Leicester Friday qualifying notes

LEICESTER, N.Y. - Qualifying Pit Notes from the IHRA CARQUEST Empire Nationals courtesy of CompetitionPlus.com in Leicester, N.Y. TOP FUEL Bruce Litton - The defending CARQUEST Empire Nationals champion proved that he's more than ready to ...

LEICESTER, N.Y. - Qualifying Pit Notes from the IHRA CARQUEST Empire Nationals courtesy of CompetitionPlus.com in Leicester, N.Y.

TOP FUEL

Bruce Litton - The defending CARQUEST Empire Nationals champion proved that he's more than ready to repeat. In his only qualifying attempt on Friday, the Wix Filters-sponsored, enclosed trailer dealer from Indianapolis, blistered the racing surface with a 4.703, 311.34. He concluded the first day as the number one qualifier.

FUNNY CAR

Terry McMillan - The Elkhart, Ind.-based, electrical engineer debuted his latest sponsor, Valley Screen Imaging this weekend. McMillan, enjoying his best season of his career, opened qualifying with the fourth quickest time of the session, a 5.918, 235.64. His final attempt of the day provided something for the fans to watch as his Mopar Funny Car launched hard and the wheels went skyward necessitating a shut-off. He concluded as the fifth quickest.

Laurie Cannister - Cannister always enjoyed success when she ran the Pro Outlaw class when visiting Leicester. Hoping to capitalize on that tradition, the executive assistant from Clinton, Pa., opened qualifying with a baseline run of a 6.077, 226.85. Her second attempt proved to be a hit as she stormed to the third quickest lap with a 5.886, 239.10.

John Vouros - Since entering the Funny Car ranks late last year, Vouros has anxiously awaited for this event to take place. He opened qualifying with a very stout 5.898, 236.01 to leap into the third spot. He was forced to lift on his final effort and his qualifying position dropped to fourth.

PRO MODIFIED

Paul Athey/Johnny Rocca - Hoping to provide car owner Johnny Rocca with a final round showing for the second round in a row, driver Paul Athey entered Leicester with plenty of enthusiasm. During the first qualifying session, Athey nailed the tires hard and coasted to a 15.998. Knowing that he needed some worthwhile data to work off of on Saturday, the team back the car down enough to get a clean pass with a 6.595.

Mike Ashley - Ashley's revamped Pro Modified team entered Leicester with hopes of returning to the forefront of Pro Modified. The mortgage banker from Melville, NY., encountered solenoid problems which only engaged two systems on his nitrous system. He managed an impressive 6.51 on two systems, but the run was disallowed because he passed the scales. His final attempt of the day provided no reprieve as he shook the tires violently and aborted the run.

Alan Pittman - Pittman entered Leicester with every indication that he wanted his points lead back. The chassis builder from Pelzer, S.C., opened up with a 6.306, 225.15 that put him as the fifth quickest. He encountered a scary moment in his final attempt of the day when the car caught fire on the top end following a md-6.3 second run. He was uninjured and completed the day as the fifth quickest.

Ed Hoover - Hoover is determined to have a good outing at Leicester. The Columbia, SC.-based Pro Modified veteran admittedly missed the clutch on his first attempt and aborted the run. He made up for his first session shortcoming and rebounded with a 6.319, 223.28. Hoover ended the first day as the eighth qualifier.

Chip King - King always has the gremlins hit him at the most inopportune times. The Semora, NC.-based driver of the quickest Hemi in Pro Modified couldn't get his car to fire just before the first qualifying attempt. The team found the problem and returned in the second session to produce a baseline 6.627, 215.96. He is currently 25th in the program.

Team Castellana - The two-car team of Mike Castellana and Shannon Jenkins have made great strides in the last month. Jenkins gave the team an incredible boost of confidence when he jumped into the third spot with a 6.296, 224.02. Castellana also did well as he landed in the 15th spot with a 6.367, 216.69.

Steve Cossis - Cossis is hot off of his Darlington Quick Eight win in the CompetitionPlus.com-sponsored 1953 Corvette. Cossis nabbed a spot in preliminary qualifying as he blasted out a 6.351, 222.99 to claim the ninth spot. His failure to improve on the second session dropped him to the 12th spot.

PRO STOCK

John Montecalvo - Montecalvo has been determined to wrestle control of the Pro Stock supremacy away from the Ford camp. The Citgo-sponsored driver from Center Moriches, N.Y., opened with a 6.662, 208.33 to land in the third spot. He failed to improve on the earlier effort and dropped to the fifth spot.

Angelo Alesci - Montecalvo's partner in crime in the battle against the Fords, Alesci made a moderate showing on the first day of qualifying. He opened the day with a 6.707, 208.01 to land in the seventh spot. He failed to improve on his next attempt and ended the day as the ninth quickest.

Tom Lee - Lee's day came to an abrupt end. The Kingsport, Tenn.-based driver severely wounded the only powerplant that the Charlie Taylor team had on hand and they were forced to withdraw from competition. The team's spare motor was at engine builder Jon Kaase's shop for a routine refreshening. The team loaded up and headed for home later in the evening. This will be their first DNQ.

Dwayne Rice - The Grove City, Ohio-based excavator Rice continues to try and find the groove that led him to a semi-final finish at Rockingham earlier this season. He opened qualifying with a 6.710, 207.56 and that netted him the eighth position. Rice failed to improve on the evening session and ended in the 10th spot.

Gene Wilson - Wilson is guarding his points lead tighter than Fort Knox watches gold. The three-time champion in 2001 opened up qualifying on the top of the list. He produced a 6.636, 209.62 to lead the show early. He improved in the final session with a 6.614, 210.05 in Charlie Hunt's Mercury Cougar.

LIZZARD RACING ENGINES TOP SPORTSMAN QUICK EIGHT SHOOTOUT -

The current qualifiers for the LIZZARD RACING Top Sportsman Quick Eight are as follows: <pre>

1. Kasey Janzen 6.492, 212.86 2. Dave Thomasino 6.707, 207.72 3. Tim DeCoff 6.848, 200.32 4. Doug Mills 6.859, 205.13 5. Rick Sornberger 6.975, 199.32 6. Mike Ragusa 6.993, 201.70 7. Mike Guenther 6.995, 201.70 8. Brian Tiffe 7.024, 197.77

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Johnny Rocca , Bruce Litton , Alan Pittman , Paul Athey , Chip King , Gene Wilson , John Vouros , Dwayne Rice , Angelo Alesci , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Shannon Jenkins , Doug Mills , Mike Ashley