Budds Creek, MD - Cleveland, Ohio's Angelo Alesci, who sat out the 1999 Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock season, proved that the long layoff hadn't diminished his ability to wring some impressive performance out of his '98 Monte Carlo. Alesci, the...
Budds Creek, MD - Cleveland, Ohio's Angelo Alesci, who sat out the 1999 Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock season, proved that the long layoff hadn't diminished his ability to wring some impressive performance out of his '98 Monte Carlo. Alesci, the first IHRA Pro Stock competitor to break the 6.60 barrier, was "picking them up and laying them down" all weekend as he advanced to the final round at the President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway.
And he picked the toughest race of the year to make his big move, as new world records were set in both elapsed time and mile per hour on this cool September weekend. But Angelo and crew chief Butch Peterson, who wrenched Chris Holbrook to the Pro Stock championship last season, were in the hunt all the way. Alesci's first shot at qualifying on Thursday yielded an effort of 6.762, which, while respectable, was soon overshadowed as the big numbers began to roll in.
Answering the challenge, however, Alesci powered his Monte Carlo to 13th spot in the field with a solid 6.696/208.17. He then turned away Dwayne Rice, Chris Holbrook and Ed Machacek to move into the final against Tom Lee's 2000 Mustang. Alesci and Peterson put everything they had into the final round tune-up as Lee had been driving a rocket all weekend. Unfortunately, Angelo yanked the front wheels high on the launch and crossed the centerline while Lee screamed down track to become the first Pro Stock driver into the 6.50's. Coming full circle, the first in the 60's went down fighting to the first in the 50's.
Alesci, the leader of the self proclaimed "Men in Black" team, had to be thrilled with the weekend's outcome, in spite of the bobble in the final. Since winning the Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown in 1998, Alesci only had three first round appearances to his credit in almost two seasons. It will be interesting to see how he comes out of the gate at the two remaining events this year, the Mopar World Finals in Shreveport, LA on October 12-14 and the rescheduled CARQUEST Autumn Nationals at Rockingham on November 4-5.