Mansfield Leads Record Pro Stock Field into Eliminations; Thomas, Janis and Millican Also Earn No. 1 Qualifying Honors BUDDS CREEK, Md. -- Rob Mansfield extended his string of Sunoco Pro Stock top qualifying efforts to three in a row during the...
Mansfield Leads Record Pro Stock Field into Eliminations; Thomas, Janis and Millican Also Earn No. 1 Qualifying Honors
BUDDS CREEK, Md. -- Rob Mansfield extended his string of Sunoco Pro Stock top qualifying efforts to three in a row during the final qualifying session for this weekend's 13th annual President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway. He was joined by No. 1 professional qualifiers Mark Thomas (Funny Car), Mike Janis (Pro Mod) and Clay Millican (Top Fuel).
Mansfield led the preliminary rounds all weekend long, capping off the final session on Saturday night with a stout pass of 6.465, 216.06. The outstanding air and track conditions at MIR led the Pro Stock contingent to smash the existing record for the quickest-ever field in IHRA history, with all 16 competitors seeded in the field at 6.539 or better. In fact, the first 12 cars on the list ran quicker than the old track record of 6.532-seconds. In addition, Steve Spiess rounded out the record-breaking weekend when he reset the world speed record at 216.24.
Mansfield was followed by John Montecalvo, who posted a mark of 6.465, 215.41 to leap into the No. 2 spot after being bumped out earlier in the session, and Robert Patrick, who claimed the third spot with a best pass of 6.491, 214.69.
In Funny Car, points leader Mark Thomas flexed his performance muscles during the first two days of action in Maryland, keeping defending champion Rob Atchison at arm's length as the two continue to battle for class supremacy this season.
Thomas, with tuning help from former Funny Car champion Jimmy Rector, set the standard in the class with a best pass of 5.870, 239.36. Just behind him was Jim Sickles at 5.891, 240.08 and Terry McMillen, who posted a mark of 5.903, 238.85 to nail down the No. 3 position. Atchison laid down a pass of 5.986, 240.08 to claim the No. 9 spot heading into the elimination rounds on Sunday.
The last session of qualifying for the Pro Modified cars was a highly entertaining affair, with provisional leader Mike Janis losing, and then regaining the top spot from Billy Harper. Heading into the last go-round, Janis held the No. 1 position with a best effort of 6.187, 229.94, but things would quickly change. Harper laid down an impressive lap of 6.158, 227.69 to claim the top position for the nitrous camp, but Janis was right behind him, and he reasserted dominance for the compressor gang with a blast of 6.150, 231.95. Rounding out the top three was defending class champ Mitch Stott, who earned the position on the strength of his best run of 6.192, 229.43.
In Top Fuel, Clay Millican was as impressive as ever, smashing the MIR track E.T and speed record handily when he piloted the Werner Enterprises fuel dragster to an electrifying lap of 4.616, 316.75. Just behind him Doug Foley maintained his steady pace, finishing up the first two days of preliminary action with a solid mark of 4.718, 314.90, which briefly stood as the new speed record until Millican's effort. Holding on to the No. 3 spot was Bobby Lagana, Jr., in with a mark of 4.732, 307.02.
One of the more interesting stories of the day was the effort of John "Doc" Sipple, who blew up most of his car's components on Friday night. Thanks to the help of a number of the other Top Fuel teams in the pits, however, he was back out for tonight's final shot and made it count, grabbing the No. 8 spot in the field with a good-looking run of 5.100, 240.38.