PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Torrential rain and a less than favorable weekend forecast forced the cancellation of the remainder of the IHRA Nitro Jam Pittsburgh Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.
The professional classes will complete the race at a Nitro Jam event to be determined later this year. Spectators can hold on to their tickets in a two-for-one deal in which every ticket will get in two people at an IHRA event at Pittsburgh Raceway Park in 2015.
“We really wanted to get this event in for the great fans here in Pittsburgh; unfortunately mother nature had other plans. With the storms we saw this evening, combined with an awful forecast for Sunday, we really had no choice but to call the race,” said Skooter Peaco, IHRA Vice President.
IHRA’s professional classes completed two rounds of competition on Saturday before the rains came. Those classes, plus all additional Nitro Jam categories, will finish their respective races at a Nitro Jam event later this year.
In Nitro Funny Car, the top four drivers in qualifying all advanced to the second round. Top qualifier Peter Gallen bested Gary Kraus with the best pass of the afternoon with a 4.923-second pass at 224.10 miles per hour to move on to the semifinals. In other Nitro Funny Car action Bruce Litton defeated Ronny Young, Mike McIntire Jr. defeated John Hale and Jake Crimmins defeated recently crowned IHRA World Champion Jason Rupert.
Rupert locked up the IHRA Nitro Funny Car World Championship Friday night when Mark Sanders, the closest driver to him in points, failed to qualify for the race. By qualifying in the top five, Rupert locked up his first IHRA championship and his fourth nostalgia Nitro Funny Car championship in a row, adding three titles in the Hot Rod Heritage Series.
“It feels great to win this championship. Everyone out here tries so hard and all of these guys are such great drivers, with such great cars and tuners, it is truly an honor to be the champion of this group,” Rupert said. “I have a lot of heroes in drag racing, but the guy I really look at is Frank Manzo. He has won so many championships and he is so humble about it and I now understand why.”
Nitro Harley was the other class to complete its runs on Saturday, with Bob Malloy, Rocky Jackson, Mike Scott and Larry Brancaccio advancing to the semifinals.
Sportsman competitors will complete their competition for an IHRA Ironman trophy at a PRP event later this year.