PITTSBURGH, Pa. — In life, there are a few things you can almost always count on: death, taxes and Peter Gallen being at or near the top of the charts at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.
The Pennsylvania native has had a stranglehold on the Nitro Funny Car class the past two years in Pittsburgh and the three-time IHRA champion doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Gallen once again rocketed to the top of the charts Friday Night in claiming the No. 1 qualifying position during the fourth annual IHRA Nitro Jam Pittsburgh Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports.
Peter Gallen continued his Nitro Funny Car dominance in Pittsburgh
Gallen was joined by Mark Cox, who was tops in Nitro Harley, along with top qualifiers Dean Goforth (Pro Stock), Don Blackshear (Nitro Altered) and Kat Moller (Jet Dragster).
Gallen made the jump to the No. 1 spot in the final nitro pass of the night, overtaking Bruce Litton who had taken the top qualifying position just one pair earlier. Gallen, driving the “Poverty Stricken” 1977 Monza, wrapped up Friday’s professional qualifying with a 4.971-second pass at 223.33 mph in 1,000 feet of real estate, just ahead of Litton’s 4.981 at 224.66 pass.
Local favorite Mike McIntire Jr., in the “McAttack” ’69 Camaro, qualified third with a 5.044 at 214.90, followed by Jake Crimmins and Jason Rupert. John Hale, Ronny Young and Gary Kraus round out the Nitro Funny Car field.
In a surprising turn, perennial favorites Tim Boychuk and Mark Sanders both failed to qualify for Saturday’s final eliminations in Nitro Funny Car.
Mark Cox will be the rider to beat Saturday in Nitro Harley
Mark Cox led the way in IHRA’s Nitro Harley category, putting down a 5.679 at 200.71 mph in the event-shortened 1,000-foot distance. Alvin Kobernusz was second with a 6.013 at 177.80, followed by Rocky Jackson, Bob Malloy and Mike Pelrine. The top three drivers in points – Mike Scott, Randal Andras and Jay Turner – all qualified in the bottom half of the field.
In Pro Stock, Dean Goforth followed up his surprising win two weeks ago in Cordova with the quickest lap Friday night as the entire Pro Stock field struggled to get down the tricky Pennsylvania track. Goforth put down a 4.617 at 118.45 in the eighth mile, followed by John DeFlorian Jr., Scott Hintz, Todd Hoerner and Pete Berner.
Don Blackshear was top qualifier in Nitro Altered, putting the “Bullet Bob” machine securely in the No. 1 qualifying position with a 5.492 at 195.06. Shane Harter in “Nasty Benjamin” was second with a 5.541 at 199.20, followed by Kyle Hough, Ron Maroney and Mike Hilsabeck.
Finally in Jet Dragster, Kat Moller, just two weeks removed from her first career win, blasted to the top spot in the Matrix-sponsored jet dragster with a 4.980 at 244.96 pass. Newcomer Allison West, in only her second career start, was second with a 4.980 at 244.57.