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Saturday's Report

Day Two at the Rockies - Lots of Action

11:00 AM

It's now day two of the Rocky Mountain Nationals, and despite the weather forecasts, the rain has stayed away, the winds have abated and the conditions have been almost perfect for drag racing. That was certainly in evidence in last night's second qualifying session as new track records were set and reset in Pro Stock, Pro Mod and Funny Car.

To cap an almost perfect evening of racing, the last race car down the track, Canada's own Todd Paton turned a career best in his Top Fuel dragster, bringing down the very partisan house with an excellent 4.70 - 314 mph pass to send the fans home happy, not to mention an elated crew and driver.

Other Canuck succeses were new track record holder in Pro Mod, Al Billes of Barrie, Ontario, turning an awesome 6.15 at 234 mph to easily top the field, and defending IHRA World Champion, Rob Atchison of London, Ontario, twice resetting the track speed record, finishing with a best of 5.842 - 240.42, to also set a new e.t. record in (alcohol) funny car.

Additionally, three of the eight qualifiers in Funny Car are Canadians, and all four alternates claim Canadian citizenship. Quite a strong showing for the blown alcohol flopper contingent from north of the border.

The big, and still developing, story in Top Fuel is the imminent possibility of the first injected nitro qualifer in IHRA Top Fuel history. With only seven supercharged entries in the class this weekend, by default we will have one of the three injected entires in attendance qualified.

Last night wasn't the best display of the capabilities of the injected cars as Winnipeg's Scott Murray couldn't get out of reverse after his burnout, Ed Verenka (Edmonton) absolutely blitzed the tires as soon as he hit the throttle and burbled his way down track to a less than scintillating 15.85 at a paltry 74 mph.

Bringing up the rear of the injected story was local racer, Keith Falconer, coming back to the sport after a very long layoff and doing nothing to enhance his resume with a very troubled lap on no more than three cylinders. Even though it was supposed to be his final licensing pass, he will no doubt have to repeat the process again today, hopefully with much better results.

We finished the evening's events with a pass by the Jet Ambulance (hilariously described as a 'Jet Truck' in the morning newspaper) and a fireworks show to finish the night's festivities.

There's a full schedule planned for today, but we do have some pending weather issues to deal with, leading to a revised qualifying schedule for the pro classes, starting at 2pm, instead of the previously advertised 4pm.

We'll finish uploading and captioning yesterday's photos, including an awesome shot of a near wardrobe malfunction by one of the Hooters girls, captured by ace lensman Dean Murdoch. Check it out for sure.

Our next update will be much later today, barring photos, which we will upload as soon as we have time to get to the computer and open Photoshop and the FTP program. Stay tuned for all the news we have time to post, and in the meantime, keep checking out DragRace Central for all the results.

12:15 PM

The latest update from Edmonton's BudPark is that we're.... on hold for rain. Yes, the gods finally deserted the Rocky Mountain Nationals... at least temporarilyand the track is just too wet to race on at the moment. The precipitation is not descending in copious quantities, but it's just enough to issue a "cease and desist" order to the racers. We'll get back to you when the action resumes. In the meantime, I'll get to work on the delayed dragster diary of our drive up here on Wednesday night.

We've also finished all the captions and added more pictures to Friday's photo page, plus posted the three pics we snapped this morning on Saturday's page. Hope you enjoy them.

6:00 PM

It's starting to look a lot like we're not going to see any more racing, and in fact, as I write these words, the p.a. announcer is telling us that we're done for today and to start planning for tomorrow. It's been a long, cold, wet, day here at Bud Park and at this point, it would be nice to head for the motel, have a nice hot shower and start planning where to eat dinner tonight. And figure out who's buying.....

The latest official word is that the decision will be made in less than an hour, but our best indicator so far is the meeting that's being convened right now at the base of the tower for all Bud Park and IHRA staff.

That's it from the second day of qualifying at the IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals