Epping: Mike Castellana race report

EPPING, N.H.-Help from another driver goes only so far as Mike Castellana discovered during the Amalie North American Nationals in Epping, NH., this past weekend. Castellana had pretty much given up hope of winning the pro modified...

EPPING, N.H.-Help from another driver goes only so far as Mike Castellana discovered during the Amalie North American Nationals in Epping, NH., this past weekend.

Castellana had pretty much given up hope of winning the pro modified championship this season and debuted a Tim Mcamis-built 1957 Western Beef Chevrolet two weeks ago in Norwalk, Ohio, in preparation for the 2001 IHRA season. Some of the same old problems came with the new car.

After failing to gain a place among the top 16 during five qualifying attempts and in danger of missing the final eliminations for the second straight race, the supermarket chain owner from Westbury, N.Y., turned to defending Pro Mod World Champion Shannon Jenkins for help in making his car travel straight down New England Dragway.

With a little chassis adjustment from Jenkins, Castellana stormed down the quarter-mile to an elapsed time of 6.367 seconds at 220.51 mph on Saturday night in his third and final chance to reach Sunday's eliminations.

The good news for Castellana was that he not only made the elimination-round, but he qualified a solid sixth, one of his better efforts during this trying season. The bad news, though, was that he had to face Jenkins in Sunday's first round. That turned out to be real bad news.

Despite beating Jenkins off the starting line with his holeshot of .463 seconds to .469, the handling problems returned for Castellana as his car got severely sideways on the launch and had to lift. Castellana completed the run in 10.729/83.11 to the swift 6.412/220.69 for Jenkins.

The qualifying nightmare for Castellana started on Friday. He launched hard but the car drifted right, forcing him to lift. He ended the trials in 21st and his luck didn't get any better on Saturday until he hooked up with Jenkins.

The help from Jenkins gives him hope for the next outing when the IHRA tour makes its second stop of the season in Rockingham, N.C., on Sept. 21-23 for the CARQUEST Autumn Nationals.

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Series Drag
Drivers Shannon Jenkins