SHREVEPORT, La.-Troy Critchley and Johnny Rocca went to the 3rd annual IHRA Mopar Parts World Finals at Red River Raceway with two missions. One, try and stay in top five in the Mopar Pro Modified points standings. And two, try and defend their crown at the "race within a race", the Mopar Performance Parts Pro Modified Shootout. Critchley won the Shootout and the $50,000 purse at last year's World Finals, and he intended to win the lucrative event again.
The Australian-born driver guided the supercharged '49 Mercury to an excellent 6.337 at 222.73 mph during the opening round of qualifying on Thursday. It was good enough to qualify Rocca's "Ironhorse" in the No.2 spot after one session. On Friday the team entered the Mopar Pro Mod Shootout the No.3-seed, based on the season-long IHRA point standings going into the World Finals. Critchley dispatched of Mitch Stott with a 6.37/206 in the opening round. In the Shootout semifinal he faced No.1 qualifier and point's leader, Fred Hahn. The pair left the line together but Hahn's '54 Corvette was too much for the classic Mercury and Hahn took the win with a 6.28/227 to Critchley's respectable 6.42/223.
Critchley's 6.33 during the opening round of qualifying nabbed the No.6 position on Saturday's elimination's ladder. Rocca provided the muscle for the Prolong-sponsored machine to defeat Ronnie Hood in round one with a consistent 6.33/222. It gave Critchley lane choice for his second round encounter with Steve Vick. It was Vick who had defeated Critchley in the second round two weeks earlier, at Budd's Creek, and the team was definitely seeking a measure of revenge.
Unfortunately, Rocca and Critchley never got a chance to race Vick. Their machine failed to start because of a faulty battery cable for their quarterfinal confrontation and Vick singled to the win with a 6.40/221.
By virtue of his runner-up finish, Mitch Stott was able to leap frog Critchley in the IHRA Mopar Pro Mod point's standings. Critchley now sits in 4th place going into the final event of the season at Rockingham. He is 40 points behind Stott and 16 points ahead of 5th place, Ronnie Hood. It will take a strong showing at "the Rock" for Critchley to be able to grab his first career IHRA top five finish.