Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 - Page 120

Elijah Morton Takes Runner-Up in Mountain Motor Pro Stock Invitational

As a multi-time low qualifier in both PDRA Extreme Pro Stock and NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock in 2022 , Elijah Morton in his Allen-powered Morton Brothers Motorsports ’ 19 Mustang was a favorite going into the Mountain Motor Pro Stock Invitational . The North Carolina native got off to a slow start , but the veteran team quickly found their way , racing to a runner-up finish in the $ 25,000-to-win race .
“ We felt good about it ,” Morton said of his approach going into the event . “ We come off of last year running pretty strong and we felt like we ’ d be contenders . We were struggling to start with in testing and we couldn ’ t seem to figure the track out , but my crew chief and my team did a little bar swinging and a little tune-up changing , and by the first round of qualifying we were running pretty good .”
After the first qualifying session , Morton was No . 7 with a 4.138-second pass . He ended up No . 4 on the qualifying sheet with a 4.08 at 177.11 before drawing Texan Scott Benham in the opening round . He got a decisive win with his 4.17 , then drew class newcomer Derrick Reese in round two . Reese left the line . 018 seconds too soon , while Morton was quickest of the round with his 4.121 . In the semifinals , he left on Florida ’ s own Dillon Voss and ran a 4.109 to beat Voss and his 4.126 .
“ Our car was running good ,” Morton said . “ We were running top speed of each round .
I think we got beat one round , round three , where Monte went a couple thousandths above us and threw us out of our lane , but we were running fast . I was feeling good in the car and hitting the shift points pretty good and not too bad on the clutch pedal . The driver was doing good , the crew was doing good , and I felt like I was going to win it .”
John Montecalvo had other plans , though . After Morton struggled to get his car started , neither driver was eager to get off the starting line , but Montecalvo took a slight advantage and led all the way down the eighth-mile track , winning with a 4.092 at 175.43 over Morton ’ s 4.85 at 164.07 .
“ We did better than 19 others , but we didn ’ t do as good as 20 ,” Morton said . “ Congratulations to John for winning it . It ’ s been a while since he ’ s been in the finals and won the round . Congratulations to that team ; they were running good .” – NATE VAN WAGNEN DI
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