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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

President's Cup Final Qualifying Notes

By Bill Pratt and Larry Sullivan

The IHRA ExpressAutoParts.com President's Cup Nationals has returned to Budds Creek, Maryland, and qualifying has wrapped up. Larry Sullivan of Summit Racing's FastNews Network provides the cold, hard facts, and I'll provide the notes.

Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley -- 1. Jay Turner, 6.517, 206.99  vs. 8. Tony Mattioli, 6.899, 201.10; 2. Doug Vancil, 6.540, 208.17  vs. 7. Bill Furr, 6.759, 194.74; 3. Steve Stordeur, 6.552, 203.25  vs. 6. Ray Price, 6.671, 201.67; 4. Jim McClure, 6.581, 212.09  vs. 5. Johnny Mancuso, 6.658, 202.64.

Don't have too much to say about the Nitro Harleys, except they were neat to see at night with the nitro flames roaring. Got to talk to Steve Stordeur, who didn't qualify until the final session. Neat guy.

Mopar Pro Modified -- 1. Chip King, Dodge Avenger, 6.264, 227.54  vs. 16. Tommy Gray, Corvette, 6.413, 217.49; 2. Troy Critchley, Mercury, 6.264, 224.58  vs. 15. Billy Harper, Dodge Viper, 6.413, 219.36; 3. Tommy Mauney, Willys, 6.282, 223.28  vs. 14. Carl Moyer, Chevy Bel Air, 6.403, 218.30; 4. Fred Hahn, Chevy Corvette, 6.301, 225.94  vs. 13. Shannon Jenkins, Viper, 6.402, 221.34; 5. Alan Pittman, Willys, 6.326, 222.07  vs. 12. Kevin O'Dell, Chevelle, 6.381, 223.80; 6. Mitch Stott, Corvette, 6.329, 223.91  vs. 11. Harold Martin, Pontiac Firebird, 6.378, 220.30; 7. Ed Hoover, Corvette, 6.333, 222.51  vs. 10. Steve Vick, Chevy Camaro, 6.370, 222.44; 8. Ronnie Hood, Corvette, 6.341, 221.13  vs. 9. Al Billes, Studebaker, 6.365, 225.26.

Chip King shocked everybody by going 6.264 for the number one qualifying position in his blown, HEMI-powered Dodge Avenger. Then I found out that Bill Barrett was advising the Chip King team for the President's Cup -- mystery solved! The guru of the blown Hemi engine made Chip King the first Hemi powered car to qualify for an IHRA field, and he qualified at the head of the pack! Bill says there is a lot more in this combination.

Johnny Rocca and Troy Critchley were in a bind before the final qualifying session. They had run a best of only 6.96 with the Ironhorse Mercury and had only one more shot to make the field. I talked with Johnny about four hours before the final Pro Mod session. He was in his trailer, pondering computer readouts. Despite problems on three previous runs, Rocca predicted about a 6.26 in the session. And that's exactly what Troy Critchley ran, equal to the thousandth to  Chip King's 6.264. King kept the number one qualifying position on the basis of his faster speed.

Mitch Stott amazingly DIDN'T QUALIFY. The IHRA points leader left the door wide open for Fred Hahn and the Summit Racing '53 Corvette to make a move for championship points. Hahn qualified fourth with a 6.30, 188 run that clearly had the potential to be much quicker.

Kevin O'Dell provided another big qualifying surprise, as he took his Chevelle to a career-best 6.38, 224 to make the field.

The Pro Mod field was the quickest in history, from Chip King's 6.264 to Tommy Gray's 6.413.

ihra.com Funny Car -- 1. Jim Lape, Chevy Camaro, 5.827, 241.41  vs. 16. Bunny Burkett, Dodge Avenger, 6.073, 232.75; 2. Jimmy Rector, Avenger, 5.847, 241.54  vs. 15. Fred Tigges, Camaro, 6.062, 237.71; 3. Mark Thomas, Avenger, 5.889, 241.11  vs. 14. Dave Ray, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.039, 232.03; 4. Bruce Mullins, Ford Mustang, 5.906, 215.17  vs. 13. Adam Szeler, Dodge Achieva, 6.035, 231.12; 5. Dale Brand, Pontiac Firebird, 5.910, 236.88  vs. 12. Larry Dobbs, Chevy Corvette, 6.006, 232.15; 6. Billy Gibson, Camaro, 5.911, 239.70  vs. 11. Terry McMillen, Avenger, 5.997, 232.67; 7. Rob Atchison, Firebird, 5.917, 233.84  vs. 10. Mike Preslar, Corvette, 5.955, 222.51; 8. Von Smith, Firebird, 5.941, 239.44  vs. 9. Scott Weney, Corvette, 5.949, 234.17. 

ihra.com Funny Car provided new world records, impressive indeed for the Roots blower cars. Jim Lape and Bruce Mullins arrived at Budds Creek with the intention of resetting the now-attainable 5.85 second IHRA ET record. Lape had recently run 5.76 and Mullins had recently run 5.80. Lape got the record on Friday with a 5.827 backed up by a 5.84.

