LIGHTS OUT 8 WEDNESDAY - WOODRUFF JUMPS OUT TO EARLY R-V-W QUALIFYING
What doesn't kill us only serves to make us stronger.
Wednesday evening, during the opening qualifying session of the Lights Out 8 drag radial event, Mark Woodruff in full view of his competition in the Radial vs. The World division flexed his muscles en route to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position.
Woodruff, just two weeks after crashing his Corvette in the finals of the U.S. Street Nationals, pushed his repaired entry to a 3.835 elapsed time at 212.36 miles per hour.
A marathon repair session by Larry Jeffers Race Cars and his entire shop enabled a two-week turnaround with 240 man hours and Woodruff believes Wednesday's performance serves as an excellent testimony,
"We came here knowing we have a good hot rod," Woodruff said. "The tune-ups we learned in Bradenton we applied here, and went a 3.98 in testing. The car was running straight, and it went an .87 after that. We studied the data and felt confident we could come up there tonight and run what we did.
"We got that M&M torque converter and two-speed 400 lock-up in it, I think the speed on the scoreboard proved it's a bad hombre."
Woodruff was .067 quicker than No. 2 Scott Coxwell, who stopped the timers with a 3.902 elapsed time. The extreme performance advantage out of the box came as little surprise to Woodruff when he called his shot back in the trailer.
"Honestly I felt it could run that, and Jamie Miller helps me with the car, and what we saw earlier in the test run we felt like we could do it. I told Steve Petty I felt we could run a 3.82. There's a bunch of, bunch fast cars behind us. I don't expect that number to live. It's nice to come out first round and lay down a nice run. Hopefully, we can stay in the top half of the field come Saturday's first round."
Steven Fereday (3.911), Ryan Martin (3.912) and Keith Haney (3.915) rounded out the top five positions.
There were a couple of scary moments, starting with the opening pair when Ron Clark lost control of his supercharged Volkswagon and barrel-rolled 11 times in a fiery crash where his car jumped the retaining wall before coming to a stop right side up. Clark was alert, conscious and talking to emergency personnel. He was transported to the South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta, Ga.
Two pairs later Josh Klugger's Mustang caught fire in the shutdown area. He emerged uninjured.
Shawn Ayres anchored the 32-car field with a 5.887 elapsed time.