LAURITA LANDS NO. 1 IN PRO NITROUS

Written by Ian Tocher; Photos by Roger Richards.

Laurita Pro Nitrous qualifying for the ADRL Simply Phones U.S. Drags VI turned into a battle between teammates June 8, as Pat Stoken briefly bumped Jim Laurita from his class-leading perch in round two.

"We're working with Reher-Morrison on a new fuel injection package and these are the two cars we're using to develop it, so it's an open-book deal where we're sharing all the information and just trying to get both cars to run as good as we can. They're almost identical," explained Brandon Switzer, crew chief for both Laurita and Stoken.

With a five-hour delay to the event's intended 11 a.m. start time after a brief, but heavy rain shower exacerbated the deluge on the track the day before, only two of three scheduled qualifying sessions were run to determine the qualifying order among 16 entries.

Laurita was quick off the mark in his Switzer Dynamics '68 Camaro, leading the field with a 3.841 at 195.53 mph after the first round was in the books, followed by Al-Anabi's Stevie Jackson and Stoken, who both ran 3.880, but Jackson ran about three-quarters of a mile an hour faster to get the nod at 192.66 mph.

In round two, Stoken stepped up with a 3.806 at 196.85 to assume the lead, but Laurita responded immediately in the next pair out with an excellent 3.771 pass at a class-leading 198.90 mph. Meanwhile, John Hall improved his position from fourth to third with a 3.850 at 195.65, while Jackson also dropped a hundredth to 3.870 at 193.71, but dropped a position to fourth place.

"It's all coming together; the gains we're making as far as the performance and the development goes, we're all real happy with," Switzer said. "It's actually coming together even a little bit better than what we planned." 

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