WHITELEY BOWS OUT EARLIER THAN EXPECTED
First Round Matchup Takes J&A Service Cadillac Out at Gatornationals.
GAINESVILLE, FLA. – After qualifying number five this past weekend in a competitive 16 car field, J&A Service Pro Mod driver Steven Whiteley would compete against his toughest opponent, teammate and Father, Jim Whiteley, first round at the 49th annual Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals.
There were 35 class entries, and the track conditions were tricky. For Whiteley and his team, it would be qualifying pass number two of 5.78 seconds, at 253 mph, that would secure the number five qualifying spot in the toughest competition of the weekend.
“There is a lot to be said for even qualifying this weekend” Steven said. “For a while we held the longest qualifying record in the class. I missed Charlotte last year because Dalaina and I were expecting our baby girl, which I wouldn’t have missed for the world.”
Whiteley continued, “Pro Mod is a tough class, and more cars are showing up all of the time. As the popularity of the class grows, the equipment improves, and the driver’s ability to react off of the line gets better.”
Qualifying in the fifth position would set up a round one matchup with the number twelve qualifier, which happened to be Steven’s Father, Jim Whiteley.
Before first round, Steven forecasted what would happen. “My dad is quick off of the line. He almost always gets me, but I think we can outrun him.”
Round one would be one for the record books. Both drivers had an identical reaction time of .063 seconds, but the stripe would ultimately go to Jim Whiteley, who would outrun his son by one thousandth of a second; 5.868 seconds to 5.869 seconds.
“My dad taught me all the tricks I know,” the 25 year old said. “But apparently not all the tricks he knows. Congratulations to my dad and his team on the round win.”
The E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Series Presented by J&A Service will reconvene in Houston at the NHRA Spring Nationals, April 20-22, where Whiteley will continue his pursuit of the series championship.
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