Atlanta: Mike Castellana final report

COMMERCE, Ga.-No matter the frustration, Mike Castellana will tell you that quitting is never an option. The problem has been qualifying and once again the supermarket chain owner from Westbury, N.Y., won't be around for Sunday's pro mod ...

COMMERCE, Ga.-No matter the frustration, Mike Castellana will tell you that quitting is never an option.

The problem has been qualifying and once again the supermarket chain owner from Westbury, N.Y., won't be around for Sunday's pro mod eliminations.

It's not that the Long Islander doesn't try. After last weekend's lesson in futility at the Bristol, Tenn., NHRA race, Castellana had his team spend some extra time in Thunder Valley. With a well-known Pro Stock driver behind the wheel, Castellana's proven 6.2-second Western Beef-sponsored Chevy appeared to be on the right track.

But Castellana found racing can be a drag on his spirits one more time when he failed to qualify for today's pro mod eliminations at the 21st annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals yesterday afternoon.

When the fourth round of qualifying was finished yesterday, Castellana was only the ninth quickest or one spot out of today's show. His best of four passes was an elapsed time run of 6.361 seconds at 220.80 mph down Atlanta Dragway's quarter-mile on Friday.

Castellana got off to a rocky start on Friday with his first pass. He shook the tires and had to lift around the half-track mark.

A glimmer of hope returned later in the day with his second effort, which was the 6.361 ET and launched him into No. 7 in the pro mod ladder.

He couldn't protect that position yesterday. In his first time out, Castellana got off to a quick start, but something came off the car, forcing him to slow down. The final effort of 6.362/220.98 was much better but not quite good enough to make the show.

The weekend was forgettable for Team Castellana as its other driver, Shannon Jenkins, had worse luck when the Alabaman wound up 15th. His best effort was a 6.566/217.39.

Castellana and his team will have almost a month to regroup for the next IHRA race, which is the second annual Mopar Parts Canadian National in Grand Bend, Ont., from June 1-3.

To keep up with the progress of Team Castellana turn to its website at www.awesome57.com.

-TC-

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Series NHRA