GAINESVILLE, Fla.-Fire may have destroyed Bruce Litton's race shop and museum in Indianapolis in January, but it could not extinguish his desire to excel as one of drag racing's leading top-fuel drivers. What the fire did, besides damage...
GAINESVILLE, Fla.-Fire may have destroyed Bruce Litton's race shop and museum in Indianapolis in January, but it could not extinguish his desire to excel as one of drag racing's leading top-fuel drivers.
What the fire did, besides damage a lot of new equipment, was delay the start of his 2001 season. He had planned to participate in the West Coast season-opening NHRA events in preparation to launch his run for the IHRA top-fuel championship at the Holly Spring Nationals in Rockingham, N.C., from March 30-April 1.
Litton will be after the Top Fuel title that eluded him late in the 2000 season when he slipped from first to third, falling just 26 points shy of Paul Romine, who would claim the championship.
Litton looked hardly rusty for a driver, who hadn't made a competitive pass since the early November race in Rockingham at the Mac Tools Gatornationals Friday. Running in the right lane against Romine, Litton covered the quarter-mile in his Wix Filters-sponsored dragster in 4.873 seconds at 261.17 mph, good enough to hold sixth against such stalwarts at Gary Scelzi, Kenny Bernstein and Larry Dixon. The key to the run was a strong start. He was clocked at 3.238 seconds and 255.87 mph at half-track but slowed as he neared the 1,000-foot marker. The performance for Litton was a bonus, considering what had transpired two months ago. "We are just blessed to be here, and for us to make as good runs as we have today, it's just a classic case of divine intervention," Litton says. "My crew has worked hard to get us to this point, and I'm just happy that we experienced success. I think this day is going to set the stage for our whole season. It's going to be a good one." The second run wasn't quite as smart as the first, slipping to 10th, but Litton still is in a good position to move up the ladder during today's last two qualifying rounds in preparation for tomorrow's final eliminations. -HC