Shreveport: Friday qualifying notes

SHREVEPORT, La. - Pit notes courtesy of and Harley Communications at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Finals Top Fuel Bruce Litton - Litton opened Saturday's qualifying with a not-so impressive effort. He posted a 11.554/80.19...

SHREVEPORT, La. - Pit notes courtesy of and Harley Communications at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Finals

Top Fuel

Bruce Litton - Litton opened Saturday's qualifying with a not-so impressive effort. He posted a 11.554/80.19 on his first run, which was considerably off of his Thursday's 4.831/272.12. He more than made up for his earlier shortcoming during the second session with a 4.760/298.73, which initially put him in the top spot. He concluded qualifying as the second quickest and is scheduled to face Jim Bailey in the first round.

J.R. Todd - Todd saved his best for last. The 18-year old, Top Fuel driver from Lawrenceburg, Ind., had not made a full pass under power during his first two qualifying efforts. There was no problem on the final attempt as he blasted out his personal quickest, a 4.848/279.27. He ended up qualified as the fourth quickest and will race Paul Romine in the first round.

Funny Car

Von Smith - Smith was pulling double duty. Not only was he attempting to qualify for the program, but he was also participating in the Funny Car Shootout as well. He posted a 6.005/237.96 and also defeated Rob Atchinson in the process. The three-time Funny Car champion saved his best for last with a 5.906/239.06, that not only catapulted him to the third spot, but also allowed him to defeat Jim Lape in the final round. He will face Billy Gibson in the first round.

Scott Weney - Weney had performed very well in the first day by hammering out a 5.929, but during Saturday's first round of the Shootout, he faltered with a severe case of tireshake and slowed to a 14.426. He redeemed himself in the final session with a 5.919/238.51. He's hoping for a solid performance that could possibly enable him to clinch his first career World Championship. Weney ended qualifying with the fourth quickest time and will face Andy Kelley in the first round.

Pro Modified

Johnny Rocca/Troy Critchley - The popular 1949 Mercury that carries the "Ironhorse" moniker, hit full gallop during Friday's qualifying sessions. He opened with a 6.378/206.07, which also pushed him past Mitch Stott in the first round of eliminations for the Mopar Parts Pro Modified Shootout. He regretfully lost in the second round to the eventual winner Fred Hahn. Critchley didn't let the loss spoil his day as he returned to record a 6.337/222.73 in the final qualifying session to secure the sixth spot. He is scheduled to face Ronnie Hood in the first round.

Shannon Jenkins -The Tuscaloosa, Ala.-native found himself in unfamiliar territory -- on the outside looking in heading into eliminations. Forced to shut off on the starting line during the first session on Thursday, the Dodge Viper pilot clocked a 6.444/220.44 in Saturday's qualifying to land in the seventh spot. The security was short lived as in round three, Jenkins did not improve and watched himself get bumped from the program.

Dale Brinsfield - A $30 part kept Brinsfield from leaving the starting line on Thursday. A fuel solenoid malfunctioned robbed the engine of fuel. Brinsfield failed to gain any luck in the second session, but made a great run in the final session with a 6.401/219.51. He ended up in the ninth spot and will face Andy Neyer in the first round.

Mike Castellana -He may have been third in the field after the first day, but he knew that he would have to step up to stay there when qualifying was complete. The N.Y.-based 1957 Chevy Bel-Air made a good baseline with his initial 6.423/219.76. He secured his spot with a tremendous blast during the final session, when he reeled off a 6.330/222.22. He wll face Frankie Taylor in the first round.

Ed Hoover - A last ditch effort put Hoover into the program. He had failed to get down the track in his first two attempts and attributed that to a tricky left lane that crated a headache for the majority of tuners. He used the right lane to prove his worth as he blasted out a 6.441/221.09. He ended the session as the 14th quickest and will face Steve Vick in the first round of qualifying.

Al Billes - The Canadian didn't allow a failure to get down the track during Thursday's session to bog him down. He instead responded with a 6.403/223.32, that slipped his flamed Studebaker in the program at the 10th spot. He will face Alan Pittman in the first round of eliminations.

Tommy Mauney -After taking over the driving duties of the Roy Singleton entry Mauney has continued to "dial-in" the motor, improving each outing. This race is no different. Mauney ran a 6.310/223.62 in round one, good for the number two spot. However, in a blunder, the run was thrown out when the classic 1941 Willys turned up light at the scales. "We weighed before the session and were heavy, we took 19 pounds out and now we're 5 pounds light you tell me what happened, it's their (IHRA) game." Mauney proved he had the right stuff, producing his best qualifying in the blown car to date, #4-6.309/222.88. He will match up against Harold Martin in the first round.

Pro Stock

Chris Holbrook-A slight improvement in the second round kept Holbrook in the program as the Pro Stock field improved dramatically compared to yesterday's performances. Following round one on Friday, the Redford, Mich.-resident was in the #9 spot with a 6.766. Holbrook managed to stay in the final sixteen-car field with his round two effort of 6.725 / 208.75, he is #14 heading into Sunday's final eliminations. Holbrook will face Ron Miller in the first round of eliminations.

John Montecalvo-Caught in a three-way points battle, Montecalvo pulled a new motor out of the box running a 6.714/208.30 in the first round good for the #4 position. The Center Moriches, N.Y.-native used a round two run of 6.671/209.17 to maintain his position. In the third and final round Montecalvo continued chipping away at his elapsed time running a 6.651 and remaining #4. Montecalvo will face Tim Nabors in the first round. Gene Wilson -After drifting toward the left retaining wall in round one of qualifying, Wilson returned Saturday aiming to qualify the 812-horsepower Ford Probe. A 6.712/208.68 round two run landed him in the #7 spot. Wilson improved one-half of a second in the third round which typically improves their qualifying position. Not today, Wilson remained seventh. He will face Jason Collins in the first round of eliminations. Floyd Cheek -In his second race behind the wheel of a one-of-a-kind 2000 Mercury Cougar, Cheek proved his driving prowess qualifying the Jerry Haas-built race care #5. The veteran Ford pilot has continued to improve the performance on the unique machine clocking a 6.659/209.17 in the final round of qualifying. He qualified sixth and will meet Carl Baker in the first round. Dwayne Rice-After one of three qualifying attempts the Grove City, Ohio resident sat in the #8 spot with a 6.758/205.16. Now he's on the outside looking in. As usual, the mountain motor class continued to improve throughout qualifying. Rice failed to qualify for the first time this season.

Angelo Alesci - Returning to Red River Raceway, site of Alesci's most profitable win--the 1998 Sunoco Showdown-worth $20,000 the Cleveland resident held onto the last qualifying position by the skin of his teeth. After round two Alesci dropped to #16 from #15 and literally had to watch the remainder of the field attempt to knock him out. When it was all over Alesci held off his challengers by five one-thousandths of a second. He will face Tom Lee in the first round of eliminations.

Pro Outlaw

Laurie Cannister - Cannister sits close to capturing the Pro Outlaw championship. The Nicorette/Nicoderm CQ-sponsored driver ended qualifying as the second quickest with her Mopar-powered dragster with a 6.097/220.51. She will face Karen Haddock in the first round for the second event in a row.

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Series Drag
Drivers Laurie Cannister , Paul Romine , Fred Hahn , Scott Weney , Johnny Rocca , Bruce Litton , Alan Pittman , Ronnie Hood , Frankie Taylor , Gene Wilson , Dwayne Rice , Angelo Alesci , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Shannon Jenkins , Billy Gibson , Al Billes , Troy Critchley , Von Smith , Harold Martin , J.R. Todd