(3-13-2004) - The action continued here in the Fourth Annual Competitionplus.com Spring Open presented by Torco Racing Fuels at Virginia Motorsports Park with another full day of testing and time trials accompanied by Chicago-style eliminations in the Pro Stock, Pro Modified, Pro Street and Funny Car divisions. At the end of the day, the winners were John Montecalvo in Pro Stock, Steve Salvadore in Pro Modified and Pat Musi in Pro Street. The Funny Car final will be run tomorrow.
Montecalvo, from Center Moriches, N.Y., got the win in the Pro Stock division after he beat Rick Jones in the final round of eliminations. Montecalvo earned his spot in the finals by record the low ET of 6.503 seconds during the first two rounds of qualifying today and Jones was second quickest with an ET of 6.513 seconds.
In the final round, Jones had the better start with a 0.052-second light against Montecalvo's 0.098 second start. But Jones' car started to shake the tires and he had to back off the throttle. Meanwhile in the right lane, Montecalvo had a strong run from start to finish and ended up with a 6.495 second elapsed time at 215.34 miles per hour for his quickest and fastest run of the weekend.
In the Pro Modified division, the two low qualifiers were Steve Salvadore, from Borre, Mass. and Kasey Janzen, from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Salvadore covered the quarter mile in 6.164 seconds at 232.43 miles per hour while Janzen had an ET of 6.195 seconds at 227.04 MPH.
When they faced off against each other in the elimination round, Janzen cut a 0.073 second light for the early lead. But by the time they reached the 60-foot mark on the track, Salvadore had already passed him and began to pull away for the win. Salvadore finished with a 6.294 second ET at 212.03 miles per hour and Janzen had a 6.496 second elapsed time and speed of 223.28 miles per hour.
After both air and track temperatures dropped, Pat Musi was declared the winner of the Pro Street division, based on his low ET of 6.593 seconds compared to runner-up Tony Christian's second quickest ET of 6.658 seconds.
Rather than declare a winner based on qualifying ETs, Funny Car finalists Jim Sickles and Mick Snyder decided to run their elimination race tomorrow afternoon. Sickles had the quickest run of the day at 5.699 seconds at 252.61 miles per hour and Snyder was just a but slower at 5.701 seconds at 249.72 miles per hour.
Torco Racing Fuels awarded a $500 prize to both Salvadore and Musi for having the lowest elapsed times in their divisions. Dragracinggirls.com also awarded a $500 prize to Salvadore for winning "Chicago Style" eliminations in the Pro Modified division.
Additional testing and the Funny Car elimination round will continue on Sunday here at Virginia Motorsports Park. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. and racing will start at 10:00 a.m.
Chris Simmons pic
Not bad for a test session
Uh oh, he'd better call a lawyer
(3-13-2004) - Full time attorney and part-time Pro Modified racer Joe Buckley found out the legal ramifications of having a stuck throttle. He was examind by the medical staff and releases. Buckley suffered no injuries. (Brian Wood Sequence)
SUNDAY - CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open closes up shop with quick day of testing
(3-14-2004) - The drivers that remained here at
Virginia Motorsports Park for the final day of the Fourth Annual
Competitionplus.com Spring Open presented by Torco Racing Fuels
were rewarded with great weather that led to some of the quick runs.
Jim Sickles, who was declared winner of the Funny Car Chicago-style elimination round because he had the lowest ET during qualifying, had a 5.67 run at 253.14 miles per hour while Ray Commisso took his Pro Mod car down the drag strip in 6.40 seconds at 221.30 miles per hour.
FRIDAY - Personal Marks and Unofficial Records Common at VMP
(3-12-2004) - When the second day of testing ended at the Fourth Annual Competitonplus.com Spring Open presented by Torco Racing Fuels today, Frank Gugliotta had made the quickest and fastest Pro Stock pass ever, Mike Moran had proven that his quick time of yesterday's session was no fluke, and Steve Salvadore had the lowest ET among the Pro Modified drivers this weekend.
As they did yesterday here at Virginia Motorsports Park, many of
the drivers worked on their 60-foot and mid-track times, getting
off the throttle before they reached the end of the quarter mile.
