American Drag Racing League (ADRL) Pro Nitrous driver Doug Riesterer is trying for his third straight win in the class, and the talented Texan got off to a strong start on Friday at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.
On a rain-soaked day in Martin, Mich., Riesterer delivered the most impressive run of the day, going 3.80 at 195.22 mph on new Hoosier Tires to set a track record and take the top qualifying spot at the Summer Drags VIII.
Riesterer is trying to become the first driver in Pro Nitrous to win three straight races since Rickie Smith did it in 2010.
â€œWe put new tires on, it was a different day and a different track. You never know what to expect,â€ Riesterer said. â€œWe put our best guess into it and I thought there was about a 20 percent chance it would go down the track. With new tires, you usually struggle but hopefully this is a good indicator.â€
Two separate rain delays that totaled six hours wiped away one total round of qualifying and only three classes (Extreme Pro Stock, Summit Racing Top Sportsman and Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified) finished two qualifying sessions.
With the inclement weather, the second qualifying session will resume on Saturday at 10 a.m., leading to the third qualifying session. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at their regularly scheduled time of 3:30 p.m.
Other No. 1 qualifiers after Friday included Bubba Stanton (Pro Extreme), Todd Moyer (Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5), Billy Vose (Pro Extreme Motorcycle), Cary Goforth (Extreme Pro Stock), Mike Castellana (Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified) and Bob Gulitti (Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman).
Immediately after Riesterer finished his 3.80, a heavy and driving rain came at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.
When racing resumed, several competitors delivered strong runs including Bob Rahaimâ€™s 3.846, and 3.85s from Jim Laurita and Robert Patrick. With his spot for eliminations secured, Riesterer will strive for continued consistency on Saturday.
â€œIf I knew it was going to rain, I probably would have calmed it way down,â€ Riesterer said. â€œIâ€™m really happy with the 3.80. It was a nice run. Weâ€™ll probably keep the same approach for (Saturday).â€
Pro Extreme grabbed the spotlight for only one session on Friday, but Bubba Stanton made the most of it with an incredible 3.669 at 207.04 mph. It was nearly a career best run for the 2006 PX world champion who seems to be rounding into form.
â€œWeâ€™ve had our troubles and weâ€™ve struggled most of the year,â€ Stanton said. â€œWeâ€™re thinking that weâ€™ve finally got all the bugs out and the car is really responding to all the changes weâ€™ve made.â€
Frankie Taylorâ€™s 3.674 has him second, while Brandon Pesz and Alex Hossler ran 3.682 and 3.698, respectively.
Mick Snyder, the PX points leader and winner of the last three events, is currently not qualified with two sessions remaining. Meanwhile, Stanton is hopeful for several more strong performances on Saturday.
â€œI think itâ€™s got a little better in it, but weâ€™re not going to try a whole lot,â€ Stanton said. â€œWe want to go rounds and be consistent. Going rounds, thatâ€™s what weâ€™re here for.â€
Cary Goforth had a welcome sight in Extreme Pro Stock, running a 4.068 at 175.62 mph. It was a significant turnaround for Goforth, the 2011 XPS world champion, after he had struggled at the recent U.S. Drags in Richmond, Va.
â€œWeâ€™re finally getting back to form. Weâ€™ve got a long way to go, but it wouldnâ€™t be any fun if it wasnâ€™t the best guys in the world,â€ Goforth said. â€œRight now weâ€™re happy and we hope that translates into (Saturday).â€
Doug Kirk had a strong pass in the night session as well, running a 4.071 at 174.92. But Goforth instantly knew his Jerry Haas Race Cars 2010 GXP was on one of its better recent runs this season.
â€œThe car took off and set me back in the seat, and thatâ€™s always a good indicator,â€ Goforth said. â€œThen I hit the shift light and I knew it was on a great run.â€
Mike Castellana delivered a brilliant pass under the lights in Aeromotive Pro Modified, running a 3.874 at 188.15 mph to take the top spot through two runs.
Jeff Naiser is right behind with a 3.893 at 188.14 mph.
A pair of passes in the 3.90s were thrown out in the first round in Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5 when Dan Myers crossed the centerline during his run with Alan Pittman, disqualifying both passes. Myers ran 3.99 and Pittman put together what would have been a round-best 3.97.
With that, Todd Moyer claimed the top spot with a 4.196 at 191.88 mph.
Billy Voseâ€™s 4.1566 gave him the top spot in Pro Extreme Motorcycle, as the two-time ADRL champion also went a round-best 169.75 mph. Casey Stemper, coming off a win in Virginia, is second with a 4.1586. Paul Gast is the only other rider in the 4.10s, putting together a 4.16.
Bob Gulitti put together an historic pass in Summit Racing Top Sportsman after his 4.05 at 177.73 mph gives him the quickest run in the history of the class.
Gulitti will have a chance to back up the run on Saturday to set a new E.T. world record and also become the No. 1 qualifier for the first time in 2012. It would also end Chuck Mohnâ€™s string of No. 1 qualifiers that has included all five races this season. Mohn is currently No. 2 with a 4.095 at 173.70 mph.
Three-time class winner Bo Butner was the top qualifier in the SuperCar Showdown, running a 5.849 at 117.62 mph. Making the first-ever pass in the new 2013 Mustang Cobra Jet, Wes Wells went an impressive 6.023 at 115.96 mph.
In Pro Junior Dragster, Kyle Dvorak was the No. 1 qualifier with a 9.9186 at 82 mph.
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)