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