Bruce Mullins, on the other hand, was running extremely quick times despite tossing the blower belt at 1,000 feet on two separate runs. An early 6.03, 193 was followed by an incredibly stout 5.90 at only 215 mph. The problem was diagnosed as misaligned blower pulleys and was fixed, but the Warhorse team elected not to run the final qualifying session Friday. With weather conditions expected to be the same on Saturday, Mullins again will attempt to recapture the IHRA ET World Record.

An unfortunate incident Friday night was the apparent AutoStart-induced redlight of popular funny car driver Bunny Burkett. Bunny was not going to make a final run unless she got bumped out, but in the end elected to make a run in the final session for her many MIR fans. Lined up against Paul Athey in Ed Parker's Mohegan Sun car, Bunny did a patented, eighth mile burnout. This seemed to cause the IHRA starter some consternation, and he began motioning wildly for Bunny's team to back her up quickly.

After Bunny backed up, Athey inadvertently went into the starting beams too quickly, lighting both the prestage and stage lights. Bunny moved in to stage and got the prestage light, but then the redlight in her lane lit immediately. Athey was sent on a solo and Bunny's crew was told to shut her off. According to Drag Review, the AutoStart is supposed to redlight a racer if they do not stage within seven seconds after their opponent lights both the prestage and stage lights. To most observers, Bunny did not take anywhere near seven seconds. 

To the fans, it appeared that IHRA was penalizing Bunny for doing the long, smoky burnout they had enjoyed. As Bunny's crew towed her down the spectator side return road, loud chants of "F--- IHRA!" were heard repeatedly from the crowd. Bunny's previous 6.07 kept "Bunny and the Boys" on the bubble. By the way, Bunny was sporting the rebuilt 525 inch Bob Newberry/Ken Veney motor damaged at the NHRA Virginia Nationals earlier this year. The venerable, decade-old, 540 inch Walt Austin motor again has been put into retirement.

Sunoco Pro Stock -- 1. Jon Yoak, Ford Probe, 6.608, 211.69  vs. 16. Jerry Yeoman, Pontiac Firebird, 6.709, 208.01; 2. Tom Lee, Ford Mustang, 6.612, 211.30 vs. 15. David Jenkins, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.708, 206.67; 3. Gene Wilson, Probe, 6.622, 210.57  vs. 14. Steve Spiess, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.708, 209.33; 4. Dwayne Rice, Firebird, 6.623, 208.75  vs. 13. Angelo Alesci, Monte Carlo, 6.696, 208.17; 5. Chris Holbrook, Mustang, 6.629, 210.44  vs. 12. John Montecalvo, Monte Carlo, 6.683, 208.49; 6. Ron Miller, Monte Carlo, 6.651, 210.47  vs. 11. John Konigshofer, Probe, 6.681, 208.10; 7. Tim Nabors, Monte Carlo, 6.665, 208.20  vs. 10. Wally Stroupe, Monte Carlo, 6.678, 207.98; 8. Floyd Cheek, Mercury Cougar, 6.668, 207.98 vs. 9. Ed Machacek, Firebird, 6.669, 209.33. 

Fans were hoping for the first non-test session 6.50 Pro Stock pass during the final qualifying session, but it was not too be. Several racers came close, however, and the field turned out to be the quickest in Pro Stock history, 6.608 to 6.709. The all-time Pro Stock speed record was eclipsed several times, however, on MIR's new glass-smooth surface. Jon Yoak eventually took the record with a 6.608, 211.69 mph blast that also took the number one qualifying spot. Prior to Yoak's run, Tom Lee briefly held the record at 211.30 mph. All in all, five cars went faster than 210 mph.

Pro Outlaw -- 1. Laurie Cannister, Dragster, 6.060, 222.18  vs. 8. Scott Ray, Dragster, 6.448, 210.37; 2. Mike Decker, Dragster, 6.102, 218.94  vs. 7. Dave Christensen, Dragster, 6.267, 213.43; 3. Michael Barclay, 23-T Ford, 6.124, 223.58 vs. 6. Karen Haddock, Dragster, 6.257, 214.45; 4. Mick Snyder, Dragster, 6.142, 223.25  vs. 5. Neal Parker, Fiat, 6.175, 225.26.

Not much to report here, except to say farewell to a popular class. IHRA will not bring Pro Outlaw back for 2001. It is unclear where these cars will end up, as most of them use combinations no longer suited to Top Dragster competition. 

That's my quick take for Friday evening. I would have had more, but I couldn't escape the day job this week and I didn't arrive at the President's Cup until 5:30 p.m. I'll have more news after the eliminations Saturday.

Bill Pratt

Qualifying results provided by Larry Sullivan of the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment


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