Norwalk Final qualifying pit notes

NORWALK, OHIO - Friday pit notes from Harley Communications at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. Top Fuel Bruce Litton - Litton made his final qualifying attempt at the World Nationals in the cool of the evening and tried...

NORWALK, OHIO - Friday pit notes from Harley Communications at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

Top Fuel

Bruce Litton - Litton made his final qualifying attempt at the World Nationals in the cool of the evening and tried his best to snatch the number one qualifying position. The Wix Filters Top Fuel Dragster failed to improve on the 4.77 from Friday but still made a spectacular run. The car launched very hard and carried the front end in the air for several hundred feet before coming back to earth and charging to a 4.78/304. Litton said the wheel stand probably prevented him from taking the top spot. He'll face Wayne Bailey in the first round of eliminations on Saturday.

J.R. Todd - Todd used the final qualifying session Friday night to make the biggest improvement in the Top Fuel class. The 18-year-old Top Fuel rookie thundered to a great 4.87/271 to qualify for the fourth national event of his short career. The run earned the former Junior Dragster driver the No. 5 position for eliminations, where he will face Jim Bailey in the opening round.

Pro Funny Car

Von Smith - Smith moved up on the ladder and into the five-second zone with a stout 5.94/235 to qualify his Atomic City Tools Funny Car in the No. 5 positiion. Smith will try to make it two national event wins in a row following his victory at last weeks Northern Nationals. The three-time and defending IHRA Pro Funny Car World Champion will face Larry Dobbs in the opening round of racing on Saturday.

Scott Weney - Weney improved on every run during qualifying but remained in the No. 2 position following Friday evening's last session. The IHRA Pro Funny Car points leader improved to a 5.92/237 in his Corvette bodied flopper, and will face the Corvette driven by Paul Athey in round one of eliminations Saturday afternoon.

Pro Modified

Troy Critchley/Johnny Rocca - The Ironhorse failed to make the show for the second straight race after qualifying 17th for one of the quickest fields in Pro Mod history. Driver Troy Critchley made a game effort with a 6.464/217.04, but could not put car owner Johnny Rocca's 1949 Mercury into the program. Critchley missed the cut by a mere 3-thousandth's of second and joined 16 other Pro Mod drivers that earned a DNQ.

Shannon Jenkins - Jenkins improved to a 6.402/219.54 during the final qualifying session Friday evening, but dropped one notch to the No. 7 position on the ladder. The defending IHRA Pro Modified champion will have lane choice going into eliminations where he will face Billy Harper. Both drivers qualified with the only Dodge Vipers to make the show which will make for a great opening round match-up at the Mopar-sponsored event.

Ed Hoover - Hoover improved on every run during qualifying and jumped from seventh to third with a great 6.362/221.23 during the final session. The defending event champion will face Tommy Mauney in round one on Saturday, and the South Carolina driver will enjoy lane choice in his '63 Corvette.

Dale Brinsfield - Brinsfield failed to make the tough field at Norwalk Raceway Park, ending up qualified 22nd out of the 32 cars that attempted to qualify. Brinsfield's final run in his '67 Camaro earned him a 6.63/211, which failed to make the super quick 16-car field.

Mike Castellana - Castellana's luck didn't improve on the final day of qualifying. The veteran supermarket chain owner from Westbury had plenty of horsepower and quite possibly may have had too much. He launched and 20-feet into the run encountered fierce tire shake and coasted through the trap. The third run ended a frustrating weekend that only left him with a 20.19 best and well out of qualifying contention.

Steve Cossis - The entry of Cossis continued in a positive direction that yielded a quicker run with each lap. The final qualifying attempt proved to be no different for "Mr. Psycossis". The Shannon Jenkins-tuned entry stormed to a 6.408/219.86, which put him in the ninth spot. He is scheduled to face Steve Vick in the first round of competition.

Al Billes - Billes was still smiling after an astounding 6.446/220.37 during Thursday's qualifying session. He only increased his happiness by stepping up with a 6.424/221.27 in his final attempt. The Canadian Pro Modified racer ended qualifying as the 11th quickest and will face the nitrous entry of Roy Wasko in the first round.

Tommy Mauney - Mauney finally pinpointed his problem in preliminary qualifying to be a magneto gone bad. The veteran chassis builder from Shelby, NC., apparently offered up the right diagnosis as he pushed Roy Singleton's Majesty Homes-sponsored 1941 Willys to a 6.436/216.06 to land in the 14th spot. He is scheduled to meet Ed Hoover in the first round of competition.

Tommy Gray - Gray made his return a memorable one as his crew returned to the line in their tradition ghoulish garb for the Night of Fire. The Baltimore, Md.-based funeral home operator failed to improve on his previous 6.461/216.48 from Thursday, but his run stood as a qualifier for final eliminations. He ended up in the 16th spot and will meet low qualifier Quain Stott in the first round of eliminations.

Pro Stock

Chris Holbrook - Holbrook continues to make the best out of any situation and his latest performance at Norwalk, deserves mention. The defending Pro Stock champion from Livonia, MI., piloted the Luckett and Bohanon Mustang to a 6.791/204.94, a good enough lap for the 16th position in the program. He will face low qualifier Jerry Yeoman in the first round of eliminations.

John Montecalvo - Crewchief Steven Cultrera accurately predicted what the Citgo-sponsored machine would run before it came to the line. The team leader and his hardworking crew delivered on their promise as Montecalvo pushed the Citgo-sponsored Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a 6.718/206.80, which landed him in the fourth spot. He will face the Ford Probe of Jason Collins in the first round of eliminations.

Gene Wilson - Wilson stepped up in a big way during the final session, as his 6.770/206.76 was just a precursor for his 6.720/207.94 that vaulted him into the top half of the field. The Canton, Ga.-based driver for Charlie Hunt ascended into the fifth position in the 16-car field. He will face John Konigshofer in the first round of eliminations.

Dwayne Rice - Rice led the Pontiac competitors until the final session, but he still emerged waving the banner even though he wasn't the quickest. The Ohioan was flying as he hammered out a 6.723/207.62 to claim the sixth spot. He will face Wally Stroupe in the first round of eliminations.

Floyd Cheek - Cheek's team had experimented some different combinations in the transmission of the Charlie Hunt Ford Probe. The two-time IHRA Pro Stock champion from Soddy Daisey, TN., received the improvement that his team had sought as he covered the quarter-mile with a 6.753/206.80. He ended qualifying as the ninth quickest qualifier and will face points leader Ron Miller.

Pro Outlaw

Laurie Cannister - Cannister wanted to put her Nicorette/Nicoderm CQ in the top spot really bad. She had previously been a 6.262/218.33 best. She stepped up quite a bit and just barely missed the top spot by .005 with a 6.126/222.40. She ended qualifying as the second quickest and is scheduled to face Dave Christensen in the first round of eliminations.

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Scott Weney , Johnny Rocca , Bruce Litton , Paul Athey , Quain Stott , Gene Wilson , Dwayne Rice , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Tommy Gray , Shannon Jenkins , Al Billes , Troy Critchley , Von Smith , J.R. Todd