Edmonton: Series Saturday qualifying summary

More records set at Castrol Raceway McMillen shoots to top of Top Fuel charts; Hoover holds off Lang Despite a sudden downpour during the afternoon session and chilly temperatures throughout the day, the IHRA still saw record crowds ...

More records set at Castrol Raceway

McMillen shoots to top of Top Fuel charts; Hoover holds off Lang

Despite a sudden downpour during the afternoon session and chilly temperatures throughout the day, the IHRA still saw record crowds during the SMS Equipment Night of Fire at the River Cree Resort and Casino Rocky Mountain Nationals presented by Paradise RV Saturday night at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.

It was standing room only before the showers and more of the same once the rains subsided as fans in attendance stayed to see a collection of nearly ever form of drag racing on the planet earth.

Top qualifiers during Saturday's SMS Equipment Night of Fire were Terry McMillen (Top Fuel), Ed Hoover (Pro Modified), Roger Bateman (Alcohol Funny Car), Jason Arkinstall (Nitro Bikes), Gary Christopher (Pro Modified Bikes) and Eddy Plaizier (Pro Nostalgia).

McMillen (Elkhart, Ind.) used what ended up being the only Top Fuel round of the afternoon to shoot to the top of the charts with a 4.834 second time at 287.78 miles per hour.

McMillen and Terry Haddock were able to get in one round of Top Fuel qualifying moments before the rains started, giving McMillen the advantage as the only driver with three qualifying runs over the weekend.

"It was a great run under some pretty awesome conditions. I hated to see the second round of qualifying get rained out, but we were happy to be able to get in that run," McMillen said. "It was great to see all these fans out despite the downpour, the Edmonton fans truly are some of the best in the world."

Despite the great lap by McMillen it was Bruce Litton who grabbed the five bonus points for being Saturday's Last Man Standing, running a 4.844 elapsed time at 302.41 miles per hour. Litton claimed the honor by being the fastest winning car during the SMS Equipment Night of Fire qualifying session.

With that lap Litton dropped in behind McMillen in second while Edmonton's own Tim Boychuk placed himself third with a 4.898 E.T. at 299.46 miles per hour heading into Sunday's eliminations.

Mitch King (5.044) and Del Cox (5.448) rounded out the top five in Top Fuel.

"I think we are in pretty good shape going into tomorrow. It won't be easy, IHRA Top Fuel always has tough competition, but we are ready to get back at it in the morning," McMillen added.

In Pro Modified Lang (Grande Pointe, Manitoba) got his revenge on Ed Hoover (Gilbert, S.C.) in the battle of the United States versus Canada as the two drivers who have went at it all season long continued their grudge match Saturday night.

Hoover got the edge on Lang Friday night, garnering the five bonus points associated with claiming the Last Man Standing award, but Lang responded on Saturday with a 6.060 elapsed time at 235.93 miles per hour to steal the five points back and claim Saturday's Last Man Standing Award.

While Lang had the top time Saturday night, Hoover remained on top as the No. 1 qualifier heading into eliminations. Hoover ran a 6.026 E.T. at 237.55 miles per hour on Friday to remain on top of the charts.

"Usually after a rain like that the track gets super good so I stepped al over the motor and my clutch just to see if we could go a five here and that is just a chance you have to take," Hoover said. "You plan on the track cooling off and it did, but what happened was that enough cars didn't go down the track before the fast cars got out there.

"I got in trouble when I put it in second gear, I pedaled it and then I quit it. We will now just go back with what worked in the daytime and go with that tomorrow."

Lang wedged himself just behind Hoover in second, followed closely by a trio of Alberta natives in Rick Distefano (6.208), Joe Delehay (6.240) and Ross Hogenson (6.293).

When it was all said and done the two drivers on top of the points split their wins during qualifying, but it is Sunday where the win light really matters.

"I like racing him until race day when he kicks my butt," Hoover said with a laugh. "It was nice getting a few wins over him during qualifying, but it would be better if we could do it when it counts. Tomorrow we need to stay in that right lane because that is my lane of choice. The car is set up for that lane so I need to go very fast every round to keep that choice."

Alcohol Funny Car continued to put on a show Saturday night with several close side-by-side runs and a pair of new track records set by Alberta's own Roger Bateman.

Bateman (Calgary, Alberta) reset both track records at Castrol Raceway with a blazing 5.615 elapsed time at 254.23 miles per hour to take the top qualifying spot heading into Sunday's eliminations.

Ken Webster (Red Deer, Alberta) was just behind Bateman in second with a 6.675 E.T. at 253.56 miles per hour and three-time IHRA world champion Rob Atchison (5.767) was third. Scott McVey (5.775) and John Evanchuk (5.791) rounded out the top five in a field that came one spot shy of an all five-second field.

In the two wheel category it was Arkinstall in Nitro Bikes and Christopher (Hope, British Columbia) in Pro Mod bike topping the motorcycle charts.

Arkinstall (Surrey, British Columbia) ran a 6.599 elapsed time at 218.90 miles per hour on his nitro-powered 2003 Weekend to top the Nitro Bike category while Ken Kent (Edmonton, Alberta) qualified second with a 6.625 E.T. at 210.93 mph.

Damian Cownden (6.664) who had the top spot going into the day dropped to third while Andy Beauchemin (6.723) and John Breckenridge (6.756) round out the top five going into Sunday.

Christopher ran a 7.153 elapsed time at 190.67 miles per hour to top the qualifying charts in Pro Modified. Gord Smith (Kelowna, British Columbia) was just behind him in second with a 7.243 E.T. at 189.63 mph.

Rich Podszus (7.473), Kevin Shupac (7.975) and Spencer Johnson (8.046) rounded out the top five in Pro Modified Bikes.

Half track burnouts and crazy bodies highlighted the Pro Nostalgia class as Eddy Plaizier claimed the top spot in qualifying heading into Sunday's eliminations.

Plaizier (Edmonton, Alberta) ran a 7.203 second elapsed time on a 7.20 index at 188.28 miles per hour to take the top spot while Jason Bussey (Edson, Alberta) was second with a 7.208 E.T. at 188.44 miles per hour.

Rod Elliott (7.223), Cal Tebb (7.230) and Ron Sekura (7.235) rounded out the top five.

Racing action will get back underway at 9 a.m. Sunday morning with pro eliminations getting underway at 11 a.m. Final eliminations are set to begin at 4 p.m. Sunday evening.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Ed Hoover , Mitch King , Terry Haddock