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Dave Densmore, Rockingham Dragway






Huge Crowd Sees Lee Jump to Top of Nitro Funny Car Qualifying Sheet at Rockingham Dragway


Bruce Litton (Top Fuel), Laurie Cannister (Alcohol Funny Car), Mike Janis (Pro Modified) and Pete Berner (Pro Stock) also claim #1 qualifying spots at IHRA Spring Nationals




(Rockingham, N.C.; April 19, 2008) – Paul Lee, whose weekend participation at Rockingham Dragway was almost an afterthought, drove Paul Smith’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo Funny Car to a track record Saturday and, as a result, will start Sunday’s 37th annual IHRA Spring Nationals from the No. 1 starting position.




Lee covered the quarter mile in 4.797 seconds at 315.34 miles per hour, shattering the Funny Car record of 4.877 seconds set last October by Charlotte’s Bob Gilbertson. As a result, the Wynnewood, Pa., driver will start from the No. 1 position for the first time in his pro career.




"This means a lot to me because five days ago we weren't coming to this race," Lee said. "(Car owner) Paul Smith and I basically put this thing together in a few days and he wanted to come here. We found out on Monday for sure we were coming.




"The number one means a lot because Paul has a great team. We want to race and it's all about deals and stuff like that. We are just trying to promote some potential sponsors out here. This means a heck of a lot. I want to carry over this momentum in Sunday."




Lee’s elation was matched by Gilbertson’s depression. After winning last fall’s IHRA World Finals on the same Rockingham track, Gilbertson failed to make the eight-car starting lineup in the Nitro Funny Car class and will be a spectator on Sunday.




The other No. 1 qualifiers Saturday were reigning series champion Bruce Litton of Indianapolis, Ind., in Top Fuel dragster; former champion Mike Janis of Lancaster, N.Y., in Pro Modified; Pete Berner of Crete, Ill., in Pro Stock; and Laurie Cannister of Johnstown, Ohio, in Alcohol Funny Car.




“We were worried about only getting one session,” Litton said, a reference to threatening weather that could have washed out Saturday’s second session. “We hated to think we might only get one shot and could get bumped out if we didn’t run well. We were blessed to get both runs in today.”




This is Litton’s 10th start from the No. 1 position, but his first at Rockingham, where he hopes to get his title bid back on track after losing in the first round of the season-opener.




Berner, the 2006 series champion, was clocked in 6.324 seconds at 220.37 mph to nudge veteran Frank Gugliotta for the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock.




“All in all, we've had a great weekend so far,” Berner said. “The guys have made some really good calls and what can I say about Dave Braswell's carburetors and Pat Norcia's Ram clutches? This new RJ Race Cars Pontiac GXP has been a winner right out of the box


“We definitely want our championship back, and we're going to work real hard to get it. There are some tough customers out here, and I'll have my hands full trying to deal with them, but we're going to give it everything we have.”




Cannister, winner of the season-opener two weeks ago at San Antonio, Texas, was the No. 1 qualifier at Rockingham for the second consecutive time. She was clocked in 5.722 seconds at 245.14 mph, slightly off her own track record of 5.668 seconds




“Dale (husband and crew chief Dale Cannister) has a really good handle on the car and all the crew’s doing their job,” Cannister said. “There’s still more in it and we’re going to try to find (the limit) tomorrow.”




Janis carded a strong 5.986 at 240.08 mph Friday night, a mark that held on against all challengers and earn him the #1 qualifying spot in Pro Modified.




ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – First round pairings for Sunday’s 37th annual IHRA Spring Nationals, second race in the 2008 Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series:




TOP FUEL – 1. Bruce Litton, Indianapolis, Ind., 4.622, 306.67 mph, vs. 5. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., 4.678, 313.37 mph; 2. Scott Palmer, Highlandville, Mo., 4.645, 296.83 mph, vs. 6. Spencer Massey, Fort Worth, Texas, 4.704, 311.05 mph; 3. Bobby Lagana, Scarsdale, N.Y., 4.666, 324.67 mph, vs. 7. Michael Gunderson, Middleburg, Fla., 4.785, 303.37 mph; 4. Mike Strasburg, Lindon, Utah, 4.668, 298.54 mph, vs. 8. Kevin Jones, Berea, Ky., 4.786, 300.86 mph.




