IHRA: Harper ready to put last weekend in the rearview mirror

IHRA: Harper ready to put last weekend in the rearview mirror


IHRA: Harper ready to put last weekend in the rearview mirror


Billy Harper is well on his way to making up for a miserable performance last weekend at Maryland International Raceway, with a dominating run during first-round qualifying at the Mopar Canadian Nationals Presented by Williams Racing at Grand Bend Motorplex in Ontario.

Last week, Harper set fast time in the Pro Mod class, but suffered a terminal engine failure even before he could make his first run in eliminations. With a fresh engine under the hood of his 2000 Dodge Viper, the Paducah, Kentucky, driver took out a surprisingly strong Melanie Salemi with an event-best run of 5.948 seconds at 238.41 mph. Sunday, he’ll face off against San Andreacchi, who beat Pablo Giust. Top qualifier Bruce Boland beat Jay Santos.

In the AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car class, Jason Rupert, two-time IHRA champ – like Billy Harper – is working to erase the memory of last weekend, when he lost in the first round. He won first round Saturday night with a best-in-class run of 5.661 and 254.74 mph, over Steve Nichols. He’ll face Mike McIntire tomorrow, who took out Paul Romine with a solid run of 5.747 at 255.30 mph. Mark Sanders takes the Mr. Explosives to Sunday finals against Shawn Bowen. Bowen was to face last week’s winner, Tim Boychuk, but Boychuk broke on the starting line.

In Pro Stock, Cary Goforth continued his domination of the class, making a best-of-the-weekend pass of 6.30 at 227.71 mph, defeating John DeFlorian. Jay Carr beat John Konigshofer; Larry O’Brien won with a holeshot over Dean Goforth, and Trevor Eman, last week’s runner-up to Cary Goforth, beat Matt Bertsch.

Bob Malloy remained on top in Nitro Motorcycle, hoping to make it two wins in a row. He had a bye run of 6.313 at 215.72 mph; he’ll face Tracy Kile tomorrow, who defeated Frank Capone, who broke. Jay Turner beat Mark Conner, who broke; Turner will meet Jake Stordeur tomorrow, who beat Rob Brown.
In a Top Fuel exhibition match, Smax Smith defeated IHRA Nitro Funny Car regular Bruce Litton, and Todd Payton took out Ike Maier.

Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, with Pro Eliminations at 1 p.m., and Pro Finals at 3 p.m., though there’s plenty of Summit Sportsman, Pro Am and ET racing in between. Log on to Grandbendmotorplex.ca for more information.

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