LEICESTER, NY - Sometimes the best way to wrestle a bull is to grab it by the horns. That's exactly the motto that veteran Pro Modified car owner Johnny Rocca was adhering to when he took his 1949 Mercury into the IHRA CARQUEST Empire...
LEICESTER, NY - Sometimes the best way to wrestle a bull is to grab it by the horns. That's exactly the motto that veteran Pro Modified car owner Johnny Rocca was adhering to when he took his 1949 Mercury into the IHRA CARQUEST Empire Nationals in Leicester, NY.
With IHRA's recent rule restrictions levied on the supercharged cars in Pro Mod to attempt to level the playing field, Rocca and his driver Troy Critchley have been struggling to find a competitive combination. Coming into the IHRA CARQUEST Nationals they were still unsure of their setup.
During the first qualifying session held on Friday Critchley laid down the best pass for a supercharged entry, a 6.497/201.74, placing him in the 11th qualifying position. For Critchley's second attempt the Rocca-tuned machine was able to pick it up quite a bit, running a 6.447 205.19 keeping him in the 11th spot. The third qualifying session was cancelled when rain set in.
For the first round of elimination's Critchley lined up against Steve Cossis and his '53 Corvette. Cossis red lighted giving Critchley the win, Critchley ran a 6.621 214.23 for the win. In the quarter-finals, Critchley was the benefactor of yet another red light. This time Fred Hahn at the helm of Jim Oddy's, Tom Anderson-tuned Summit-sponsored entry.
Critchley then took the ageless '49 Merc into the semis for a match against defending World Champ Shannon Jenkins. Critchley deep staged giving him the starting line advantage, which is what it took to defeat the reigning world champ. Jenkins out ran Critchley with a 6.474/219.88 to Critchley's slower 6.463/218.87 but still lost by .010 seconds, giving the "Iron Horse a birth in the finals.
In the finals, Critchley, who was the number one blown car at this event, took on the number one qualifying nitrous car of Quain Stott. Stott the number one qualifier took the win over Critchley when the "Iron Horse" stumbled, hurting the engine around the 1000 foot mark.
Critchley will be at the upcoming CARQUEST Northern NationalS at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex on Aug. 4-6.