In the finest moment of his young Pro Mod career, Steven Whiteley assumed the early qualifying lead at the PDRA Mid-America Open at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. With an outstanding 3.89 at 190 mph on the eighth-mile course – the only run in the 3.80s in that entire session – Whiteley put himself ahead of everybody in the huge 23-car field, which, in PDRA competition, is known as Pro Boost.
At the wheel of the stunning YNot Racing Cadillac CTS-V, Whiteley followed with a run nearly as good in the second session until problems set in in high gear, a coasting 3.94 at just 183 mph. In the final qualifying session, already solidly qualified in the fast half of the field with the off-the-trailer 3.89, the Grand Junction, Colo.-based team swung for the fences but the track couldn’t hold it and Whiteley had to click it off early.
Unfortunately, Whiteley was out of the gas early again Sunday afternoon in eliminations. Facing the ’00 Corvette of Georgia’s Colby Barber in the first race of the first round of professional eliminations at the rain-plagued event, Whiteley blasted off the line with a respectable .062 reaction time but was done in by massive tire-shake in low gear and slowed to a 6.69.