St Louis: Mark Whisnant Goes to the Semi-Finals

Madison, Ill. (June 24) - In eliminations today at the Fourth Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals in St. Louis, Mo., Mark Whisnant and the RW Performance did what he came to Gateway Internationals Raceway to do; Qualify well and go some ...

Madison, Ill. (June 24) - In eliminations today at the Fourth Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals in St. Louis, Mo., Mark Whisnant and the RW Performance did what he came to Gateway Internationals Raceway to do; Qualify well and go some rounds.

Whisnant entered eliminations in the 11th position with a 7.633 / 175.96 mph pass that he ran in the fourth session of qualifying. His opponent for Round 1 would be the same person he met in Round 1 in Columbus, Steve Farr. Farr was the victor in Columbus, but Whisnant was determined to change that.

This time the outcome of the Whisnant vs. Farr match-up would find Whisnant winning on a hole-shot. Whisnant ran a 7.670 / 175.34 mph to Farr's quicker 7.662 / 175.94 mph. It was Whisnant's .447 second reaction time that would seal the victory

"I went up there to race my race," said Whisnant. "I went in when I wanted to, I didn't mean to hang Steve out. I just wanted to run my race, and not play any games.=20

"We are trying to be consistent and go some rounds. Right now this truck is running like a bracket car. The runs on the computer are about identical. I know we can win from the right lane. Other guys did it in the first session I think I can do it in the second."

Whisnant was matched against John Lingenfelter in Round 2. Whisnant would come out on top when Lingenfelter left early and fouled out. Whisnant would run a 7.692 / 175.41 mph to Lingenfelter's 7.755 / 161.05 mph.

"I got out of the grove and spun the tires on the top end. We could have been quicker, but we will be okay. We will try putting some more clutch in it for the next round. We have (Bob) Panella next round and we know he will be tough. I need to go out there and do what I have been doing all day; run my own race, not theirs."

Whisnant met Winston Champion Bob Panella in the semi-finals. This time the foul would go to Whisnant. Panella ran a 7.584 / 178.86 mph to Whisnant's red lighting 8.579 / 117.48 mph.

"I knew racing Bob that I would have to be on the tree. I had to take a shot at him. I ended up red lighting, but I am not upset. We got to the semis for the first time this year. We are excited about that. This gives us momentum going into Bristol. There are two spots open for the Show Down and I figure I have just as good of chance as anyone. We are pumped up and ready to race."

The next stop on the NHRA Drag Racing tour is the Winston Showdown in Bristol, Tenn. July 7-9.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , John Lingenfelter , Mark Whisnant