Billes Crashes Again During Saturday Qualifying Session Second accident in three weeks sends Torco Pro Mod driver to hospital Milan, Mich. - Summit Racing Equipment driver Al Billes (Barrie, Ont.) ran the fastest Torco Pro Mod pass in Milan ...
Billes Crashes Again During Saturday Qualifying Session
Second accident in three weeks sends Torco Pro Mod driver to hospital
Milan, Mich. - Summit Racing Equipment driver Al Billes (Barrie, Ont.) ran the fastest Torco Pro Mod pass in Milan Dragway history in his Saturday morning qualifying pass at the Dukes of Hazzard Motor City Nationals. Unfortunately, for Billes and team owner Jim Oddy, his parachutes picked the wrong time to malfunction.
When Billes finished his 231.08 mph pass his chutes failed to deploy. One fell and wrapped around the wheelie bar, causing Billes to have to stand on the brakes to attempt to stop the Summit '05 Stratus. As he approached the sand pit he attempted to turn off, but his front wheel caught the pit and sent the car into a series of barrel-rolls, four in all, through the sand trap and into the retaining fence.
Billes exited the car under his own power and was transported to the local hospital as a precautionary measure. Three weeks ago at a match race against Mike Janis at Lancaster Dragway, N.Y., Billes wrecked his car and suffered a concussion. No further information was available about Billes' condition Saturday evening.
Three rain delays lengthened the race day at Milan Dragway Saturday, but all pro qualifying sessions were completed. Clay Millican (Drummonds, Tenn.) headed up the final Top Fuel Dragster qualifying list as his afternoon 4.647/317.49 pass gave him his third pole of the season.
Bobby Lagana, Jr. (Scarsdale, N.Y.) used the afternoon session to fight his way into the field as his 4.810/315.19 pass put him safely in the middle of the field. Lagana ended up in the #6 qualifying position. He will face Doug Foley (Sewell, N.J.) in the first round Sunday.
"I cannot wait to make a charge tomorrow to win this race," Lagana said. "So many people help us and I have so many family and friends rooting for me. My dad isn't here and I wish he was but he couldn't make it. I also really want to thank Evan Knoll at TORCO Race Fuels for helping us out.it really makes a difference when a great company like TORCO shows faith in you."
In Torco Pro Stock Robert Patrick (Fredericksburg, Va.) and Steve Spiess (Manhattan, Ill.) posted identical 6.472 passes in the Saturday evening qualifying round, but by virtue of a track record 215.72 mph it was Spiess claiming the #1 qualifying spot. In fact, Spiess owns both ends of the track record, breaking both marks for the second time in 24 hours. His #1 qualifying post is the second of his career.both coming this season. He also was atop the qualifying list at the ACDelco Nationals in Virginia.
Spiess will face Jerry Haas (Fenton, Mo.) in the first round of eliminations Sunday while Patrick will square off with Chuck Demory (Glen Ellyn, Ill.).
Daniel Seamon (Bellevue, Ohio) used the final qualifying session to his fullest advantage, jumping from the #18 spot to a place in the field as he put a 6.58 on the board to claim the #10 spot. He will face Doug Kirk (Lenoir, W.Va.) in the first round of eliminations Sunday.
Rob Atchison (London, Ont.) continued his IHRA Funny Car dominance by claiming the #1 qualifying post for the sixth time in six Hooters IHRA Racing series national events this season. Atchison's 5.799/241.15 put him on the poll where he is set to face Terry McMillen (Elkhart, Ind.) in the first round of eliminations Sunday. Atchison's run put him in front of the field by almost .5 of a second over Jim Sickles (Caldonia, N.Y.), who recorded a 5.840/241.67.
Harold Martin (West Bloomfield, Mich.) saved his best for last Saturday night when he went from the #7 qualifying spot to the pole with a 6.197/212.53 pass. Martin, who claimed his first pole of the '05 season, will face Keith Baker (Dothan, Ala.) in the first round tomorrow. The top of the field was crowded with quality times as Mike Castellana (6.198), Carl Spiering (6.209), John Russo (6.219), Shannon Jenkins (6.222) and Jim Halsey (6.225) were all within a whisker of the top qualifying spot.