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Sat, 12 Apr 2014, 08:29 AM

Rupert, Goforth Once Again Top Nitro Jam Qualifying At IHRA Southern Nationals
Courtesy of IHRA Communications





BRADENTON, Fla. -- Can anyone slow down Jason Rupert?

That is the question on the minds of many as the California native and driver of the Bays and Rupert "Black Plague" Camaro once again topped the charts of IHRA's Nitro Funny Car class, taking the pole position for the third event in a row Friday at the IHRA Nitro Jam Southern Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park.


Jason Rupert once again paced the field in Nitro Funny Car
Rupert once again led the way in the popular nostalgia Nitro Funny Car class, clearing second place qualifier John Hale by six hundredths of a second. Cary Goforth topped the Mountain Motor Pro Stock class in the Dean's Casing Service 2013 Chevrolet Camaro, while Joey Sternotti (Nitro Harley), Ron Maroney (Nitro Altered) and Marisha Falk (Jet Dragster) all topped their respective classes entering eliminations on Saturday.

Rupert's dominating run has seen him take the top spot three races in a row with two victories. On Friday, his lap of 5.764 seconds at 248.89 miles per hour in the first round of qualifying paced the field, comfortably clearing Texas native John Hale in the "Mike Burkhart" Tribute '69 Camaro. Hale had a 5.825, 243.63 in the second round.

Rookie Mike McIntire Jr. of Mentor, Ohio was third with a 5.904, 235.41 in the "McAttack" '69 Camaro, while Bruce Litton (5.964) and Tim Boychuk (6.037) rounded out the top five. Mark Sanders, Ronnie Young and Mike Halstead rounded out the field.


Cary Goforth narrowly edged teammate Todd Hoerner
to take the top qualifying position in Mountain Motor Pro Stock in Bradenton
Wayne Mellinger, making his IHRA Nitro Jam debut in the "Candies Family Racing" '70 Challenger, failed to make the field.

In Pro Stock, it was Cary Goforth taking the top spot for the second race in a row, joining his Dean's Casing Service teammate Todd Hoerner in the first two spots. Goforth had a 6.252, 223.76, followed closely by Hoerner with a 6.253, 224.27.

Kevin Bealko qualified third with a 6.294, 224.83, followed by John Konigshofer (6.370) and John DeFlorian (6.743).

Local boy Joey Sternotti led the way in Nitro Harley, taking his 2012 nitro-fed Harley-Davidson to the top spot in near-record setting fashion with a 6.250, 219.08. If he can back up the number, it will be a brand new elapsed time record in the Nitro Harley class for the Naples, Florida native.

Tracy Kile qualified second with a 6.289, 227.73, followed by Mark Cox (6.311), Steve Dorn (6.330) and Jay Turner (6.336). Mike Pelrine and Randal Andras rounded out the field.


With a near record-setting performance,
Joey Sternotti sits atop the Nitro Harley
field with a chance at making history on Saturday
Ron Maroney drove the "Blind Faith" nostalgia machine to the pole position in Nitro Altered with a 6.427, 191.77, followed by Ron Hope in "Rat Trap" with a 6.580, 212.11. Don Blackshear, Mike Hilsabeck, Brian Hope and Shane Harter round out the field.

Finally, in Jet Dragster Marisha Falk jumped to the top of the charts with a 5.720, 279.85 pass, officially the fastest lap of the weekend. She was followed closely by teammate Elaine Larsen who had a 5.726, 271.57. Dawn Perdue was third, followed by Kat Moller.

Racing will continue on Saturday at Bradenton Motorsports Park with final eliminations in all professional and sportsman classes at the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam Southern Nationals.

IHRA NITRO JAM SOUTHERN NATIONALS QUALIFYING
Qualifying from the 2014 IHRA Nitro Jam Southern Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park.

Nitro Funny Car - 1. Jason Rupert, 5.764, 248.89; 2. John Hale, 5.825, 243.63; 3. Mike McIntire Jr., 5.904, 235.41; 4. Bruce Litton, 5.964, 241.87; 5. Tim Boychuk, 6.037, 241.09; 6. Mark Sanders, 6.058, 238.66; 7. Ronnie Young, 6.101, 231.77; 8. Mike Halstead, 6.105, 238.91; 9. Wayne Mellinger, 6.534, 155.35.

Pro Stock - 1. Cary Goforth, 6.252, 223.76; 2. Todd Hoerner, 6.253, 224.27; 3. Kevin Bealko, 6.294, 224.83; 4. John Konigshofer, 6.370, 221.18; 5. John DeFlorian, 6.743, 166.48.

Nitro Harley - 1. Joey Sternotti, 6.250, 219.08; 2. Tracy Kile, 6.289, 227.73; 3. Mark Cox, 6.311, 211.81; 4. Steve Dorn, 6.330; 216.97; 5. Jay Turner, 6.336, 219.13; 6. Mike Pelrine, 6.357, 215.00; 7. Randal Andras, 6.592, 218.39.

Nitro Altered - 1. Ron Maroney, 6.427, 191.77; 2. Ron Hope, 6.580, 212.11; 3. Don Blackshear, 6.702, 141.95; 4. Mike Hilsabeck, 7.444, 139.49; 5. Brian Hope, 8.589, 144.30; 6. Shane Harter, 10.396, 70.72.

Jet Dragster - 1. Marisha Falk, 5.720, 279.85; 2. Elaine Larsen, 5.726, 271.57; 3. Dawn Perdue, 5.804, 259.51; 4. Kat Moller, 7.034, 118.31.





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