Epping - Reporter's Notebook
Notes from Jim Luikens' Reporter's Notebook at the 9th Annual Amalie North American Nationals
Despite not qualifying Mitch was able to keep his sense of humor. Located at the front edge of his pit was a pair of well-used drag slicks for sale. The hand lettered cardboard sign explained that the slicks had been used by an elderly lady only to drive to and from church on Sunday. The price for the pair was a reasonable $40.
Bobby Lagana, Jr. had a new helmet here that had provisions for a HANS device. Bobby was experimenting with the helmet here as he works towards the day when he will use the HANS device in competition.
Bobby Lagana Recent IHRA Top Fuel participant Keith Stark was missing in action here. Keith has identified a problem with the top of his pistons being too thin when machined for Top Fuel competition. As a result he has ordered a new style piston that has a thicker material cross-section to its top. Expect to see Keith back in competition as soon as his new pistons are received. Last weekend he tuned unheralded Karl Brounkowskis A-Fueler to a fine second qualifying position and a final-four finish in Top Alcohol Dragster at the NHRAs 50th Anniversary US Nationals.
Canadas Rick DiStefano dominated Pro Modified qualifying with his 1953 Corvette. On Friday he recorded a 6.146 second elapsed time to qualify number one with the Australian-style fuel injector that he has been using on his supercharged engine. For Saturdays sessions he switched to a new style three hole injector that was manufactured in Great Britain. The new-style injector had shown significant horsepower gains during dyno testing. Saturdays afternoon session became a throw away when the track temperature soared and almost no one made it down the track successfully. After calming his car down for the night session Ricky D, as hes been christened by TVs Johnny Rocca, recorded a 6.147, which was the best time of the session. On race day he notched a 6.161 first round victory before winning a 6.427
Funny Car driver Scott Wildgust showed up here with new sponsorship from Bars Leaks Head Gasket Repair products. Scott had favorably impressed Bars Leaks company officials with the exposure he had gained this year with his godonkeey.com promotional efforts. Scott was quick to confirm that he would have been done for this year if Bars Leaks hadnt stepped in.