Rockingham: Bruce Litton runner-up

ROCKINGHAM, N.C.-Bruce Litton has to be leaving the IHRA's season-opening Holley Spring Nationals last night with mixed emotions. The positives for Litton are the three strong elimination runs, and reaching the finals and that should help...

ROCKINGHAM, N.C.-Bruce Litton has to be leaving the IHRA's season-opening Holley Spring Nationals last night with mixed emotions. The positives for Litton are the three strong elimination runs, and reaching the finals and that should help erase some of the emotional destruction from the January 13 fire, which left his Indianapolis race shop and equipment a pile of ashes. The downside is the fact he lost the second straight Top Fuel season opener finale to Paul Romine, the defending division champ. A difference this time was that the 2000 opener was contested in Darlington, S.C. The loss was a little harder to take since Litton had found his way into the winner's circle in the first of two events last year over this demanding Rockingham Dragway.

When he looks at the big picture, Litton expresses no disappointment.

"When you consider where we were earlier in the year and where we are now, you'll see that we leave this race as winners," explained Litton, who unofficially left Rockingham with the points lead when Romine was fined for an oildown. "If you consider the obstacles that we had to overcome, you'll see how much God has blessed us." Romine covered the quarter-mile in an elapsed time of 4.758 seconds at 309.77 mph to the 4.785 seconds and 291.57 mph for Litton. While Romine was first off the starting line (.466 seconds to .490), Litton appeared to have a chance at the victory. He caught Romine at half-track, and his Wix Filters-sponsor dragster actually pulled ahead by .005 seconds. Suddenly the engine started to eat itself, the header flames were very green and getting shorter. The malfunction was all Romine needed to catch and pass the Indy-based driver to take the win light. Romine also would turn in the top speed of the weekend with this pass, and he needed every bit of it to nip Litton by .051 seconds or about 22 feet. Litton had another tough challenge in his semifinal. He had to go up against Clay Millican, who had established an IHRA record in his previous pass with a time of 4.621 seconds. Millican needed a 4.667 to back up his earlier run and may have been so focused on the record that he forgot about Litton. Litton then turned Millican into a spectator for the finals and in the process produced his best pass of the weekend at 4.723 seconds and 302.66 mph. Millican's dragster immediately lost traction, and Litton made a nice pass to reach the finish line first. Litton made easy work of Roger Dean in the first round, winning 4.853/266/32 to 5/374/228.50. In qualifying, Litton made an impressive start in his Wix dragster by qualifying for the second spot with a 4.845-second run during Saturday's final qualifying. His first run that day was a strong 4.823/296.37. In his lone pass on Friday, Litton covered the quarter-mile in 4.845/276.41. The latest happenings on Litton can be found at his website of www.brucelitton.com.

-Bill Bode

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine , Clay Millican , Bruce Litton