Tulsa: Series Saturday qualifying summary

Litton shoots to top of Top Fuel charts Lastor surprises in Pro Modified, Montecalvo edges Berner in Pro Stock Saturday's pristine evening conditions set up some solid laps and a few records as Bruce Litton (Top Fuel), Taylor Lastor (Pro ...

Litton shoots to top of Top Fuel charts

Lastor surprises in Pro Modified, Montecalvo edges Berner in Pro Stock

Saturday's pristine evening conditions set up some solid laps and a few records as Bruce Litton (Top Fuel), Taylor Lastor (Pro Modified) and John Montecalvo (Pro Stock) topped qualifying at the IHRA Sooner Nationals Saturday at Tulsa Raceway Park.

And what it was for Top Fuel ace Bruce Litton.

With many of the drivers struggling to find grip under the hot afternoon sun, Litton (Indianapolis, Ind.) finally had a breakthrough under the cool evening conditions with a 4.737 second pass at 310.13 miles per hour to top Top Fuel qualifying and take home the Last Man Standing award Saturday night at the Sooner Nationals.

"Mike reminded me that this should be a pretty good lap. They had it set up to go down the track and it did," Litton said. "It felt like it made a good move off the line and it continued to carry down the track so I knew we had put up some pretty good numbers."

Litton rocketed past Tim Boychuk (Edmonton, Alberta) with the last pass of the evening in a pretty good drag race with Del Cox Jr. (Downey, Calif.). Litton edged Cox at the line to grab the five bonus points associated with being Saturday's Last Man Standing.

Dallas top qualifier Tim Boychuk was second, putting up a solid 4.878 E.T. at 296.05 mph with the second run of the evening session.

Bobby Lagana Jr. (Scarsdale, N.Y.), who had the hot lap during the afternoon sessions, dropped to third on a 4.921 second lap at 252.47 miles per hour.

Cox (5.003) and Mitch King (5.158) rounded out the top five.

While the evening sessions usually determine the top qualifier, the night session is usually considered more of a show as the drivers try to show what kind of power they are capable of under pristine conditions.

The runs that pay the most, however, are made during the afternoon and Litton feels he learned enough during the first two qualifying sessions to really pay off on Sunday.

"That is a completely different race on Sunday. We will just take it round by round and see what the track gives us, see what the weather is tomorrow," Litton said. "We know what we are capable of, we will just see what happens and take it as it is."

Taylor Lastor put down the lap heard round the world in Pro Modified Saturday evening with a blazing 6.057 elapsed time at 235.72 miles per hour to top Pro Mod qualifying and claim the Last Man Standing award heading into Sunday's eliminations.

"This is an all new combination for us. Every run the last couple of races we have been picking it up," Lastor said. "We finally made a run tonight like it should run. It was a really good lap and I think we still have some left in the tank."

Lastor (Cleveland, Texas) flipped spots with IHRA veteran Ed Hoover (Gilbert, S.C.) Saturday night, overtaking the 14-time national event winner with a nice pass under the cool evening hours.

Now Lastor hopes he can continue this success into Sunday.

"It will take three of four good runs and a little luck as always. You have to drive well, but we just need to a break to be able to win," Lastor said. "We have what we need, hopefully everything will fall into place tomorrow."

While Lastor topped the charts, Ed Hoover had a triumph of his own Saturday night, setting a new track speed record at 237.42 miles per hour while also placing himself second in qualifying with a 6.083 second run.

Behind Lastor and Hoover are Dallas winner Chris Russo (6.181), Kenny Lang (6.233) and Kirk Wilmes (6.344).

It was dejà vu all over again in Elite Motorsports Pro Stock.

John Montecalvo (Center Moriches, N.Y.) and Pete Berner (Crete, Ill.), who made up the final round of the Sooner Nationals in 2008, found themselves 1-2 yet again on Saturday as Montecalvo used a tremendous lap of 6.385 seconds at 218.80 miles per hour to shoot to the top of the qualifying charts and grab Saturday's Last Man Standing award.

"We came into this race really needed to have a breakout event, we need to make a move here and do something and that was a pretty good move, a pretty good statement," Montecalvo said. "We had a few issues in the past, but we have done a lot of testing and a lot of racing and it is just a matter of the whole thing coming together."

Behind Montecalvo was Berner, who held the top spot throughout the afternoon until Montecalvo rocketed past him during Saturday's evening session. Berner's lap of 6.396 at 218.87 mph places him second heading into Sunday's final eliminations.

Berner and Montecalvo were the only drivers to put down laps in the 6.30s and both also topped the speed charts.

Saturday marked Montecalvo's second No. 1 qualifying spot of the season, also taking top honors at Rockingham six weeks ago. It also places two of the best in the sport 1-2 heading into Sunday's eliminations.

"We have been up and we have been down this year, but soon enough it is all going to come together for us," Montecalvo said. "Hopefully that starts tomorrow."

Berner will be looking for his second consecutive win at Tulsa Raceway Park on Sunday.

Rounding out the Pro Stock top five are Mark Martino (6.413), J.R. Carr (6.423) and Cary Goforth (6.428).

Sunday's professional eliminations will get underway at 11 a.m. with final eliminations scheduled for 4 p.m.

-credit: ihra

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Series Drag
Drivers Bruce Litton , Bobby Lagana Jr. , John Montecalvo , Ed Hoover , Mitch King , J.R. Carr , Mark Martin