Johnny Rocca's Ironhorse Gallops To Its Finest Finish In IHRA Competition Stanton, MI --There is an old saying that reads, "What fails to kill me only serves to make me stronger." Already burdened by an IHRA edict that added 50 pounds to ...
Johnny Rocca's Ironhorse Gallops To Its Finest Finish In IHRA Competition
Stanton, MI --There is an old saying that reads, "What fails to kill me only serves to make me stronger." Already burdened by an IHRA edict that added 50 pounds to supercharged cars, the Johnny Rocca team's "Iron Horse" proved to be one of the stronger. He also outlasted all other blown cars in Pro Modified.
If the Troy Critchley driven '49 Mercury's performance in the Pro Modified class of the IHRA CARQUEST Northern Nationals presented by Prolong Super Lubricants were any indication, Rocca's team is a force to be reckoned with when given any window of opportunity. Stanton, Mi., provided the battleground.
The weekend almost culminated in disaster right off the bat when Critchley saved the Mercury from the right guard rail in first round qualifying. Critchley opened qualifying with a driving show that pushed to the very edge of the envelope. The Australian snaked the '49 Mercury over the right lane before lifting and coasting to a 7.46/140. He was on the outside looking in after the first session. The second attempt improved their position with a baseline 6.83/205.55, but still didn't earn a berth into the program on the first day.
The third session offered no reprieve for Critchley as he wounded a motor en-route to a 6.736/208.81. The team changed motors between sessions. However, the engine never got to reach its full potential as his final qualifying round foe Billy Harper crossed over into his lane. The team was granted a re-run and that afforded them the opportunity to post a 6.605/215.82, good enough for the 16th spot.
He was paired against Fred Hahn in the first round of competition. The "Iron Horse" faced the daunting task of facing the number one qualifier. Despite adding the controversial 50 pound weight limit, the Jimmy Oddy car set a track record for low ET. Critchley made the most of the team's opportunity by defeating Hahn's '54 Corvette after Hahn broke down. Critchley powered to 6.473/217.32 with lane choice. The "Iron Horse" blew rods in the lights and would have to change power plants for the next round.
Rocca's team faced Number 9 qualifier, Harold Martin, in the second round. Martin fouled to give Critchley a not-so-easy victory. Critchley was way out of shape again and was able to stay away from the centerline to post a 7.652/140.71. The victory meant Critchley would have to face Number four qualifier Shannon Jenkins in the semis.
With Jenkins running consistent 6.4's and 6.5's in qualifying and eliminations, Critchley's game plan would have to focus on a great reaction time. Unfortunately for the Rocca team, Critchley was a hair too quick in his anticipation and faced the amber light giving Jenkins '41 Willys the victory and a berth in the finals.
Rocca and Critchley are slated to return to competition at the IHRA MOPAR PARTS World Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, August 26 - 29. The Native American and Aussie duo, along with each Pro Modified contestant, will be afforded two qualifying attempts on Friday and another two on Saturday with final eliminations slated for Sunday. This event will be televised on ESPN2 with the dates TBA in an upcoming issue.
Prolong Super Lubricants, Inc., based in Irvine, Ca., manufactures and markets a family of patented industrial and consumer products throughout the world, including automotive, industrial, marine and fleet applications. It is a publicly traded company (AMEX: PRL).