Atlanta: Mike Castellana Friday notes

COMMERCE, Ga.-Mike Castellana had chills of past failures go down his spine after his first qualifying pass at the 21st annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals. Castellana failed to qualify for the eliminations rounds during ...

COMMERCE, Ga.-Mike Castellana had chills of past failures go down his spine after his first qualifying pass at the 21st annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals.

Castellana failed to qualify for the eliminations rounds during last weekend's NHRA tour stop in Bristol, Tenn., and the weekend before at the IHRA event in Dinwiddie, Va.

The sinking feeling hit again when he shook the tires and lifted around the half-track mark at Atlanta Dragway yesterday afternoon as he covered the quarter-mile with an elapsed-time run of only 7.809 seconds and 121.10 mph. The session left him in 11th place, well off what will be needed to qualify among the top eight for tomorrow.

The Western Beef-sponsored Pro Mod Chevrolet went a lot smoother on the second try for the supermarket chain owner from Westbury, N.Y., muscling his way into seventh place with his run of 6.361 and 220.80.

After the DNQ last weekend, Team Castellana stuck around Thunder Valley to test, and the extra effort may be starting to payoff. The Long Islander's machine appeared to be on the right track for the Atlanta race.

It just took two runs to find out.

"Team Castellana is on a mission, and we are going to do whatever it takes to be on top," Castellana said earlier in the week. "We are too good of a team to be down like this."

Time, however, will tell. Castellana must prove himself two more times today to advance to the finals.

The tough luck that has plagued Castellana visited his teammate Shannon Jenkins yesterday. He broke and never got off the starting line in the first heat. The two-time Pro Mod champ stepped up in his next run at 6.566/217.38, but he's only 11th and needs to be a little quicker today to make it into tomorrow's runs.

For more information on Team Castellana, visit its website at www.awesome57.com.

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Series NHRA