That set the stage for a final qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Again, the weather did not cooperate saturating the surface throughout the morning. As the pro qualifying session tried to kick off shortly after 2:00 pm with Pro Stocks they were again halted. Not by rain this time, instead by sunshine.
Yes you read that right; it was sunshine that was preventing any cars from traversing the 1320. The track had experienced so much precipitation in the last 24 hours that the sunshine was actually causing the moisture to come up through the track surface near the finish line. This again put the event in a holding pattern, but through the determination of the US 131 Motorsports Park staff they were able to solve the problem of the weepers and the racers were again summoned to the track.
Kevin Lennon on his lone qualifying attempt
The second and final round of qualifying was kicked off with Kevin Lennon in his “Shake N Bake” Arrow making a solo hit as he was unable to make it to the starting line Friday night. At the hit of the throttle Lennon’s car went up in smoke. He eventually nursed it down the track only to leave oil on the surface. After another clean-up it was Jim Maroney in the “Candies and Hughes” ‘Cuda against Steve Nichols’ Camaro flopper. Maroney had his run from the night before disqualified for oiling the track surface.
Jim Maroney ran a 6.02 on this run to just miss the field
Steve Nichols' beautiful Camaro on the burnout. Unfortunately Nichols came up short and did not make it into the field.
At the hit Nichols’ car was immediately down on power as raw fuel billowed out of the left bank of the motor. He managed to leg the car to the finish line, but he was not quick enough to qualify. Maroney didn’t put any oil down this time and briefly made the field but ultimately his time would not be worthy of making the quick 8. Next were Richard Hartman and Fred Farndon in his “Play it Loud Again” Firebird that was once part of the Bowen racing stable.
Farndon ran an off pace 6.71 at only 149 mph, while Hartman only slightly improved on his run from the night before with a 6.01 at 233mph. Hartman’s run was good enough to earn him the 8th spot, while Farndon would have to pack up for the weekend.
Fred Farndon in an ex Shawn Bowen car
The next pair included Greg Jacobsmeyer in the “All Star” Challenger against the “Mr. Explosive” Mustang of Mark Sanders. Again, Sanders needed to get down the track and, as I had previously shared, it was going to take a very low six-second pass if not a five for him to qualify. This was definitely not out of the realm of possibility for the Sanders’ crew who is prone to running very quick ETs and has their share of event titles.
Mark Sanders spun the tires on both of his attempts and miss the show.
As the ambers flashed Jacobsmeyer launched and made a good consistent pass, while Sanders’ car immediately went up in smoke. Sanders valiantly wrestled the car while getting on and off the throttle multiple times. When the smoke cleared Sanders had crossed the traps at a 7.05 and just like that the title contenders were down to three.
Greg Jacobsmeyer's 5.87 from from Friday night was good enough to qualify him 6th
Meanwhile in the other lane Jacobsmeyer ran a 5.98, but his 87 from the night before would keep him in the 6th spot. The following pair featured the “Crop Duster” Monza driven by Marc White against the “US Male” Vega of Bruce Litton. White makes a strong run, but not as strong as the night before with a 5.83 while Litton crosses the strip at a 5.97 and improved to 7th. Mike McIntire Jr. and his orange “Mc Attack” Camaro was one of those competitors that were still in contention for the championship. He was paired alongside John Hale. As both cars left, Hale’s car immediately went up in smoke, while McIntire hauled to a near 50 with a 5.617 at more than 256 mph. Hale’s 82 from Friday would keep him 5th in the field.