From worst to first, that was Pat Stoken’s performance in the third and final round of Pro Nitrous qualifying Sep. 28, for the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson.
Stoken was mired in last place with his ’69 Camaro among 17 entries at Summit Motorsports Park with only a dismal six-second run to show after two sessions. He stepped up with a solid 3.836-seconds effort at 197.62 mph on Friday night, however, to bump Doug Riesterer’s 3.843 from the top spot.
“We had kind of struggled the first two passes and the track was only 70 degrees when we went up there, so we really didn’t know if we’d get down on that last pass,” Stoken said. “We had changed things up quite a bit and it looks like we went in the right direction.”
Still, Stoken added the car shook a little through second gear, “so it probably would’ve been in the .70s if it hadn’t done that,” he figured.
Stoken had a full complement of family members with him at the track, including his wife, Terrie, sons Cory and Casey, and his twin brother, Mike, who was watching him race for the first time in 15 years.
“Maybe they’re bringing me good luck, but we’ve got some good people helping us, too,” Stoken said, singling out Brandon Switzer. “He’s made a big difference here.”
If his time holds up through Saturday’s final qualifying round it will be Stoken’s third number-one start in six runnings of the ADRL Ohio Drags.
“I didn’t even realize that until I heard (ADRL announcer Bret Kepner) say that over the P.A., so I guess that’s good,” said Stoken, who hails from Eureka, Montana, but keeps his race rig at RJ Race Cars in Missouri between ADRL events. “I don’t know why we do so well at these northern races; maybe it’s just that we’re northerners, too, and we’re used to the conditions.”
Just one thousandth behind Riesterer in qualifying were Robert Mathis and points leader Bob Rahaim, who both ran 3.844, but Mathis got third place based on running slightly faster at 197.31 compared to Rahaim at 195.56 mph.
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