Kalitta, Densham, W. Johnson and Scali fastest at O'Reilly Spring Nationals. BAYTOWN, Texas - Doug Kalitta will lead the Top Fuel category into final eliminations for the fifth consecutive race at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway...
Kalitta, Densham, W. Johnson and Scali fastest at O'Reilly Spring Nationals.
BAYTOWN, Texas - Doug Kalitta will lead the Top Fuel category into final eliminations for the fifth consecutive race at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.
Gary Densham, Warren Johnson and Geno Scali also will lead their respective categories into Sunday's eliminations at the $1.9 million race, the fifth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Kalitta equaled the record set by Gary Beck in 1983 by earning the No. 1 qualifying award at the first five races of the season when he powered his Mac Tools dragster to a pass of 4.486 seconds at 333.91 mph, the fastest run in NHRA history. It marks the 12th time in his career that Kalitta has led the Top Fuel field. Kalitta will battle Scott Weis in round one on Sunday.
"Coming into this event I didn't know if we could keep the streak going," said Kalitta. "Going into that last session on Friday night I was thinking that if we don't get this done tonight it's not going to happen. We're real happy and I just hope we can keep some good consistency together Sunday to get the win."
Points leader Larry Dixon, who suffered a first round defeat at HRP last year, will start in the No. 3 spot Sunday.
Densham raced his Auto Club Ford Mustang to the No. 1 spot in Funny Car for the fourth time in his career by clocking a track record run of 4.755, 325.68. He will face Dale Creasy Jr. in the opening round of eliminations as he looks to win his second race of the season.
"I hope no one steals my car right now cause I love it," said Densham. "I wish we could have gotten another run last night. We didn't try to go to fast today. We're getting into this hot weather right now and we want to find out limits on this tuneup."
Densham's teammate and points leader Tony Pedregon qualified in the third spot. John Force, team owner for Densham and Pedregon, qualified in the No. 6 position as he looks to end his early season struggles at the site of his 100th career victory a year ago.
Johnson will lead the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history into Sunday's eliminations as he looks to earn his 90th career victory. He set the NHRA elapsed time national record on Friday evening when he drove his GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am to a run of 6.720, 204.66. It marks the 128th time that Johnson has earned the No. 1 qualifying award. If he holds the record through Sunday's final eliminations, he will earn 20 bonus points. Johnson's son Kurt set the NHRA national speed record at 205.57 on Friday.
"Given the caliber of the cars that are out here in Pro Stock these days, plus the number of them out here, there are no guarantees that you'll qualify number one any more," said W. Johnson. "Getting in the first 16 spots is your first goal and then hopefully in the first half of the field. We take it as we can because of all the variables we face."
Points leader Greg Anderson, who has two victories in 2003, will head into Sunday's eliminations from the No. 3 spot as he aims to win his third race of the season.
Scali earned his first career No. 1 qualifying award by riding his Trim-Tex Suzuki to the top spot in Pro Stock Bike recording a track record elapsed time 7.138, 185.84. Mike Berry rounded out the quickest Pro Stock Bike field in NHRA history with a pass of 7.267.
"Qualifying No. 1 on the pole position, that's sweet," said Scali. "The 7.13 pass was awesome. I think that's even my personal best for the NHRA. Vance & Hines improved the bike following Gainesville and the bike just went faster."
Three-time NHRA Pro Stock Bike champion and current points leader Angelle Savoie starts from the No. 8 position on Sunday.
Final eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m.