Ironhorse Pro Modified 1949 Mercury Hoping To Challenge For IHRA Summer Nationals Pro Modified Crown CORDOVA, ILL. (June 29, 1998) This time last season, Leesburg, Virginia's Johnny Rocca was literally frustrated to the point of pulling his ...
Ironhorse Pro Modified 1949 Mercury Hoping To Challenge For IHRA Summer Nationals Pro Modified Crown
CORDOVA, ILL. (June 29, 1998) This time last season, Leesburg, Virginia's Johnny Rocca was literally frustrated to the point of pulling his hair out. The cagey veteran had a good reason to feel that way. The rules regarding the supercharged cars were pushing them harder to keep up with the field while offering no chance of being competitive. Rocca was convinced that the supercharged engines had hit a proverbial performance wall that would not allow them to scale it, dig under it or tear it down. He never qualified during the 1997 season as a result of this. In fact, only one supercharged entry made a program at one event for the whole tour.
This season poses a new set of rules which allows for a high-helix supercharger with a 34-percent overdrive. Indeed, this amendment has made a world of difference as Rocca's Ironhorse Mercury was qualified in the program at the Winter Nationals at the time of its bone-jarring crash. Rocca substituted his "Tin Indian" 1933 Willys for the recuperating Mercury at the Southern Nationals and qualified for the first time since 1996. He hopes that in bringing the radical 1949 Mercury back into competition at the Summer Nationals will afford him the opportunity to make the show with his fenderskirted creation. The Ironhorse has never taken part in IHRA final eliminations.
"I am anxious to return to battle with the Ironhorse," explained Rocca. "We have made some changes to the car since the crash that we hope will improve our performances. It feels real good to go to the races now and know that I have a chance to actually compete. Last season, we didn't feel that optimistic. It is going to be sweet qualifying Ironhorse in our first IHRA national event. I am convinced that Bradenton would have been our first, but with the crash...we have been forced to start anew in our quest"
Rocca along with a barrage of Pro Modified entries will be attempting to qualify for the Summer Nationals on Friday July 3 and Saturday, July 4. They will have 4 attempts to qualify as the sixteen quickest entries. Those sixteen will be a part of final eliminations on Sunday, which begin at noon.