Roger Burgess rocketed to the No. 1 spot in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Challenge Friday with the only run to break into the five-second zone.
Burgess' field-leading salvo registered 5.993 at 243.55 mph, the quickest run of his career and the quickest and fastest of the event thus far.
"That was a lot of fun," Burgess said. "Al [Billes, Burgess' tuner] had the car 'hopped up' as he calls it, and we were able to record our first five-second run with me as a driver.
"The track was a little tricky today, as you can see by our other cars that were having a little bit of trouble here and there, but we'll get it figured out. We've got tomorrow. As always, the NHRA Safety Safari did a fantastic job setting the track up, and the problem is always the first 60 to 100 feet. If we can get through there, we know we're on a run."
Just behind Burgess was Danny Rowe in his Sterling Bridge '67 Camaro.
"We had a tough time in the first round, but Jimmy Rector [crew chief] made some adjustments on the car and we ran a six-flat," Rowe said. "He did everything he needed to do, settled the car down and it went right down the track."
Leading the nitrous-powered fraternity was 2001 Gatornationals Pro Mod winner Ricky Smith, who put his Al Anabi-sponsored '68 Camaro in the provisional No. 7 spot with teammate Burton Auxier at No. 12 and nitrous-stalwart Mike Castellana outside the field at No. 18.
After struggling with a hot track durng the first round, Smith said he used a safe approach in round two and ran a 6.052 at 234.45 mph.
"We just wanted to get in the show and get down the track," Smith said. "There's more left in it, at least another two or three hundredths."
Orlando-based Brad Personett used his turbo-power to take the 10th spot, delivering a 6.086 at 242.32 mph in front of cheering family and friends.
"We've put so much into this," Personett said. "We're real excited. We've got the parts, pieces and tools to make stuff happen to get down the racetrack. There was a lot of beating our head against the wall, but we're finally getting somewhere."