NITRO FUNNY CAR – 1. Paul Lee, Wynnewood, Pa., 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 4.797, 315.34 mph, vs. 5. Jack Wyatt, Corydon, Iowa, 2007 Dodge Stratus, 5.0885, 284.75 mph; 2. Terry Haddock, Woodinville, Wash., 2006. Dodge Stratus, 4.956, 296.11 mph, vs. 6. Cory Lee, Aliquippa, 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 5.103, 284.21 mph; 3. Andy Kelley, Piedmont, S.C., 2002 Pontiac Firebird, 4.995, 194.52 mph, vs. 7. Steve Macklyn, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 5.110, 290.32 mph; 4. Dale Creasy Jr., Beecher, Ill., 2008 Chevrolet Impala, 5.077, 295.48 mph, vs. 8. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. 5.164, 247.73 mph;




PRO MODIFIED – 1. Mike Janis, Lancaster, N.Y., 1967 Pontiac Firebird, 5.986, 240.08 mph, vs. 9. Mike Castellana, Westbury, N.Y., 1968 Pontiac Firebird, 6.101, 236.26 mph; 2. Kenny Lang, Grande Pointe, Manitoba, Canada, 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.031, 239.74 mph, vs. Jim Halsey, Street, Md., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.132, 231.00 mph; 3. Scott Cannon, Lyman, S.C., 1968 Pontiac Firebird, 6.035, 231.83 mph, vs. Billy Gibson, Chaptico, Md., 1970 Plymouth Superbird, 6.122, 228.61 mph; 4. Tommy D’Aprile, Port Charlotte, Fla., 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air, 6.050, 234.37 mph, vs, 12. Burton Auxier Jr., Dixie, West Va., 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.113, 227.23 mph; 5. Pat Stoken, Eureka, Mont., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.066, 233.44 mph, vs. 13. Thomas Patterson, Spring, Texas, 1941 Willys, 6.114, 230.06 mph; 6. Chip King, Semora, N.C., 1969 Dodge Daytona, 6.071, 232.59 mph, vs. 14. Billy Gibson, Chaptico, Md., 1970 Plymouth Superbird, 6.122, 228.61 mph; 7. Chris Russo, Cedar Grove, N.J., 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.094, 235.02 mph, vs. 15. Jim Halsey, Street Md., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.132, 231.00 mph; 8. Quain Stott, Columbus, N.C., 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.095, 237.09 mph, vs. 16. Frederick Scriba, Millersville, Md., 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.135, 221.63 mph; 10. Jason Hamstra, DeMotte, Ind., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.106, 229.51 mph; 11. Mark Nielsen, Brantford, Ontario, Canada, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.111, 230.80 mph.




ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR – 1. Laurie Cannister, Johnstown, Ohio, 1999 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.722, 245.14 mph, vs. 5. Neal Parker, Millville, N.J., 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 5.820, 243.15 mph; 2. Dale Brand, Sully, Iowa, 2001 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.747, 232.75 mph, vs. 6. Terry Munroe, Beaver, Pa., 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 5.832, 241.02 mph; 3. Thomas Carter, Victoria, Texas, 2005 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.763, 239.14 mph, vs. 7. Larry Dobbs, Welland, Ontario, Canada, 2001 Chevrolet Corvette, 5.866, 244.03 mph; 4. Rob Atchison, London, Ontario, Canada, 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 5.805, 247.88 mph, vs. 8. Paul Noakes, London, Ontario, Canada, 2000 Dodge Avenger, 5.869, 241.32 mph.




