Grand Bend: Friday qualifying summary

Hoover continues Pro Mod dominance Litton wins seventh Last Man Standing award of season; Montecalvo tops Pro Stock Cool weather created great racing conditions Friday night as more track records fell by the wayside in Pro Modified and Bruce...

Hoover continues Pro Mod dominance

Litton wins seventh Last Man Standing award of season; Montecalvo tops Pro Stock

Cool weather created great racing conditions Friday night as more track records fell by the wayside in Pro Modified and Bruce Litton (Top Fuel), Ed Hoover (Pro Modified), John Montecalvo (Pro Stock) and Jack Grainy (PMRA) held down the top spots in their respective divisions.

After resetting the track records in Edmonton last week Hoover (Gilbert, S.C.) repeated that feat Friday with a new track speed record at over 240 miles per hour to take the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot and Last Man Standing award in Pro Mod at the MOPAR Canadian Nationals Friday at the Grand Bend Motorplex in Grand Bend, Ontario.

Hoover ran a 6.021 elapsed time at 240.68 mph to take the top spot in Pro Modified just moments before Ray Commisso (Toronto, Ontario) took the ride of his life.

Commisso, running just moments after Hoover laid down the new track record in the same lane, took a hard left into the wall at the quarter mile mark before flipping onto its top and coming to a stop a few hundred feet from the finish line.

It was the second such incident on the night as PMRA driver Tony Piselli put it on its top at the quarter mile after completing his eighth mile pass.

Despite those two issues the Pro Mod drivers produced plenty of exciting racing headlined by Hoover's record setting lap.

"We missed it at the 60 foot mark really bad, but the motor is just so powerful it will still run a good E.T. like that," Hoover said. "Trussell Motorsports needed those five bonus points tonight and we need them again tomorrow night. We need to keep plugging away at this championship; we need it this year bad."

Just behind Hoover is Toronto native Gary Irving who ran a 6.071 E.T. at 230.37 miles per hour during the pristine evening conditions. Chris Russo is third with a 6.159 second lap at 236.06 mph.

"The track is super tight and my car drove to the left, but when the car gets a hold of the track that hard it will drive to the left so I knew we had a good track in front of us," Hoover said. "We will make a few adjustments for tomorrow. With this good cool air the engine really comes alive and if you don't babysit it you will get in trouble."

Ray Commisso held down the fourth spot until his incident, while Tony Pontieri (6.272, 229.31) was fifth.

There were no surprises in Top Fuel as once again Litton (Indianapolis, Ind.) took the Last Man Standing award and provisional No. 1 qualifying spot with a blazing 4.810 elapsed time at 261.88 miles per hour.

However there were a few issues after Littons run as his motor went south near the quarter mile mark. Now the team is left trying to move in a new motor overnight.

"Tonight is just one of those things that happens. Mike treats these motors like children so I hate to hurt one, but that is just the nature of the beast," Litton said. "We will just change the motor, but no matter how you look at it it is expensive. It just kind of puts a somber mood on things."

Despite the incident, Friday marked Litton's seventh Last Man Standing award in 10 tries.

"We have been fortunate and we try to be consistent and we try to race the track and it has worked well for us. We have been blessed," Litton said.

Litton knocked off Edmonton native Tim Boychuk who looked like he was going to easily take the top spot with a 4.865 second lap at 303.64 miles per hour, by far the fastest lap of the night. Mitch King is currently third with a lap of 5.057 seconds.

The rest of the top five featured two surprise qualifiers as journeyman Fred Farndon (5.358) qualified fourth and newbie Tim Cullinan (6.129) took fifth.

In Elite Motorsports Pro Stock a trio of drivers put down identical times of 6.370 seconds to create a three-way tie at the top of the charts.

Montecalvo, Frank Gugliotta and Richard Freeman all ran identical laps under the brisk evening conditions with Montecalvo getting the edge as he produced the fastest lap at a quick 219.29 miles per hour, just off of the track record held by Brian Gahm.

"You know, it is incredible. These Pro Stockers here, it is just a tough battle. Three identical times, we took the No. 1 spot by mile per hour and it is just unbelievable how close this racing is," Montecalvo said.

With that pass Montecalvo (Center Moriches, N.Y.) not only claimed the provisional No. 1 spot, but he also claimed a crucial five bonus points via winning Friday's Last Man Standing award.

"We really need this to be a breakout race for us. We are falling a little behind here; Frank is out in front of us and widening his margin. Really, this is it. This one and Martin we really have to do well," Montecalvo said.

Gugliotta (Mt. Airy, Md.) was just off Montecalvo's pace with a lap of 218.72 miles per hour and Freeman hit 217.28 miles per hour to set the provisional top three heading into the final day of qualifying.

Pete Berner (6.373, 215.34) was fourth and John Konigshofer (6.393, 218.09), representing Canada, was fifth.

As an added bonus to the racing this weekend in Grand Bend the highly popular Pro Modified Racing Association was on hand for two rounds of qualifying on the eighth mile Friday night.

While a slew of Ontario natives made up the top eight, it was actually New York native Jack Grainy holding down the top spot after two rounds with a 4.094 elapsed time at 178.76 miles per hour.

PMRA points leader Bruce Boland (Stoney Creek, Ontario) was second with a lap of 4.156 seconds at 176.67 miles per hour. Jeff Roth (4.161), Jason Kalso (4.175) and Tony Piselli (4.245) rounded out the top five in PMRA competition.

-credit: ihra

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About this article
Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Mitch King , Richard Freeman , Tim Cullinan , Frank Gugliotta