesy of CompetitionPlus.com in Rockingham, NC. TOP FUEL Bruce Litton - Litton hoped to reverse his fortunes from Friday's effort. The veteran enclosed trailer...

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - Qualifying Pit Notes from the IHRA CARQUEST Autumn Nationals courtesy of CompetitionPlus.com in Rockingham, NC.

TOP FUEL

Bruce Litton - Litton hoped to reverse his fortunes from Friday's effort. The veteran enclosed trailer dealership owner from Indianapolis was in the field at seventh with a paltry 17.577. His first attempt on Sunday was another smoky effort as he slowed to a 7.318, 114.63. He was in the eighth position headed into the final session. Litton got it all together in the final attempt and blasted out a 4.788, 277.77 to land in the second spot. He is paired against Louie Allison in the first round.

FUNNY CAR

Terry McMillen - One day after ripping off an excellent 5.938 to land in the second spot, the electrical engineer from Elkhart, Ind., McMillen was looking to maintain pace in his Amalie Oil-sponsored machine, but he encountered problems, shook the tires and lifted, coasting to a 10.825, 75. In the final qualifying session, McMillen launched hard and was on a great pass, but faltered in the second half of the run with a 6.668, 147.21. He ended the evening as the sixth quickest and will meet Bobby Baucom in the first round of eliminations.

Laurie Cannister - Any performance that Cannister can turn in that would keep her in the 16-car field, would give her the best showing that she's had in a flopper at Rockingham this year. She failed to qualify at the season-opener, but after the first day of qualifications, she was in the 14th spot with a 6.180. Her first shot on Saturday was an improvement with a 6.106, 232.11. Knowing that the key to her improvement was to overcome bouts with tireshake, Cannister came out in her final round and reached her objective of improvement with a 6.042, 231.52. She completed her qualifying bid and will meet Jim Libby in the first round as the ninth qualifier.

John Vouros - Vouros was not enthused at all with his Friday performance it's easy to understand why. The CompetitionPlus.com-sponsored could only claim a 12.632 as his best and entered the final day of qualifying as the 18th ranked entry. He righted the wrongs of Friday and blasted into the upper echelon of the field with a 5.915/234.45. Vouros' final lap produced a 5.939, 230.76. He concluded as the third quickest and will meet Mike Comella in the first round.

PRO MODIFIED

Paul Athey/Johnny Rocca - The Mohegan Sun livery was visible on the 1951 Mercury as driver Paul Athey entered the second day of qualifying. On the outside looking in with a 6.39, Athey knew he needed to improve to remain in the show. He did improve, but his 6.380, 218.97 was just not enough to earn a place in the program headed into the final session. In usual Team USA form, they saved their best for last as Athey sped to the 14th quickest run with a 6.340, 219.04 and will meet Alan Pittman in the first round.

Alan Pittman - Pittman held firmly onto his place in the Pro Modified show after the first day of qualifying. The Pelzer, SC-based driver for Ken and Sylvia Westbrook's 1941 Willys had a 6.371, 218.12, best to his credit. In his first attempt on Saturday, the classic machine got out of shape and Pittman lifted. The veil of frustration lifted in the final round as the fat-fendered machine roared to a 6.248, 216.79 to end up third. He will meet Paul Athey in the first round of eliminations.

Ed Hoover - Hoover blasted the Rockingham racing surface with a 6.297, 218.02 on Friday night. The veteran driver for Paul Trussell knew that Saturday's first session was going to be crucial. Unfortunately for him, the nitrous-injected Corvette drifted out of the groove and was forced to lift. His final run of the evening provided an interesting scenario. On his run, a timing malfunction left Hoover with the option of resting on his laurels or making another attempt. He returned with even more clout and blasted out a 6.253, 221.63. The run put him in the fourth spot and he will meet Todd Tutterow in the first round.

Chip King - King was still in a state of celebration after a tremendous 6.322. The self-employed businessman from Semora, NC., didn't get off to the same good fortunes in the start of qualifying as the Hemi-powered Dodge Avenger R/T. He failed to improve in the final qualifying session with a 6.371. He was the tenth qualifier and will meet Mitch Stott in the first round.

Team Castellana - The focus on the two-car Western Beef-sponsored team in the second day was in getting Castellana's 1957 Chevy into the show. Jenkins and is Camaro was already in there with a 6.325. The first session provided no improvement for either car as Castellana rattled the tires and Jenkins could only produce a 6.36. In the evening session, Castellana nailed the tires once again and it produced a DNQ effort. Jenkins fared no better on his final run and ended as the 12th quickest, he will meet Quain Stott in the first round.

PRO STOCK

John Montecalvo - Montecalvo won the unofficial consistency award for Pro Stockers after the first day of qualifying. The Center Moriches, NY.-based, Citgo-sponsored driver produced a best 6.680, just .004 off of his first attempt. With the heat bearing down on the track in Saturday's first session, Montecalvo ripped off a respectable 6.703, 206.16. He went for broke in the final session and came up on the positive with a 6.638, 207.72. Montecalvo ended qualifying in the 3rd position and will face Ron Miller in the first round.

Tom Lee - Lee's second day of qualifying opened with all with tremendous amounts of enthusiasm. The Kingsport, NC.-based driver of Charlie Taylor's Mustang was already in the field with a 6.694 best on Friday. In the heat of the day on Saturday, he failed to improve despite a respective 6.709, 206.89. He failed to improve in his final attempt and concluded qualifying as the tenth quickest. Lee will face Steve Spiess in the first round.

Dwayne Rice - Rice didn't enjoy too prosperous of a first day, managing only an 8.965 best. The 31-year old, excavator from Grove City, Ohio continued to get acquainted with the Moser Engineering-sponsored Pontiac Grand-am as improved to a 7.064, 201.64. With one shot remaining in his arsenal, Rice entered the final session and gave it his best and the end result was the 15th quickest run with a 6.738, 204.85. He will face Carl Baker in the first round.

Gene Wilson - Wilson, who is only a few rounds away from claiming his first career World Championship, found it hard to duplicate his 6.580 from Friday's evening session. The 27-year old, points leader from Canton, Ga., launched hard and the Charlie Hunt-owned Mercury Cougar made a sharp left toward the center-line and coasted to a 9.537. In the final session, Wilson was looking to extend his performance advantage, but fell short with a 6.601, 209.30. Ironically, that run was still quicker than the second quickest entry. He concluded qualifying as the top seeded machine and will face John Bartunek in the first round.

-cc-

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Johnny Rocca , Bruce Litton , Alan Pittman , Paul Athey , Quain Stott , Chip King , Louie Allison , Gene Wilson , John Vouros , Dwayne Rice , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Steve Spiess , Terry McMillen