PRO STOCK – 1. Pete Berner, Crete, Ill., 2008 Pontiac GXP, 6.324, 220.37 mph, vs. 9 Jeff Dobbins, Wilmington, N.C., 2006 Ford Escort, 6.364, 220.19 mph; 2. Frank Gugliotta, Mt. Airy, Md., 2007 Ford Mustang, 6.340, 219.04 mph, vs. 10. Steve Spiess, Manhattan, Ill., 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.380, 216.93 mph; 3. Robert Patrick, Fredericksburg, Va., 2007 Ford Mustang, 6.343, 219.94 mph, vs. 11. Cary Goforth, Holdenville, Okla., 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.387, 218.44 mph; 4. Rob Mansfield, Margate, Fla., 2006 Pontiac GTO, 6.348, 218.69 mph, vs. 12. Brian Gahm, Lucasville, Ohio, 2007 Ford Mustang, 6.388, 220.12 mph; 5. Elijah Morton, Jacksonville, N.C., 2007 Ford Mustang, 6.350, 219.47 mph, vs. 13. Trevor Eman, Orlando, Fla., 2006 Ford Escort, 6.397, 218.27 mph; 6. Dean Goforth, Holdenville, Okla., 2006 Pontiac GTO, 6.358, 219.22 mph, vs. 14. Rickie Smith, King, N.C., 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.398, 217.32 mph; 7. Richard Freeman, Wynnewood, Okla., 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.358, 219.08 mph, vs. 15. Bert Jackson, Glen Allen, Va., 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, 6.405, 217.21 mph; 8. John Montecalvo, Center Moriches, N.Y., 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.362, 220.19 mph, vs. 16. Jason Collins, Rainbow City, Ala., 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.409, 217.60 mph.




Two Carolinians Among Summit All-Star Winners in Rockingham – North Carolinians Scott Macy of Randleman and Brett Nesbitt of McLeansville were among the winners of the IHRA Summit All-Stars Pro-Am event contested Saturday in conjunction with the 37th annual IHRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway.




Macy won an all-Plymouth Volare final round with Michael Beard of Seagrove, N.C., to win the Stock Eliminator title while Nesbitt drove his dragster past the similar machine of Rusty Cook of Cynthiana, Ky., to claim the Quick Rod title.




Other winners included Jason Lynch of Pleasant View, Tenn., in Top Sportsman, Marco Abruzzi of Warren, Ohio in Top Dragster, Pat Martin of London, Ohio, in Super Rod, Damien Hazelton of Ottawa, Ohio, in Hot Rod and Kevin Helms of Belle Rose, La., in Super Stock.




ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Final round results from Saturday’s IHRA Summit All-Stars Pro-Am event held in conjunction with the 37th annual IHRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway:




Top Sportsman – Jason Lynch, Pleasant View, Tenn., 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier, 7.145, 180.94 mph, def. Chris Gulitti, Spring, Texas, 1998 Pontiac Firebird, 7.211, 177.65 mph.


Top Dragster – Marco Abruzzi, Warren, Ohio, 8.885, 119.55 mph, def. Nick Folk, Durand, Ill., foul.


Quick Rod – Brett Nesbitt, McLeansville, N.C., 8.922, 183.24 mph, def. Rusty Cook, Cynthiana, Ky., 8.899, 175.23 mph.


Super Rod – Pat Martin, London, Ohio, 1927-T Ford roadster, 9.907, 164.13 mph, def. Brian Folk, Durand, Ill., 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier, 9.920, 144.10 mph.


Hot Rod – Damien Hazelton, Ottawa, Ohio, 1992 Chevrolet Camaro, 10.905, 127.52 mph, def. Tim Shuck, West Lafayette, Ohio, 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, 10.866, 129.13 mph.


Super Stock – Kevin Helms, Belle Rose, La., 1995 Oldsmobile Achieva, 9.133, 139.76 mph, def. Jimbo Fields, Gallatin, Tenn., 1968 Chevrolet Corvette, 10.067, 125.90.


Stock – Scott Macy, Randleman, N.C., 1978 Plymouth Volare, 10.975, 115.90 mph, def. Michael Beard, Seagrove, N.C., 1980 Plymouth Volare, 11.203, 113.91 mph.

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