LEICESTER, NY - Pit notes from Harley Communications at the IHRA CARQUEST Empire Nationals. Top Fuel Bruce Litton - Litton was very much on the conservative side on his first qualifying attempt. The Indianapolis, Ind.-based enclosed...
LEICESTER, NY - Pit notes from Harley Communications at the IHRA CARQUEST Empire Nationals.
Bruce Litton - Litton was very much on the conservative side on his first qualifying attempt. The Indianapolis, Ind.-based enclosed trailer dealer made it to the starting line as the final attempt of the session. Under threatening skies, Litton launched hard, but was forced to lift at the 1000-foot mark to avoid engine damage and the danger of drawing a fine for oiling the track. He coasted to a 5.812/159.20. He ended the day as the fifth quickest.
J.R. Todd - The 18-year old Top Fuel racing Freshman continued his bid to establish himself as a frontrunner in the category and outqualified the boss Bruce Litton with a run that he actually lifted early on. Todd launched hard and wrestled with the car, lifting at the 1,200-foot mark and slowing to a 5.211/242.84. He ended the day as the third quickest.
Pro Funny Car
Von Smith - Smith didn't get off to a good start. The car battled tire shake and drifted towards the centerline and eventually clipped a foam timing block. His run was disallowed for crossing the centerline and the defending World Champion from Oak Ridge, Tenn., remains unqualified.
Scott Weney - Darlington winner Weney established a good baseline on his first lap in Friday's qualifying. The Royersford, Pa.-based driver slipped into the seventh spot with a clean 6.074/232.97.
Pro Modified (This class has yet to be finalized. One entry was granted a re-run)
Troy Critchley/Johnny Rocca - Strapped with new regulations for his supercharged entry, Rocca instructed his driver Critchley to take no prisoners in their first qualifying attempt. The classic Mercury established the team as the quickest of the combination by hammering out a 6.497/201.74. This put the team in the 11th spot.
Shannon Jenkins - The defending World Champion wanted to make a good baseline run and secure a spot in the program after the first day. The Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based driver that answers to the nickname "The Iceman" covered quite a bit of real estate in his radical Dodge Viper, but stopped the clocks with a 6.460/219.35. He ended the day as the sixth quickest.
Tommy Mauney - Mauney made his long awaited debut with a supercharged combination. The longtime nitrous advocate established himself in the field with his blown 1941 Willys, which is owned by the Parsons Brothers. The longtime chassis builder hammered out a 6.551/210.32, good enough for the 15th spot.
Ed Hoover - Hoover held nothing back in the first round of qualifying. The pioneering Pro Modified racer from Gilbert, SC., pushed car owner Paul Trussell's Corvette to the quickest lap of the first session of qualifications with a 6.424/219.56.
Dale Brinsfield - Brinsfield continued his bid to advance to the top spot of qualifying. The veteran Pro Modified racer from Greensboro, NC., fell a bit short of his quest with a 6.467/217.23. He currently resides in the seventh position.
Mike Castellana - Castellana, a native New Yorker, was excited about the opportunity to perform in front of his native crowd. The Westbury, NY.-based driver got off to a good start by claiming the 13th spot with a 6.513/193.75.
Mike Ashley - Ashley didn't have too good of a day in Friday's qualifications. One of Pro Modified's first drivers, the West Babylon, NY.-based driver had his opponent in the first session roll in and light both bulbs before he lit his pre-stage. Once Ashley rolled into the pre-stage, it activated the auto-start. Just as Ashley was rolling forward, the light flashed red and disqualified him. Upon further review, the IHRA granted him a re-run, which will gave him three runs on Saturday.
Chris Holbrook - The defending World Champion continued to struggle to find the right combination for his Top Sportsman converted Mustang. He launched strong, but at mid-track, the car drifted out of the groove and he elected to lift. He coasted to a 10.980 for the 20th position.
John Montecalvo - Montecalvo is another native New Yorker that loves to perform in front of his fellow Empire staters. The Center Moriches, NT.-based pushed his machine to the top spot in Pro Stock with a 6.726/205.99.
Gene Wilson - Wilson was the quicker of the two Charlie Hunt machines in the Pro Stock division. The son of professional fisherman Orlando Wilson slipped into the fifth position with a 6.816/205.33.
Dwayne Rice - Rice established himself on the edge of the top-half of the program by claiming the eighth position. The former Modified racer that graduated into the Pro Stock division several seasons ago carded a 6.831/205.24.
Floyd Cheek - The former Pro Stock champion from Soddy Daisey, Tenn., fell one position short of making it into the top half of the field. Cheek, who pilots one of the two Ford Probes of Charlie Hunt, slipped into the ninth spot with a 6.846/204.91.
Laurie Cannister - Already excited by her finalist status in the Car Craft All-Star Awards among Alcohol Dragster drivers, the Nicorette/Nicoderm-sponsored Cannister found a good baseline with a 6.277/210.08. She currently ranks third in the eight-car field.