Crandall: Series Saturday qualifying summary

Goforth tops Pro Stock charts for first time in career Boychuk, Hoover remain on top in Top Fuel, Pro Modified CRANDALL, Texas -- If Friday night was all about firsts, than Saturday night it was time to get down to business. With several ...

Goforth tops Pro Stock charts for first time in career
Boychuk, Hoover remain on top in Top Fuel, Pro Modified

CRANDALL, Texas -- If Friday night was all about firsts, than Saturday night it was time to get down to business.

With several solid laps and plenty of rubber on the track, Dallas Raceway started to develop some bite after two days of competition and the numbers continued to drop as Tim Boychuk (Top Fuel), Ed Hoover (Pro Modified) and Cary Goforth (Elite Motorsports Pro Stock) all topped their respective classes during SafeAuto Night of Fire qualifying Saturday night in Crandall.

And nobody found Saturday night sweeter than Cary Goforth.

Goforth (Holdenville, Okla.) went into Saturday's final qualifying rounds with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after a dreadful Friday, but turned things around in a big way when it mattered most.

Despite holding down the provisional top spot after two rounds of competition on Friday, Goforth was nipped at the line by competitor Frank Gugliotta (Mt. Airy, Md.) who not only grabbed the second qualifying spot, but also claimed Friday's Last Man Standing award taking valuable bonus points away from Goforth and his crew.

Saturday night, Goforth got his revenge.

With an absolutely tremendous lap Goforth topped qualifying in Elite Motorsports Pro Stock competition and also claimed Saturday's Last Man Standing award heading into Sunday's eliminations with a time of 6.398 at 219.29 miles per hour.

Saturday also marked Goforth's first No. 1 qualifying spot.

"First time ever. For the first couple years we were just trying to get in then we were lucky to get in the top half of the field and now we are No. 1 which is pretty awesome," Goforth said. "We aren't doing anything different. I just think we have a good package.

"We also have a great crew that is in the zone right now. And when I say they are in the zone, I mean they are in the zone. Chris Bell is making great calls. Everything seems to be going right for us right now. I don't know when it is going to end, but I am going to ride this wave as far as I can."

Even more rewarding, Goforth defeated Gugliotta Saturday night to claim the five bonus points awarded to the winning car with the lowest E.T. of the night.

"I had to get that back from Frankie. He is pretty tough and he has been harassing me all weekend. I think he is trying to get under my skin a bit, but Frank is a good guy and it was two good clean races," Goforth said. "I wanted that one bad. I am the one that lost that deal (Friday) so getting that back tonight and getting my points back that is what it is all about."

Goforth's lap of 6.366 at 218.72 miles per hour put down Friday night will start him from the Pro Stock "pole" as he tries to remain atop the Elite Motorsports Pro Stock standings after Sunday night.

Gugliotta remains in second with a pass of 6.374 at 220.12 mph, also put down Friday night, while Pete Berner (Crete, Ill.) is third on a lap of 6.399 at 218.80 mph.

Dean Goforth (6.399, 216.48) and Richard Freeman (6.424, 219.40) rounded out the top five heading into Sunday's eliminations.

"Now we gotta cut lights. We have to let the clutch out," Goforth said. "This is Pro Stock and everybody is so close and you saw what happened in the Last Man Standing tonight and last night. The top four cars are strong, we just have to keep doing our job."

Tim Boychuk's blazing hot lap of 4.811 at 296.96 mph put down Friday night held up even during Saturday's improved conditions and Boychuk will start from the Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying position Sunday afternoon, a place he hasn't been in some time.

"We are sure happy with that. We were hoping to get a little quicker on that one, we were hoping to get in the 7s and I think we would have been there, but just before the finish line we shredded the blower belt and knocked all the teeth out so it killed the car," Boychuk said. "But we are right where we want to be."

