</pre> NORWALK, OHIO- Laurie Cannister sat and wept in her car as she watched her first round opponent solo for a victory. The competitive Cannister was helpless as she witnessed the scenario play out through her teary eyes. When racing...
</pre> NORWALK, OHIO- Laurie Cannister sat and wept in her car as she watched her first round opponent solo for a victory. The competitive Cannister was helpless as she witnessed the scenario play out through her teary eyes. When racing means as much to someone as it does to Cannister, that kind of reaction comes natural. Actor Tom Hanks may have alluded that there's no crying in baseball, but he never mentioned drag racing. Cannister used her provisional weeping session at Norwalk.
For starters, it wound up as a tough weekend during the Mopar Parts World Nationals for the Pro Outlaw star and current points leader.
Cannister broke three starters, but the most costly mechanical failure came during Saturday's first round of eliminations. She was unable to fire up her Nicorette/Nicoderm CQ Mopar Parts dragster, was credited with no time and gave Dave Christensen a free pass into the second round.
"We couldn't have found a worst time for this to happen," Cannister says. "Of all the races to happen at, it had to take place here. I'm sorry that this has happened. I know it's part of racing, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept."
One of the things that made it hard for the 38-year-old SmithKline Beecham executive from Clinton, Pa., was the fact she was fresh off a dominating performance in the previous weekends rescheduled finals in Stanton. She was the No. 1 qualifier for the CARQUEST Northern Nationals and came back two weeks later to breeze to her second victory of the season.
In addition, Cannister came into this weekend with a 46-point lead and was hoping to expand her advantage over Mick Snyder, her closest challenger. The first two breakdowns this past weekend weren't as devastating. In fact, she had to bring smiles to the faces of herself and her sponsor during Thursday's first session, by hammering out an elapsed time run of 6.262 at 216.17 mph on Norwalk Raceway Park's quarter-mile. On Friday, Cannister stepped up quite a bit and just barely missed the top spot. Her run of 6.26/222.40 missed the top stop by .005 seconds, holding onto the No. 2 position in the qualifying order. Than came Saturday, and Cannister's hopes were quickly dashed. Cannister will have two weeks to sort out the starter problems before continuing her challenge for the pro outlaw points championships during the Parts Pro North American Nationals Sept. 8-10 at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.