Norwalk, OH - The way John Montecalvo qualified in Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock for this weekend's Mopar Parts World Nationals presented by Ethanol Performs pretty well defines the point at which the Long Island, NY paving contractor finds himself...
Norwalk, OH - The way John Montecalvo qualified in Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock for this weekend's Mopar Parts World Nationals presented by Ethanol Performs pretty well defines the point at which the Long Island, NY paving contractor finds himself in 2001.
Landing halfway up the list in the number 9 spot, the defending event champion theoretically out-ran half the qualified cars, and was out-run by the other half. But with the field spread between 6.642 and 6.752, his 6.710 at 206.01 was more than respectable. In fact, using the classic pessimist versus optimist argument as a comparison, his glass is either half full or half empty as far as the rest of the season is concerned, depending entirely on he and his team's determination and attitude.
On the way to his final qualifying position, Montecalvo took part in the annual Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock Showdown, a special program for the top eight in the season's points chase. The first round, which was the third qualifying session, saw him face one of the guys he'd like to take down a peg or two this year, Ford racer Tom Lee. It wasn't in the cards this time around, however, as his Citgo-sponsored red, white and blue Chevy Cavalier was beset by tire shake almost immediately, and John had to abandon the effort.
His fourth and final qualifying attempt offered no help as far as his final ranking was concerned, and he and number 8 qualifier Elijah Morton were the first pair to the line on Sunday morning. At the flash of amber, Morton's Ford Probe leapt off the line first, taking an 0.037-second advantage and heading down track with it. Montecalvo ran through quicker, 6.710 to 6.722, but the holeshot provided Morton with the 0.025-second margin of victory.
Montecalvo, in spite of the frustrations of trying to coax that little bit extra out of his new combination, leaves no doubts regarding his attitude, however, and how he's looking at the team's future course.
"We're not going to rest until we're able to run up there with the top guys at every race," he stated defiantly. "If we're good enough to qualify in or near the top half of the field, then we're good enough to go all the way to the number one spot. We know we have a good combination, and just because we haven't been able to wring the maximum out of it yet, nobody should start relaxing. Anybody who takes us lightly will be in for a rude awakening."