BUDDS CREEK, Md.-There doesn't seem to be anyone capable of stopping Laurie Cannister's drive to the Pro Outlaw championship in only her second year on the IHRA tour. At least that's been the case since her first round loss at Norwalk. Although...
BUDDS CREEK, Md.-There doesn't seem to be anyone capable of stopping Laurie Cannister's drive to the Pro Outlaw championship in only her second year on the IHRA tour. At least that's been the case since her first round loss at Norwalk. Although many have conceded that the Pro Outlaw title is hers to lose, she is quick to point out that the title is very much up for grabs.
"This title is far from being over," explained Cannister. "Nothing is over until you wipe out all of the scenarios. I know Larry Snyder has taught Mick very well not to give up. I don't expect him to. That's why I'm digging in and preparing myself for a heck of a fight. I know it may not be ladylike to fight, but this is one fight I'm going to engage in." The 38-year-old SmithKline Beecham executive from Clinton, Pa., dominated her division again in equaling her Rookie of the Year total by winning for the fourth time Saturday during the ExpressAutoparts.com President Cup Nationals.
Cannister came into the weekend with a 48-point lead over Mick Snyder, and the victory puts her in position to possibly clinch her first season championship when the IHRA tour next visits Red River Raceway in Shreveport, La., on Oct. 12-14, for the Mopar Parts World Finals.
Cannister put an exclamation point to Saturday's performance by shattering her own world elapsed-time record with her pass of 6.035 seconds in the opening round of eliminations against Scott Ray, bettering the 6.038 she produced in the final round of the CARQUEST Northern Nationals in Stanton, Mich., on Aug. 6.
Her victory against Michael Barclay was just as impressive as the one against Ray. Cannister piloted her Nicorette/Nicoderm CQ Mopar Parts dragster down the Maryland International Raceway quarter-mile in 6.080 seconds at 219.36 mph to easily dispose of Barclay, who was timed in 6.350/220.40. He never had a chance as Cannister bolted off the starting line .440 seconds to his .481.
Her big matchup came in the semifinals against Snyder, who was hoping to nibble into Cannister's point lead. But Cannister showed she doesn't like to lose. She drove through a big wheelie to take the win light, as her run of 6.012/209.79 was good enough to beat Snyder's 6.125/225.00 by .032 seconds or about 11 feet.
Cannister stamped her mark on the weekend, starting with Thursday's qualifying. She carried the dragster wheels high in the air and stopped the clocks with a 6.130/208.05, resting atop the qualifying order. She was even more impressive on Friday, saving her best for last with her 6.060/222.18 to remain No. 1 qualifier.
Cannister will have two weeks to prepare for her ascent to the Pro Outlaw throne at the Mopar Parts World Finals. If she should falter, Cannister will have to wait until Nov. 5-6 for her coronation at the rain rescheduled CARQUEST Autumn Nationals in Rockingham, N.C.