But those who made a complete pass down the drag strip were rewarded
Saturday evening with some of the quickest times ever seen at Virginia
Just a few minutes later, Gugliotta made the quickest and fastest run ever in a Pro Stock car when he covered the drag strip in 6.407 seconds at 215.41 miles per hour. Gugliotta's 60-foot time was 0.931 seconds and he reached the eighth-mile marker in 4.129 seconds at 171 miles per hour.
"How can I put it into words," Gugliotta said. "When
I stuck it in third and went into high gear, I knew it was getting
out of here. It wasn't hard to tell. It threw me back in the
Team owner Steve Thodos was smiling ear to ear after the run. "It feels great, don't it,"
Thodos asked. "Times like this confirm that I made the right choice for a driver."
The quickest Pro Mod pass of the day was Salvadore's 6.294 second pass at 227.38 miles per hour. Rookie Tom Carter earned his Pro Mod competition license when he made the first complete pass of his career in 6.623 seconds at 212.83 miles per hour.
Jim Sickles and Ronnie Midyette were the only two funny car drivers to hit the track on Friday but neither made a complete pass. Bobby Lagana launched his Top Fuel dragster but shook the tires and shut it down before he reached the 60-foot mark.
The corrected air during Friday evenings session was 275 feet below sea level and weather forecasts for Saturday call for the air to be even better then. The action continues here on Saturday with time trials starting at 10:00 a.m. and Chicago-style eliminations beginning at noon for the Pro Mod, Pro Stock, Pro Street and other professional classes. Gates open at 8:30 a.m.
(3-12-2004) – On his last run of the day, Frank Gugliotta of Mt. Airy, Md., made unofficial Pro Stock history. The hired gun for Steve Thodos put the team’s brand new Ford Escort into uncharted territory with a 6.407, 215.51. The atmospheric conditions were incredible as the air was at 275-below sea level.
A stunned Gugliotta was at a loss for words as he was handed the time slip for confirmation.
“How can you put this into words,” added Gugliotta, voted the most improved driver in IHRA.
“When I stuck this car into third and went high, I know this thing was on a pass” Gugliotta smiled as he kissed his brand new Rick Jones-built Escort. “That old Jon Kaase horsepower threw me back in the seat and those Hoosier Tires just held on to the track.”
Thodos was confident that his team can repeat in tomorrow’s “Chicago Style” eliminations.
“It feels absolutely great and I’m happy for Frank and my guys,” added Thodos. “It’s times like this that confirmed that I made the best choice for the driver.”
Just two years ago, former IHRA Pro Stock World Champion Gene Wilson ran a 6.51.
Chicago Style eliminations for the 4th annual CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open presented by Torco Racing Fuels begin at Noon on Saturday.
|The ring that cost Sonny Leonard a new engine sale?|
Honest Charley, Honestly – Word was floating through the pits that Floyd Cheek will be naming “Honest Charlie” speed shops as a sponsor for the upcoming tour.
We know our nuts and bolts – A crewmember for Pro Modified racer Ray Commisso was handed a bolt that came off of the track by one of the photogs if it came off of his car, “Nope, it’s not our bolt. We only used fine thread bolts because they take longer to fall off of the car.” – Crewman for Ray Commisso.
Hope she don’t read this – John Montecalvo’s fiancée LoisAnne has always been a hard worker and engine builder Sonny Leonard noticed it. He conveyed to Montecalvo in every conversation that he needed to keep the relationship intact, of course not for selfish reasons. Montecalvo then informed Sonny that he wanted to get her an engagement ring. Leonard counseled that it would be a wise move, keep her happy…that is until; he heard the ring was coming out of his next engine order. He then changed his tune, “You need to get rid of her.”
|Paul Rocco is having fun with his Saturn.|
En Route – Scotty Cannon and Fred Hahn called and informed the VMP crew they were en route. When told the air was 275-feet, Cannon’s Oakley-emblazoned rig immediately gained ten miles per hour.
Saturn and Nitro – Paul Rocca admits that at 62 years old, he’s ready to have some fun. The Saturn dealer is campaigning the only Pro Modified Saturn in existence. He made his first runs today. Rocco added, “I’m ready to let the clutch on this thing. My heart is beating, got the nitro pill under my tongue. I’m ready to roll.”
(3-11-2004) – The 4th annual CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open, presented by Torco Race Fuels, opened under outstanding conditions at Virginia Motorsports Park on Thursday. A handful of racers took advantage and more cars are expected to arrive tomorrow.
