Rockingham Race Summary

ROCKINGHAM NC - SUMMIT FastNews - Bruce Litton earned his first Top Fuel win of the season at the Holley Spring Nationals presented by Castrol GTX at Rockingham Dragway Sunday. The second of eleven races comprising the Summit Drag Racing Series,...

ROCKINGHAM NC - SUMMIT FastNews - Bruce Litton earned his first Top Fuel win of the season at the Holley Spring Nationals presented by Castrol GTX at Rockingham Dragway Sunday. The second of eleven races comprising the Summit Drag Racing Series, the Spring Nationals were contested under clear skies with cool temperatures that allowed racers to set eight IHRA World records.

Litton, the number two qualifer defeated top qualifier Clay Millican in the Top Fuel final with a 4.777 second/303.64 mph pass. Millican's team had crankshaft problems and thrashed to the last minute, bringing an unhealthy racecar to the line. Millican, a victim of a broken push rod, sputtered to a 20.196/61.02 run. The upstart Millican team, owned by Peter Lehman and sponsored by set the IHRA World E.T. record at 4.725 seconds in the second round of qualifying, backing it up in the first round of eliminations. Millican also defeated Darlington winner Paul Romine in the semis on his way to the finals.

"What started out as a rocky weekend ended up tremendously for the Wix team," stated Indianapolis resident Litton. " My crew chief Richard Hartman's grandmother is ill and in the hospital. I'm dedicating our team win to "Grandma Markley" and delivering the trophy to her hospital room personally. I know this might not seem important but my dog also died and it affected me. It's been a weekend of tremendous emotions.

Litton added, "I knew Clay (Millican) was struggling but there is no way in the world I wanted to win the Spring Nationals making a solo run. I always want to race for the win."

Millican was ecstatic about the Lehman team's performance.

"This weekend was nothing but great news for the team," enthused Millican."We broke some parts and I was so ill Friday that I thought I was going to get sick in the car. But overall, how can we complain about a number one qualifying position, a runner-up finish, and a national record. This is a team on the rise."

Litton also announced that he would provide a second Top Fuel car for 18-year-old J.R. Todd, a rising African-American driver. Litton will mentor J.R. and plans to have him make his IHRA Top Fuel debut at the Amalie Oil Summer Nationals in June.

Doug Foxworth set an IHRA Top Fuel World speed record at 307.02 during the second round of qualifying.

With his win and a second-place finish at Darlington, Litton now leads the chase for the $200,000 Summit Top Fuel purse with 241 points. Paul Romine is second with 206 points.

Fred Hahn of Elma, N.Y. led a 38-car Mopar Performance Parts Pro Modified field, defeating Todd Tutterow in a final that can only be described as "wild and hairy." Hahn, in his blown Summit Racing '53 Corvette, and Tutterow's nitrous-powered '63 Corvette swerved down the track in the final, Hahn prevailing 6.998/193.54 to 10.108/87.79.

"It was a case of he who lifts last wins," explained Hahn in the winners circle. "Any time you end up with a win and a national record is a good day." Hahn set the IHRA Pro Modified World speed record with a 227.65 mph run in the first round.

"We took the Summit Corvette to test at Englishtown and found out everything was wrong," stated Hahn. "Jim (Oddy) put the engine back on the dyno and we came up with a winning combination for Rockingham. Our first qualifying pass was a 6.41, our second 6.35. We knew we were in pretty good shape.

"The cool weather favored the blown cars, and with a Jim Oddy engine, we were prepared to be there at the finish," added Hahn.

With the win, Hahn moved from tenth to first in Pro Modified points. Hahn has 153 points with Ed Hoover in second with 146.

In Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley, Jay Turner of Whitsett, N.C., took his first win of the season, defeating 1998 World Champion Johnny Mancuso. Turner defeated Mancuso, who couldn't get the power down and crossed the center line with a 6.654/179.59. Turner also set a world E.T. record at 6.443 seconds.

Scott Weney of Royersford, Pa., took his first Funny Car win since the 1998 Southern Nationals at Darlington, defeating current world champion Von Smith 5.958/237.75 to 5.935/238.05.

Billy Gibson set the IHRA Funny Car E.T. record with a 241.97 mph run.

Jerry Yeoman from Galena, Kan., took the Sunoco Pro Stock title, defeating Jon Yoak 6.646/209.59 to 6.703/208.94. The three-time IHRA national event winner and owner of Tulsa International Raceway made it to the final by surviving an incident in the semi- finals with Steve Spiess.

In an accident ironically reminiscent of his crash at the 1999 Amalie Oil Nationals at Bradenton, Spiess crossed the finish line and lost control, crossing in front of a surprised Yeoman and hitting the left lane wall. The engine separated from the chassis at the firewall and crashed through the concrete wall, catapaulting the rest of the car back across the track. Spiess emerged from the spectacular crash unharmed.

"I saw pieces of car in front of me, "said Yeoman. "I just missed Steve and pulled over to the side to make sure he wasn't hurt."

Yeoman who set a Pro Stock national E.T. record at 6.608 announced he will contest the entire IHRA Pro Stock schedule. John Montecalvo set the IHRA Pro Stock World speed record at 210.77.

In Pro Outlaw, Laurie Cannister won the fifth win of her short career, defeating Mick Snyder, son of 1999 champion Larry Snyder. Cannister also set a national Pro Outlaw E.T. record at 6.038 mph.

"To win the event and set a national record is incredible," said Cannister.  
"My team worked hard to get the car together.  Last Sunday night it was in
pieces.  Our victory is a testimony to their dedication."

18-year-old Snyder, blew a pressure relief burst panel in his supercharger in the final, but was pleased with his performance.

"We ran well and had a chance to win. I tried to deep-stage Laurie (a starting line tactic), but she didn't fall for it," commented Snyder.

"Mick is a great racer," added Laurie. "I expect that we will soon be competing as fiercely as Mick's dad and I did.

With her win, Cannister takes the Pro Outlaw points lead,

The million dollar Summit Drag Racing Series moves now to Grand Bend Motorplex for the inaugural Mopar Perforance Parts Canadian Nationals, June 2-4.

Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** **

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Paul Romine , Fred Hahn , Clay Millican , Scott Weney , Bruce Litton , Johnny Mancuso , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Billy Gibson , Von Smith , Mick Snyder , J.R. Todd , Steve Spiess