Rockingham Friday qualifying notes

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - Qualifying Pit Notes from the IHRA CARQUEST Autumn Nationals courtesy of in Rockingham, NC. TOP FUEL Bruce Litton - The veteran enclosed trailer dealership owner from Indianapolis, has always enjoyed good...

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - Qualifying Pit Notes from the IHRA CARQUEST Autumn Nationals courtesy of in Rockingham, NC.


Bruce Litton - The veteran enclosed trailer dealership owner from Indianapolis, has always enjoyed good fortunes at Rockingham. However, those good fortunes usually come at the spring race and not the fall outing. His opening lap of qualifications provided no reprieve as he smoked the tires and coasted to a 17.577, 71.52. Despite his first session shortcoming, he ranks seventh in the program.


Terry McMillen - The electrical engineer from Elkhart, Ind., got off on good start with the Amalie Oil-sponsored Mopar flopper. McMillen found his first session baseline o his liking as he jumped into the top half of the program with a 6.039, 211.76. His second attempt was a tremendous improvement as he blasted out a 5.938, 233.80. He concluded the first day as the second quickest.

Laurie Cannister - Cannister, the executive assistant from Clinton, Pa., didn't get off to a good start in her "Girl Power"-themed Camaro Funny Car. The defending Pro Outlaw champion staged deep and that hit her elapsed time as she only produced a 6.180, 231.91. Her second lap didn't provide any relief as she shook the tires and slowed to a 16.271. She resides in the 14th spot in the 16-car field.

John Vouros - The Vouros came out with both barrels blazing, but the end result didn't match the objective. Vouros launched and nailed the tires, pedaled and then called it quits, coasting to a 15.084. His second attempt was a throwaway as he coasted to a 12.632 after violently striking the tires. He ranks 18th headed into the final day of qualifying.


Paul Athey/Johnny Rocca - The Leesburg, Va.-based Ironhorse, a supercharged 1951 Mercury sporting the livery of Mohegan Sun Casinos, came out on the first run with a vicious roar. Driver Paul Athey wheeled the classic machine to a respectable 6.494, 200.62 baseline. The upward progression continued as he laid down a 6.396, 211.86. Headed into the final day of qualifying, Athey ranks 17th.

Alan Pittman - Pittman has good memories of Rockingham Dragway. The Pelzer, SC-based driver for Ken and Sylvia Westbrook's 1941 Willys won the first race of the season here. He came out with a reasonably aggressive tune-up and laid down a 6.391, 216.24. The second session provided a slight improvement with a 6.371, 218.12, still off of his usual torrid pace. He resides in the 14th spot.

Ed Hoover - Hoover's residence is located reasonably close to Rockingham. He's won at his local track in Darlington, SC., but never in IHRA competition at Rockingham. The driver of Paul Trussell's 1963 Corvette got odd to a good start by establishing a stout lap with a 6.326, 220.84. He stepped up in a big way in the evening session with a 6.297, 218.02. Hoover ranks as the fourth quickest in the field.

Chip King - King lives in Semora, NC., which makes Rockingham his home track. He didn't get off to a good start as he spit out the blower belt during the course of the run and slowed to a 7.447, 131.97. The Hemi driver stepped up in a big way as he laid down a 6.322, 220.01. The former mountain motor Pro Stock racer is ranked sixth.

Team Castellana - Headed into the first qualifying session Jenkins was confident that his nitrous-injected Camaro was going to make a stout run right off of the bat. Castellana wanted to find a comfort zone. Jenkins lived up to his reputation with a 6.325, 219.61 blast. Castellana, of Westbury, NY., chattered the tires and coasted through the lights. Neither driver improved in their final attempt and currently Jenkins is in the seventh spot while Castellana remains unqualified.


John Montecalvo - Montecalvo was still smiling proudly after reaching the finals at the last event in Epping, NH. The Center Moriches, NY.-based, Citgo-sponsored driver found a good starting spot with a 6.684, 205.54. He retained consistency into the final session as he stepped up with a 6.680, 205.07. He's currently in the seventh position in the program.

Tom Lee - The last time Lee was in Rockingham, he produced the quickest IHRA Pro Stock run in the history of the class. The Kingsport, Tenn.-based driver had no such luck on his first qualifying run as he nailed the tires and skated around producing a slowing 20.907. Lee righted the wrongs and rebounded with a 6.694, 206.73. He blasted up to the tenth spot in the show.

Dwayne Rice - Rice was named the third driver on the Moser Engineering Pro Stock team. Rice, the 31-year old excavator from Grove City, Ohio, had traded in his trusty Firebird for the team's new Pontiac Grand-am. In his first run in the new car, Rice launched hard, but lifted early, coasting to an 8.965. His final attempt never came to fruition as staging problems disqualified his second attempt. He remains unqualified.

Gene Wilson - Wilson's bid for a first world championship gets closer and closer to becoming reality. The 27-year old, points leader from Canton, Ga., ascended to the top spot in his first lap with a 6.624, 208.49. If the Pro Stock contingent thought he was in conservative form, they were greatly mistaken. Wilson returned for the evening session with a 6.580, 209.14. He holds down the top spot headed into Saturday.



The current qualifiers for the LIZZARD RACING Top Sportsman Quick Eight are as follows:

1. Tim Decoff               6.784, 200.56
2. Scot Johnson             6.857, 198.20
3. Jerry Albert             7.030, 197.22
4. Doug Mills               7.046, 199.79
5. Bob Mandell              7.062, 189.82
6. Steve Splawn             7.127, 185.61
7. Sandy Wilkins            7.142, 186.85
8. Joe Buckley              7.167, 195.85


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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Johnny Rocca , Bruce Litton , Alan Pittman , Paul Athey , Chip King , Gene Wilson , John Vouros , Dwayne Rice , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Doug Mills , Terry McMillen