Gainesville: Bruce Litton - Saturday report

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-Four rounds of qualifying doesn't make for a season, but for Bruce Litton, it's certainly a good sign, considering what he went through just to make it to the NHRA's Mac Tools Gatornationals. Litton was ready to make an ...

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-Four rounds of qualifying doesn't make for a season, but for Bruce Litton, it's certainly a good sign, considering what he went through just to make it to the NHRA's Mac Tools Gatornationals. Litton was ready to make an assault on the 2001 IHRA top-fuel title that just eluded him when got a late-night call in mid-January telling him his Indianapolis race shop and museum had burned to the ground. In addition to losing all of his expensive equipment, the fire would cost Litton valuable track time while the Wax Filters team hurriedly built a new dragster. His plans to compete in the NHRA's West Coast season-opening events went up in flames with the shop fire. Litton has hardly missed a beat. He improved on each of his four passes down Gainesville Raceway's quarter-mile and finished yesterday's qualifying with an elapsed time of 4.764 seconds at 311.56 mph. By finishing the trials in 13th position, Litton's first challenge in today's final eliminations will be defending event champion Doug Kalitta. In the third round of trials yesterday afternoon, Litton showed improvement over what he produced during Friday's two passes with his run of 4.7991 seconds at 296.96 mph. Looking on the bright side, Litton has been pleased with the performance of the Wix Filters dragster. "Prior to the run today, we had yet to make a full run," Litton points out. "We are running our IHRA combination out here, and this is only our fourth run on this car. "I feel an extreme amount of good fortune to have progressed this quick, this fast after the devastating fire. Everything is starting to come together for us, and I'm pleased. We'll give it our best in the first round tomorrow against Doug Kalitta. I know that he is the defending event champion, so it will be no easy task." If Litton can keep doing what he's done the past two days, he'll be a threat to make the Mac Tools event his first NHRA title and will be a contender to win the Holley Springs Nationals when the IHRA pulls into Rockingham, N.C., from March 30-April 1.

-HC

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Litton , Doug Kalitta