RAIN WASHES OUT BULK OF FRIDAY QUALIFYING AT ROCKINGHAM Two Saturday Sessions Will Set Field for Sunday's Spring Nationals ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - Evening thunderstorms washed out the bulk of a promising opening round of qualifying Friday night...
RAIN WASHES OUT BULK OF FRIDAY QUALIFYING AT ROCKINGHAM
Two Saturday Sessions Will Set Field for Sunday's Spring Nationals
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - Evening thunderstorms washed out the bulk of a promising opening round of qualifying Friday night at Rockingham Dragway, placing added pressure on professional racers who now will have just two Saturday opportunities to make the starting field for Sunday's 35th annual IHRA Spring Nationals.
Drivers in Top Fuel, Pro Modified, Pro Stock and Funny Car will complete the qualifying phase of the event in sessions at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Single elimination finals in four professional and eight sportsman classes are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Before the rains came, veteran Robert Patrick of Fredericksburg, Va., managed to make his 2004 Ford Cobra the provisional No. 1 qualifier with a Friday time of 6.464 seconds at a speed of 213.16 miles per hour.
Patrick enjoyed an ever so slight advantage over reigning series champion John Nobile of Dix Hills, N.Y., whose Ford Escort ZX2 was clocked in 6.480 seconds at 213.77 mph. Defending Spring Nationals Champion John Montecalvo of Center Moriches, N.Y., was the highest qualified member of the Chevrolet contingent with a time of 6.490 seconds in his new 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt.
Pro Stock was the only category to complete a full qualifying session Friday. The featured Top Fuel dragsters and Pro Modifieds never turned a tire and only two-thirds of the Funny Car field was able to get down the track before the rain.
Of the Funny Cars that did make a run, two-time reigning series champion Rob Atchison of London, Ontario, Canda, was the quickest at 5.837 seconds, 238.98 mph. That qualified him just ahead of Jim Sickles of Caledonia, N.Y. (5.864), four-time former series champion Mark Thomas of Louisville, Ohio (5.872) and Terry Munroe of Beaver, Pa., who posted a career best time of 5.877 seconds at 238.90 mph.