With a track record 4.040-seconds pass that also set an official national speed record of 179.95 mph, Extreme Pro Stock (XPS) driver John DeFlorian was poised to pick up his fifth top-starting honor of the year with one last qualifying opportunity remaining for the ADRL World Finals VIII presented by CarSafe.
“That’s really big for us; that would mean we qualified number one at half of all the races this year,” DeFlorian pointed out. “I can’t give my team enough credit for that.”
With atmospheric conditions expected to remain consistently favorable on Saturday, DeFlorian also hinted the record setting may not be over.
“I told my guys on the way down here that we may see 180 miles an hour this weekend and I still think that’s possible. If it stays like this we could see some interesting numbers on the ET side, too,” he added, as the first three-second run remains available for the taking.
Within qualifying at the Texas Motorplex, the XPS community also kept an ADRL tradition alive at the World Finals VIII by staging their own Battle for the Belts, a showdown between the top-eight points earners that officially was dropped from the overall program this year.
“All the credit for the Battle for the Belts belongs to Tom Pierson (crew chief for Richie Stevens Jr.),” DeFlorian said. “He organized everything, he bought the belt and had it made, he probably started working on this about five races ago and made sure everyone was on board.”
The XPS class even took care of their own purse for the special race within a race, with each qualifier posting up $1250—in cash—with $7500 destined for the winner and the $2500 going to the runner-up.
As the number-eight starter, DeFlorian drew points leader Cary Goforth to race during round two of qualifying and led stripe to stripe to win by half a car length. Also scoring opening-round Belt wins were number-five Pete Berner over fourth-place Todd Hoerner, second-place Stevens over seventh David Schorr, and number-three Brian Gahm over John Pluchino in sixth.
In the Belt semis, Berner overcame a slight five-thousandths holeshot by DeFlorian to advance with a 4.051 at 177.53 that gave him lane choice over Stevens, who went 4.064 at 176.72 to beat a tire-shaking Gahm. The final will be held within the fourth and final qualifying session on Saturday before World Finals VIII eliminations begin.
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