GRAND BEND, ONT. - Mike Castellana was eagerly looking forward to the IHRA Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol in his drive to erase the memories of 1999 when he failed to qualify for more than half the Pro Modified races.
GRAND BEND, ONT. - Mike Castellana was eagerly looking forward to the IHRA Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol in his drive to erase the memories of 1999 when he failed to qualify for more than half the Pro Modified races. Sometimes haunting memories return and they did just that at the third stop on the 12-race IHRA Summit Drag Racing tour as he failed to make the 16-car field.
"We're chasing a problem that we just haven't figured out what it is yet," explained Castellana. "Drag Racing is one of those sports that if you have a problem, you keep hammering away at it and eventually you'll find. We'll just keep hammering away." Castellana started the season by transforming his pit area into a drag racing version of American Graffiti. More importantly, he leased an engine from defending pro modified world champion Shannon Jenkins. The Westbury,N.Y., resident seemed on the right track. The last time out he reached the quarterfinals at the Holley Spring Nationals in his Western Beef '57 Chevrolet. Castellana's comeback went south this past weekend during qualifying North of the Border. He couldn't keep his Chevy in a straight line during three qualifying runs.
During the first qualifying attempt on Friday, Castellana shook, skated around and then called it quits with a run of 10.602/77/19, leaving him 18th.
His best run was his last, but it wasn't good enough to make Sunday's final eliminations. Castellana had to shut off early during Saturday's first pass as his car veered to the center line, settling for a 10.505/72.06.
During Saturday's second and final qualifying pass, the car lurched toward the center-line, forcing the veteran Pro Modified racer to lift. He coasted across the finish line with a run of 8.500 seconds at 95.12 to qualify 22nd for the 16-car elimination bracket.