While father Jim Whiteley was spending the weekend, as promised, on the Colorado River with daughter Alicia to celebrate her high school graduation, second-year Pro Mod driver Steven Whiteley was thousands of miles away in Englishtown, N.J., battling the stars of the NHRA at the Summernationals.
The weekend got off to a rough started with a bang – literally – when Whiteley’s engine gave up in a huge explosion before half-track. The YNot Racing Cadillac CTS-V, which hadn’t put a drop of oil on the track all year, rolled silently across the finish line at 51 mph, smoke pouring out from under it as Whiteley brought it safely to a stop and bailed out. The damage was extensive enough to keep the team from making the quick between-rounds turnaround in time to make it to the lanes for the Friday evening session, when the track and atmospheric conditions almost always are the best.
Whiteley had one more shot at breaking into the program in Saturday’s last-ditch session – just like last year at this race. But instead of an outstanding 5.88 that catapulted him from outside of the field all the way up to the No. 6 spot as in 2014, a decent 6.08 at 245 mph left him on the outside of the all-five-second field. He wound up 25th in the final order. 50-year-old Billy Glidden, son of all-time great Bob Glidden, went on to win his first NHRA title exactly 20 years after Bob won his last.