BRISTOL, Tenn.-Bruce Litton took a conservative approach to qualifying during this weekend's NHRA's inaugural Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals. And it paid off. On the other hand, it could have been a costly gamble had he failed to ...
BRISTOL, Tenn.-Bruce Litton took a conservative approach to qualifying during this weekend's NHRA's inaugural Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals.
And it paid off.
On the other hand, it could have been a costly gamble had he failed to make today's final eliminations and gone back to Indianapolis early.
Litton chose to participate in only two of the allotted four qualifying runs down the Bristol Dragway quarter-mile. Both times Litton skipped the early afternoon competition, opting for the evening sessions. As it turned out, he could have gotten by with just one pass and then spent the rest of the time watching from the sidelines.
The elapsed time run of 4.745 seconds at 304.60 on Friday evening was the ninth quickest. He held that position, and it was those numbers that put the driver of the Wix Filters-sponsored dragster into today's show.
Litton's pass of 4.835 seconds and 279.67 mph yesterday was of little help other than get in some track time to prepare for today's first challenge against David Grubnic, who qualified eighth on his pass of 4.691/304.94.
The gamble on just two trial runs turned out to be a big cost-cutting maneuver as these cars are very expensive to run.
A resident of Oneida before becoming a Hoosier, Litton was able to do this owing to a certain comfort level on this track. He qualified for his first IHRA top-fuel event on this track in 1996. He would finish as the runner-up. Litton also was a No. 1 qualifier a year later and has won three top dragster quick eight victories here.
The toughest part of the weekend will come today as Litton tries to pick his way through this talent-laden top-fuel field. If he can get by Grubnic, Litton has the likes of Kenny Bernstein, Gary Scelzi and Larry Dixon waiting to derail the quest for his first victory of the season.