Boychuk held off a hard-charging Scott Weiss who will start second thanks to a solid lap of 4.817 at 296.24 mph and Bobby Lagana Jr. was third.

Lagana was also Saturday's Top Fuel Last Man Standing thanks to a pass of 4.835 at 289.01 miles per hour. Lagana claimed the five bonus points by producing the lowest winning elapsed time during Saturday's SafeAuto Night of Fire qualifying.

Terry McMillen, handling the Amalie Motor Oil Top Fuel dragster, is fourth (4.864, 279.21) and Bruce Litton is fifth (4.867, 300.20).

Boychuk ended Del Cox's No. 1 qualifying streak at two-straight as Cox found himself in sixth heading into Sunday.

In fact, many of the drivers who usually occupy spots in the top half of the field struggled during the first two days of competition including Cox, Litton and Texas native Mitch King who all held down spots in the bottom half of the field entering eliminations.

As for Boychuk, he is ready to return to his winning ways.

"With Jimbo tuning the car we are in pretty good shape. I will do the cutting the lights stuff and you guys make sure to get the tuneup in there and that is what they are doing," Boychuk said.

Nobody this weekend has been more consistent than Ed Hoover.

Hoover (Gilbert, S.C.), a long-time IHRA veteran, found himself at the top of the Pro Modified charts Friday night after two solid qualifying rounds and backed that up with two more quick runs on Saturday to take the top spot in Pro Mod qualifying and claim Saturday's Last Man Standing award.

"We got the Last Man Standing both nights and we are pretty happy with that," Hoover said. "It is running good right now and we can't wait to see what it will do tomorrow."

Hoover ran a 6.226 at 227.08 mph on Saturday to claim the Last Man Standing bonus points, but his red-hot 6.040 second time at 236.30 miles per hour put down Friday night puts him at the top of the Pro Mod qualifying charts heading into Sunday, just ahead of Chris Russo (Cedar Grove, N.J.) who will start second on a lap of 6.169 at 233.72 mph.

While many drivers have struggled with the new track, Hoover has had little trouble finding his groove at the "Concrete Palace" and if he continues with the same consistency seen on the first two days of competition he should prove hard to beat Sunday afternoon.

That is, if he can overcome a completely new engine.

After discovering a broken piston following Saturday night's run, Hoover went to work late into the night putting in an entirely new engine and will have to start from scratch on Sunday if he hopes to walk away with an Ironman.

"It looks like some fatigue, some freak deal I have never had happen before. It doesn't show anything wrong with the tune-up, but it broke something in the engine and instead of taking it apart and exploring we are just going to put in a new bullet," Hoover said. "This engine is ready to go so we will work that in and hopefully continue where we left off tomorrow."

Just behind Hoover and Russo is Claremore, Okla. Native Dave Pierce who ran a 6.276 E.T. at 226.77 mph.

Harold Martin (6.305, 193.29) and Jason Stock (6.758, 166.99) round out the top five in Pro Mod qualifying heading into Sunday's eliminations.

And when Sunday rolls around, all eyes will be on Hoover and his new engine.

"Now we have to go to a new engine that is going to treat everything different so I wish we had somebody other than Kenny Lang in the first round," Hoover said. "We just have to do our job tonight and make sure we beat him tomorrow."

Also on hand this weekend are 17 of the world's fastest 1/8 Outlaw Pro Modifieds.

Heading up Outlaw Pro Mod qualifying was Frankie Taylor who ran a 3.874 E.T. at 195.87 miles per hour. Gaylen Smith is second (3.898, 187.83) and Ken Thomas (3.946, 189.39) is third entering tomorrow's eliminations.

Championship Sunday will get underway at 10 a.m. with sportsman eliminations followed by the first round of professional eliminations at 11 a.m. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Scott Weis , Frankie Taylor , Bobby Lagana Jr. , Ed Hoover , Mitch King , Harold Martin , Kenny Lang , Richard Freeman , Terry McMillen , Chris Bell