NORWALK, Ohio (June 23) — Part-time Top Fuel racer Dom Lagana will be tasked with carrying the banner for CatSpot Organic Cat Litter when the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals turn to eliminations Sunday in Northwest Ohio.
A long string of on-and-off rain showers plagued Friday and Saturday’s qualifying sessions, cancelling two of the four time trials outright and reducing the other two to a guessing game on the freshly-poured track surface. In the end, Lagana was able to squeak onto the 16-car elimination ladder with an off-pace 5.039-second shutoff pass at a coasting 140.69 mph.
Teammate Scott Palmer wasn’t as fortunate, missing the cut for the first time this season.
“It’s just been a tricky weekend,” Lagana said. “Even last night, when we ran after rain, it had cooled down to probably run a decent number. But a lot of teams still missed the setup. Not everybody struggled but plenty of us did.
“Today, me and Scott tried hard to improve and we both made it pretty far out there but ultimately spun the tires. We wanted that one bad because we kinda knew it could rainout and that would be the only chance to improve. That’s exactly what happened. It sucks, but it is what it is. We’re getting there with the car but we need more passes.”
Lagana and Palmer both raved about the efforts of the vaunted NHRA Safety Safari for their countless attempts to dry the track after each shower but ultimately their efforts were fruitless and officials were forced to set the field after two rounds.
“I really wanted another run, A, so Scott could get in, and B, so we could try and move up in the field and make a solid run that would show where we’re at with the car.
“Now we’ll have to do our best to hold down the CatSpot colors tomorrow. We all work as a team, us and Scott. Just because he’s not running tomorrow, he’s still running as a part of our car tomorrow. That’s what we are out here for. If we can get lucky enough to line up against some of the guys he’s close to in the points, hopefully we can take them out to keep his spot in the top 10. We’re going to play blocker as hard as we can.”
Lagana has a tough draw in Round 1 as he’ll face top qualifier Clay Millican, a two-time winner on tour this year who is currently ranked second in the world. Millican pulled off a steady pass of 3.750 at 332.67 mph in Saturday’s lone session.
“We’re just going to stick with our game plan and adjust to the track conditions tomorrow,” Lagana said. “Hopefully we can figure this car out a little more. We’re getting there with it, just not getting there as quickly as we thought but we’ll be alright.”
Shane Conway, driver of the Magic Dry/CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Alcohol Dragster, failed to qualify for this event.