SHREVEPORT, La. - Pit notes courtesy of CompetitionPlus.com and Harley Communications at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Finals
Bruce Litton -After dropping to number three in the point standings after the Amalie Oil North American Nationals, Litton has made it no secret that it's a "do or die" situation if he plans to collect year-end top prize of $200,000. The Indianapolis-based trailer dealer qualified number two behind Clay Millican, the man who pushed him back to the number three spot. He ran a 4.832/272.12 to secure the second spot after the first day of qualifying.
J.R. Todd -The youngest fuel racer in current competition, J.R. Todd has his work cut out for him. He will play a key part of Bruce Litton's success or failure this weekend. His official title this weekend is "strategic points blocker" against Litton's competition. He didn't fare too well as he launched hard, but 100-feet into the lap, there was visible tire smoke that forced him to abort the run and coast to a 10.31.
Von Smith -Currently #2 in the championship point standings, Smith's chances for remaining in the hunt included qualifying well to have any chance of retaining the championship crown. He didn't fare well on his first qualifying attempt. Smith shook the tires off of the starting line and shut down around the 200-foot mark.
Scott Weney -As season-long points leader, you have a certain standard to maintain. Weney remained in upper echelon status as he pushed the Sheetz Racing Corvette to the second quickest lap of the first day with a 5.929/235.93. He's hoping for a solid performance that could possibly enable him to clinch his first career World Championship.
Johnny Rocca/Troy Critchley -The Rocca-owned team is enjoying the number two qualifying position, but Rocca knows they'll have to work to stay there. The defending champion of the Mopar Performance Pro Modified Shootout was looking for a good baseline before heading into tomorrow's lucrative race. Critchley wheeled the blown-entry to a 6.337/222.73.
Shannon Jenkins -Only one of the "Viper-boys" attempted to qualify today to no avail. After the burnout, Jenkins realized there was no nitrous getting to the engine and aborted the run.
Ed Hoover - Hoover was on a run when he felt a bump around the 300' mark. The Paul Trussell-owned entry moved around, slowing at 1000' and coasting across the finish line with 7.369 that still has him in the field.
Dale Brinsfield - A $30 part kept Brinsfield from leaving the starting line. A fuel solenoid malfunctioned starving the engine of fuel. Brinsfield will try again tomorrow.
Mike Castellana -He may be third in the field, but he will have to step up to stay there tomorrow. The N.Y.-based 1957 Chevy Bel-Air stuttered down the track to a 6.423/219.76; a number that typically would be in the second half of the field at an IHRA national event.
Steve Cossis -All of the nitrous cars fell victim to the left-lane today with none of the cars making it down that side of the track. Cossis was one of the victims, running an 8.579/111.51.
Al Billes -In a not-so-stellar performance, the Canadian got out of the groove, lost traction and was forced to lift. He coasted to a 10.296/92.06. Billes was a finalist in last year's event.
Tommy Mauney -After taking over the driving duties of the Roy Singleton entry Mauney has continued to "dial-in" the motor, improving each outing. Today was no different. Mauney ran a 6.310/223.62, good for the number two spot in his first trip down the quarter mile. However, in a blunder, the run was thrown out when the classic 1941 Willys turned up light at the scales. "We weighed before the session and were heavy, we took 19 pounds out and now we're 5 pounds light - you tell me what happened, it's their (IHRA) game."
Mike Ashley-He is on the property but did not appear in today's session. Reportedly, there was some damage done to the engine during the traditional warm up. Ashley is expected to make his allotted runs tomorrow.
Chris Holbrook--After losing his main financial support following the first event of the season, Holbrook appears to be heading back to his winning ways. Coming off his best performance this year at the Expressautoparts.com President's Cup Nationals, Holbrook continues to improve, running a 6.766 / 206.99 (#9 of 16) with two rounds to go.
John Montecalvo-Caught in a three-way points battle, Montecalvo pulled a new motor out of the box running a 6.714/208.30 with a brand new powerplant. The Center Moriches, NY.-based driver of the Citgo-sponsored Chevrolet is currently qualified #4.
Gene Wilson -The Canton, Ga.-native will have to wait until tomorrow to get into the sixteen-car field. The Ford Probe drifted toward the left retaining wall forcing him to lift off of the throttle.
Floyd Cheek -In his second race behind the wheel of the one-of-a-kind 2000 Mercury Cougar. Cheek qualified 13th with a 6.825/203.22. The veteran racer from Soddy Daisy, Tenn., is hoping to lay down his best laps on the innovative machine during this event.
Dwayne Rice-The former Modified Eliminator racer continues to prove he belongs in the professional ranks. After one of three qualifying attempts the Grove City, Ohio resident sits in the #8 spot with a 6.758/205.16. Rice is looking for a tremendous showing leading into tomorrow's Sunoco Pro Stock Showdown.
Angelo Alesci - Returning to Red River Raceway, site of Alesci's most profitable win--the 1998 Sunoco Showdown-worth $20,000. The Cleveland resident ran a 6.874 / 202.03 after the racecar skated around at the 1000-foot mark. He is qualified #15.
Laurie Cannister - The executive assistant for SmithKline Beecham ran true to her championship form in the opening qualifying round. Propelling the Spitzer dragster to a straight as an arrow and quick lap, Cannister reeled off a 6.097/220.51. The Nicorette/Nicoderm CQ-sponsored driver currently resides in the #2 spot.