Rockingham: Team Castellana falls in first round

ROCKINGHAM, N.C.-Surviving the Australian Outback is nothing compared to what Team Castellana of Mike Castellana and Shannon Jenkins had to endure to be among the 16 to qualify for Pro Mod eliminations at the IHRA Holley Spring Nationals presented...

ROCKINGHAM, N.C.-Surviving the Australian Outback is nothing compared to what Team Castellana of Mike Castellana and Shannon Jenkins had to endure to be among the 16 to qualify for Pro Mod eliminations at the IHRA Holley Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts from a staggering cast of 45 hopefuls. While Castellana and engine-builder Jenkins would have preferred to advance past the first round, the supermarket chain owner from Westbury, N.Y., leaves this past weekend's season-opener knowing Team Castellana should be headed down the right track. The biggest challenge they may have conquered was surviving the qualifying, considering the size of the field.


Team Castellana. Photo: IHRA

For awhile, Castellana appeared he might reach the second round against the third qualifier Alan Pittman, launching in .461 seconds to .502. Despite being all over the track for the first 330 feet, Pittman, however, had too much power and chased Castellana down. Pittman covered the Rockingham Dragway's quarter-mile in an elapsed time of 6.307 seconds at 219.58 mph to the credible 6.386 seconds and 218.36 mph for the New Yorker. Ronnie Hood drove through tireshake to turn back Jenkins, winning 6.299/222.62 to 7.756/119.08 in the opening eliminations. While he drove well during the weekend, Castellana had some anxious moments during Saturday night's final run behind the wheel of his Western Beef-sponsored '57 Chevy. He needed his run of 6.324 seconds at 219.90 mph to put him in the show as the 14th quickest, and at the same time, he bumped Steve Vick from the eliminations. During Saturday's first pass, Castellana posted a 6.401/216.62 but failed to improve on the 11th position he carried over from Friday night. Before the day was over Castellana would sink further, putting him in jeopardy of not making the show. Castellana came out on fire on Friday, and his first pass was impressive as he launched straight as an arrow for a 6.362/215.86 to ended up second quickest. The roles became reversed in the second round. The unqualified Jenkins jumped into the show with a pass of 6.135 and 219.54 to put him in seventh position, while Castellana shook his tires coming off the starting line. Castellana and Jenkins will have nearly three weeks to take the next step when the IHRA tour stops at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond for the AC Delco Nationals on April 20-22. For more on Team Castellana, visit Castellana's website at www.awesome57.com. -IHRA

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Series Drag
Drivers Alan Pittman , Ronnie Hood , Shannon Jenkins