With temperatures in the mid-60s under clear blue skies, the first teams to arrive for the annual IHRA pre-season test session made the best of the good air and newly-resurfaced track at VMP to establish baselines for the balance of the weekend.
The mountain motor Pro Stock contingent were most in evidence during the first day’s testing, but Pro Outlaw standout Mike Moran set a performance standard that left many with their jaws hanging.
Moran, who ran the first 6-second, 200-mph pass in Street-Legal competition in the mid-1990s, reasserted his dominance over the category with a stunning 6.26, 239-mph blast behind the wheel of his twin-turbo-powered Monte Carlo.
Other noteworthy performances we turned in by Pro Stock pilots
Rick Jones, who notched passes of 6.54, 213 and 6.56, 2.12 and Carl
Baker, who posted a solid 6.56, 213.
Testing continues tomorrow with the professional cars at 11 AM.
Boss Hog Syndrome – The talk on Thursday throughout the pits was a few of the pre-entered entries in the Pro Modified division were unable to participate in testing because of their association with the Quick Eight Racers Association. Apparently the Carolinas-based sanctioning body scheduled their event a month after the Spring Open, yet promoter Don Plemmons counseled (or warned) their members who had already pre-entered the event that if they participated instead of coming to the event at Coastal Plains, they would be kicked out of the Association. The call came a week before the event. One of the longtime rules of the QERA has been that no driver would ever be punished for running an IHRA or NHRA event. Since 2001, the event has served as an official IHRA event. Two pre-entered nitrous racers, Steve Vick (2003 Champion) and Steve Cossis (2001 Runner-up), had no other choice but withdraw. In fact, Cossis stopped by VMP to pick up some fuel from event presenting sponsor Torco Racing Fuels.
Oh Man, That Stinks – Veteran Pro Stock runner Rick Jones was among the multitude of drivers that made short hits early on Thursday. Most of the early attempts came in the left lane. Jones made the switch to the right and made a complete lap from start to finish. There was only one problem. No time was registered because he left before the tree was activated. Upon later investigation, the tree was on regular grudge racing setting and created the problems. Jones laughed off the incident saying, “I’m glad that was the problem and it wasn’t me losing my edge.”
Jones said the run would have most likely been in the high-6.40s.
|Mike Moran's incredible 239.70 blast was the talk of the day. (David Anderson Pic)|
Gone but not forgotten – David Johnson, who worked for many years at Darlington Dragway, passed away. Johnson and CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open promoter Bobby Bennett created the first Groundhog Warm-up together in Darlington during the 1999 season. Johnson eventually headed to Shreveport and Bennett moved the event to VMP.
Johnson’s promoter spirit was a breath of fresh air to the industry and will be sorely missed. He was honored today with a moment of silence.
No wonder they don’t want them in Pro Modified – Turbo Pro Street racer Mike Moran fired a huge shot on his final shot Thursday. The Pro Street pioneer carded only a 1.06 sixty-foot, but made up the difference on the second-half with a 6.269, 239.70…yes …you read right 239.70.
Moran admits he’s gunning for a 6-teen before the weekend in his ex-Kenny Benso Pro Stocker. The real kicker is that the valve covers come off only once a day for engine maintenance.
“We want to be in Pro Modified…if the IHRA hears this…”When asked why he thinks the turbo cars aren’t in Pro Modified, Moran responded, “Good question.”
“We came out here hoping to make a statement and it looks like we succeeded.”
|Bryon Durham, son of pioneering drag racing legend Malcolm Durham, was putting in some laps with a Pro Stocker.|
Quotable – “I could run the best pass of my life and run a record and it would look slow compared to that.” – Jason Collins sitting next in the staging lanes after watching Moran’s 239-mph blast.
Another Durham in a Chevrolet – Thanks to
Enoch Love, a second-generation Durham is now running a Pro Stocker.
Bryon Durham, son of pioneering drag racing legend Malcolm Durham,
was putting in some laps with a small “707” Cubic Inch
motor. The team has an 814-inch ready to go soon. The elder Durham
added, “I like seeing him drive this car instead of those
motorcycles. I remember I used to cringe whenever I saw him riding
a scooter in the pits. I finally told him that he needed to drive
a real racing machine and put him behind the wheel of the Chevelle.”