NORWALK, Ohio - If you practice at something long enough, you'll find results after a lot of hours of learning. However, Grove City, Ohio's Dwayne Rice, a driver in the IHRA Sunoco Pro Stock division, didn't need much practice. He just needed time...
NORWALK, Ohio - If you practice at something long enough, you'll find results after a lot of hours of learning. However, Grove City, Ohio's Dwayne Rice, a driver in the IHRA Sunoco Pro Stock division, didn't need much practice. He just needed time to find what had been ailing his trusty Pontiac Firebird. After posting enough test laps that would make a common man's head spin, a quarter-final finish at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Nationals has the team convinced that they have found the right direction.
For Rice, this weekend felt good.
"Racing is supposed to be fun, and when we couldn't figure out what we needed to do, it wasn't too exciting for us," explained Rice. "We tried everything that we possibly could to get it sorted out and I think we are headed in the right direction. We will do well, but it's gonna get tough to match up against the newer body styles out there."
After the extensive testing to right the wrongs, the former Modified racer, who earns his keep as an excavator, entered Norwalk with redemption on his mind. He got off to a good start in the first session with a 6.745, 206.89. He retained a measure of consistency as he laid down a 6.746. Rice ended the first day as the 12th qualifier.
Rice was not impressed, as the testing had produced better results. He graduated into the Sunoco Pro Stock Showdown after Angelo Alesci was a no-show. Rice made the best of his opportunity and despite improving with a 6.741, failed to beat first round opponent Ron Miller. His final session continued the upward trend as he stepped up with a 6.706, 207.34. Rice was seeded the seventh quickest driver and was scheduled to meet Terry Leggett in the first round.
In his first round match against Leggett, Rice used a quicker reaction time in his favor to stretch out a 6.756, 206.07.
During the quarter-finals, the ladder paired him opposite Chevrolet heavy-hitter Tim Nabors. Rice was quicker on the tree, but his 6.763, 206.54 just wasn't enough to fend off Nabors and his 6.698, 205.44.