Lang on verge of new Pro Mod world record; Litton and Berner tops in Top Fuel, Pro Stock It is not often that a track is so good that drivers can't handle it, but that was just the case Friday night. Perfect conditions wreaked havoc on a ...
Lang on verge of new Pro Mod world record; Litton and Berner tops in Top Fuel, Pro Stock
It is not often that a track is so good that drivers can't handle it, but that was just the case Friday night.
Perfect conditions wreaked havoc on a majority of the competitors on the opening day of the IHRA President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway, but for the few who were able to figure it out Friday made for some of the most exciting passes of the year.
Highlighting Friday's opening round was Kenny Lang's world record pass of 5.884 seconds to place him on top of the Pro Modified charts, while Bruce Litton (Top Fuel) and Pete Berner (Pro Stock) also figured out the conditions and rocketed to the top of the charts in their respective divisions.
And Litton saved the best for last on Friday with a chart topping 4.697 second lap at 311.70 miles per hour to take the provisional top spot and Last Man Standing award in Top Fuel.
"The track is really good. I don't know what it was, some of the cars weren't going down and others were having really good laps and we made a nice pass and were blessed with a solid run," Litton said.
With the bonus points awarded for being the fastest winner Friday night Litton was able to make up some ground in the Top Fuel title chase as he now trails Del Cox Jr. by less than 19 points.
"This was all Richard and Mike. They do an awesome job and they have great wisdom on what the car will and will not do," Litton said. "It is all their call, I have nothing to do with that and with them calling the shots I feel pretty comfortable. I just have to thank Lucas for giving us this opportunity."
Behind Litton was a new name to the Top Fuel charts in Dom Lagana. The younger brother of Bobby Lagana, Dom put down one of his best laps of his career with a 4.795, 295.85 pass to take the second spot.
Brother Bobby was just behind in third on a 4.829, followed closely by Todd Patton (4.845, 297.68) and Mitch King (5.580, 237.42).
After a slow start in the Pro Modified class that saw many of its own struggle to hook up with the track and the near perfect conditions, the second half of the session featured back-to-back world record times that could officially find their way into the record books if it is backed up during the weekend.
Moments after Tony Pontieri laid down a 5.929 second lap, overtaking his own world record set earlier this year, he was bumped from the top by reigning world champion Kenny Lang thanks to a new world record pace of 5.884 seconds at 243.55 miles per hour.
"It felt like a decent lap, but it didn't feel like an 88 run. We backed it off a little bit in the staging lanes because a lot of people were struggling to get down the track so we went a little on the conservative side," Lang said. "We still went after it a little bit, but we didn't give it all the car has in it."
The tremendous run not only placed Lang at the top of the charts after one round, but it also gave him five more points over Ed Hoover in the championship hunt by being Friday's Last Man Standing.
If Lang can back up the run within one percent at some point during the weekend he will become the new elapsed time world record holder with the first ever run in the eights.
"It felt smooth and good. It wandered toward the center a little bit, but it ran smooth and just so decent that it just felt like a good solid lap, but nothing like the numbers we put up," Lang said. "This couldn't have happened without the Al Billes horsepower. To go out and start to set a world record, to put up numbers like that is fairly impressive."
Pontieri is just behind Lang with a still solid 5.929 second lap. Ike Maier, continuing his tremendous season, qualified third with a 6.239 second lap at 231.79 miles per hour.
Harold Martin (6.321, 204.66) and Andy Jensen (6.324, 154.92) rounded out the top five.
Jensen looked as if he would throw his hat into the world record hunt as well with a tremendous pass through the eighth mile, but problems at the top end forced Jensen to cut the run short in his turbocharged Camaro.
In Elite Motorsports Pro Stock John Montecalvo, who is just 19 points behind Frank Gugliotta in the championship hunt, made up five points on the leader in his quest for his first ever world championship by winning Friday's Last Man Standing award.
Montecalvo edged Gugliotta in the final Pro Stock pass of the evening running a 6.308 elapsed time at 222.11 miles per hour to claim the bonus points associated with being the fastest winning car of the evening.
"At this stage in the game every point counts. Qualifying, Last Man Standing -- everything matters," Montecalvo said. "Our goal coming in here was winning that thing tonight. We met our goal and now we just have to keep the pressure on Frank and keep going rounds and see where it all lands at the end of the season.
Despite the great run by Montecalvo it was Pete Berner who actually took the provisional pole position Friday with a chart topping 6.306, 222.00 lap, edging Montecalvo at the top of the charts.
Behind Berner and Montecalvo is Cary Goforth who ran a 6.309, 221.05 to qualify third after one round of competition. Mark Martino (6.358, 208.78), the No. 1 qualifier at the last IHRA national event, is fourth on the charts and point leader Gugliotta (6.394, 216.27) is fifth.
"The team is doing a phenomenal job. We have good horsepower and everything is clicking," Montecalvo said. "Here it is, two races to go, so we are going to do everything we can. It is time to pull out all the stops."
Along with wrapping up qualifying and setting the field, the drivers of the Elite Motorsports Pro Stock divisoin will also be competing in the Elite 8 Pro Stock Shootout on Saturday with the winner taking home their share of a $40,000 purse.
Gugliotta, Montecalvo, Berner, Goforth, Martino, Richard Freeman, J.R. Carr and Bob Bertsch will be placed on an eight-car ladder with the winner taking home $20,000.
Saturday's action is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. with sportsman qualifying followed by professional qualifying at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. before the highly popular "Night of Fire" which is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m.