Shreveport: Laurie Cannister finale report

Cannister impressive in rookie Funny Car season finale SHREVEPORT, La.-Laurie Cannister can look back on her IHRA rookie Funny Car season with a great deal of satisfaction. Despite failing to win like the four times during the previous year as...

Cannister impressive in rookie Funny Car season finale

SHREVEPORT, La.-Laurie Cannister can look back on her IHRA rookie Funny Car season with a great deal of satisfaction. Despite failing to win like the four times during the previous year as Pro Outlaw champion, she showed the guys she has to be taken seriously.

After failing to qualify the first time out behind the wheel of her Girl Power Camaro in Rockingham, Cannister proceeded to reach at least the semifinals in seven of the remaining 10 races, highlighted by making it into the final round in the Michigan race.

The executive assistant from Clinton, Pa., was looking to advance into yesterday's finals during the 4th annual Mopar Parts World Finals' PPG Night of Fire, but No. 1 qualifier Dale Brand had a different idea.

Brand beat Cannister off the starting line and led the run from wire-to-wire down the Red River Raceway quarter-mile in an elapsed time of 5.829 seconds at 236.88 mph. Cannister turned in a 5.875 and 239.14 and finished .087 seconds behind.

Up to that point, Cannister was making a strong challenge for that first win, and her times were improving with each elimination pass during this season finale. In disposing of Mark Thomas, 5.826/239.10 to 5.866/243.02, she turned in her best run of the weekend. Cannister was quicker over the first 60 feet, leading the rest of the way. Cannister took care of Monty Todd, 5.868/238.30 to 6.060/232.59. Todd also won the holeshot, .450 seconds to .493, but it wasn't enough to hold off Cannister's top-end charge.

Cannister had to overcome mechanical problems during qualifying. Her first run on Friday was a credible 5.925/237.17 for the fifth quickest lap, but she kicked the rods through the block. She made it back for the second run, putting up a 5.947.

On Saturday, she opted to sit out the first session to conserve parts. On her last attempt, she launched the wheels up, but lifted midway into the run, coasting to a stop. Cannister, however, held on to her fifth qualifying spot for the eliminations.

Cannister will have the next four months to formulate a plan to reach victory lane when the 2002 season rolls around, and at the same time, she faces the task for finding a sponsor to help in the quest for the Funny Car championship.

For the latest on Cannister and the rest of the IHRA standouts, log onto the Internet's largest drag-racing e-zine at www.competitionplus.com.

-HC/cp-

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Mark Thomas , Dale Brand