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NHRA LODRS IHRA Drag News Photos
Sat, 3 Jun 2000, 09:40 AM

Records Could Fall Saturday
By Larry Sullivan

Bright Sunshine on Tap



GRAND BEND, Ont. - Race officials made conservative estimates of the expected car count prior to the race, claiming they would be happy to see 450 cars show up for the inaugural event. They were all smiles when the car count topped 500, with 533 cars on the grounds by the close of the day Friday. Combined with record advance ticket sales, they have already declared this the largest inaugural event in IHRA history.

Prior to Friday's qualifying sessions for the Inaugural Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol there was some concern among the racers about what kind of track they would find up here. Friday's Professional sessions did a lot to alleviate those concerns. Though some found the going a bit tricky, others made excellent runs, including two pending speed records, a pending ET record, and several elapsed times within shouting distance of current World records.

In Top Fuel, Shirley Muldowney, who could be considered a "local racer" because her home is just across the border in Michigan, had the crowd cheering wildly when she made her best run since returning to IHRA competition, a 4.785 at 309.38 mph. Her speed is a pending record, the IHRA wiping the record books clean when they adopted the 90-percent fuel rules. Paul Romine didn't quite match Shirley's speed, but bettered her elapsed time with a solid 4.769 at 307.58 mph to take the early pole position, while Clay Millican showed that his performance at Rockingham was no fluke by running 4.793/298.21 right out of the box. All three are within hailing distance of the current 4.725 ET record.

Bruce Litton was the only driver to feel the wrath of the new "black flag" rule, his engine splitting the block at half track and leaving a large trail of oil. After surveying the damage, Litton was still not sure exactly what happened because the car just suddenly stopped pulling, the RPM traces normal until they suddenly dropped. The engine damage was unusual, the block splitting horizontally instead of vertically, the cylinders separating about six inches from the bottom half of the block - you could see all the way through the engine, from one side to the other.

The Screamin' Eagle Nitro Harley riders put on a dazzling show of their own. Steve Stordeur continues to outpace team owner Johnny Mancuso, taking the first-round pole with a 6.429/203.61, his elapsed time a pending record. The current record is 6.443. Points leader Jay Turner is second with a 6.522/215.67, his speed a pending record. Mancuso sits third at 6.565/212.26, and Doug Vancil is fourth with a 6.613/219.03, his speed also a pending record.

Summit-sponsored Fred Hahn heads the Mopar Pro Modified field by over a tenth of a second with a 6.279/221.45. His closest competitor is Roy Wasko with a 6.414/217.81.

Three five-second runs head the IHRA.com Funny Car field, with Jimmy Rector quickest at 5.955/235.84, followed by Von Smith at 5.959/237.52, and Monty Todd at 5.986/231.54.

John Montecalvo was the last car down the track in the Sunoco Pro Stock qualifying session and stole the pole position from Rockingham winner Jerry Yeoman with a 6.686/207.18 over Yeoman's 6.688/207.18. John Konigshofer, with a 6.690/207.03, and Dwayne Rice, at 6.691/206.65, were the only others in the 6.60s on their first attempt.

In Pro Outlaw, Mick Snyder celebrated his high school graduation by taking the overnight pole position, having to miss the ceremonies in order to race here, posting a 6.139/220.85. Laurie Cannister came closest to knocking him off that top rung with a 6.160/222.22.

In Top Sportsman, Brad Matheson, Atwood, Ontario, gave the trackside photographers a thrill when one tire on his '55 Chevy hooked and the other spun freely on the launch. The car made a hard right turn, rolled on its side, and slid into the guard rail, hitting the Armco right in front of a group of "shooters." The photographers scattered and the guard rail did its job, the car rebounding and rolling on its top, stopping in the middle of the right lane, about 200 feet from the starting line. Matheson wasn't hurt, but the front of the car took a pretty good impact when the car hit the guardrail.

Sportsman entrants get one more qualifying shot today, then go into eliminations this afternoon. Pro competitors get two more qualifying runs today, the final coming during tonight's "Mac Tools Night of Fire." Unlike Friday's overcast, chilly conditions, however, racers Saturday will ahve to contend with bright sunshine, with only scattered clouds in the forecast.



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