Budds Creek, MD - In a remarkable weekend of drag racing that saw the future of Mopar Performance Pro Modified competition clearly demonstrated, at least as far as the supercharged contingent are concerned, sophomore driver Alan Pittman...
Budds Creek, MD - In a remarkable weekend of drag racing that saw the future of Mopar Performance Pro Modified competition clearly demonstrated, at least as far as the supercharged contingent are concerned, sophomore driver Alan Pittman confidently held his own amidst all the hoopla at the10th Annual CARQUEST President's Cup Nationals. With fellow blower mavens Mike Janis and Fred Hahn running record-smashing marks of 6.112 and 231.20 respectively, Pittman continued to validate his own season-long effort with another solid showing.
Wheeling the '41 Willys of Ken and Sylvia Westbrook, the Pelzer, South Carolina car builder broke out of a provoking mid-season slump two races earlier, running a stout 6.246 at 227.04 at the Amalie Oil North American Nationals in Epping, NH to qualify third in the field. One race later, at the CARQUEST Autumn nationals at Rockingham Dragway, Pittman again drove the wicked Darren Mayer-tuned Willys into the third qualifying spot with a 6.248 at 216.79, and rode it to a semi-final match-up with Janis.
Now, at the second-to-last race of the year, contested at Maryland International Raceway, the streak continued. Pittman laid down a best qualifying pass of 6.275 at 226.92, and despite the unearthly high jinks of Janis and Hahn, settled comfortably into the number 6 position heading into raceday. His first challenger on Sunday was number 11 qualifier Steve Cossis of Astoria, New York. Cossis got off the line first, but Pittman uncorked his best run of the weekend, and easily outran his opponent's tire-shuddering '53 Corvette, 6.266/225.22 to 8.245/116.64.
Round two presented an even greater hurdle, as the next to take a shot at Pittman was one of Pro Mod's perennial tough guys, Shannon "the Iceman" Jenkins. Behind the wheel of the nitrous-aided Team Castellana '68 Camaro, the third place qualifier from Alabama had the potential to give Pittman a great race, and he didn't disappoint. Both drivers cut excellent lights, and neither gave an inch all the way through the top end, where Jenkins activated the win light just 0.003 seconds (approximately 12 inches) ahead of Pittman, 6.260/224.28 to 6.271/225.60. It was another great outing for the Westbrook team, and proof positive that all systems are now functioning without a glitch.
Heading into the season finale at Shreveport, Louisiana's Red River Raceway in mid October, Pittman, Mayer and the rest of the crew are happy to be back on track. "Its been quite a ride this year," the soft-spoken Pittman remarked. "We've just about seen it all. But you know what they say, anything that doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, and if that's true, then we're due to start wearing red capes and leaping over tall buildings pretty soon. Seriously, though, this team has proven that they can weather just about any storm and come back swinging. I'm really proud of everyone, and want to thank Ken and Sylvia for giving me this opportunity to live out one of my dreams."