Bristol: Friday qualifying report

NEFF, SCHUMACHER, JOHNSON, CLAIM PROVISIONAL NO. 1 QUALIFYING SPOTS IN THUNDER VALLEY BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Mike Neff raced to the provisional top spot in Funny Car Friday as he looks to collect the first No. 1 qualifier of his career at the eighth...

NEFF, SCHUMACHER, JOHNSON, CLAIM PROVISIONAL NO. 1 QUALIFYING SPOTS IN THUNDER VALLEY

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Mike Neff raced to the provisional top spot in Funny Car Friday as he looks to collect the first No. 1 qualifier of his career at the eighth annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Neff drove his Old Spice Ford Mustang to a 4.783-second pass at 321.04 mph to become the provisional top qualifier at Bristol Dragway.

Tony Schumacher and Kurt Johnson were also No. 1 qualifiers in there respective categories at the eighth of 24 events on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

"We really had a good weekend (in St. Louis)," said Neff, who's coming off his first runner-up finish of his career. "To be able to come here and have a couple good runs on Friday, you just want to continue the momentum and right now I just feel like we've started to get a little good mojo going."

Defending event winner and NHRA legend John Force stood in the seventh spot after two rounds of qualifying, while current points leader Tim Wilkerson sat No. 4 in the field.

Defending POWERade Series world champion Schumacher piloted his U.S. Army dragster to a 4.502 at 327.59 provisional low qualifying effort. It would be Schumacher's second No. 1 qualifier of the season, 49th of his career and third at Bristol Dragway.

"It's very difficult to make power and Alan Johnson knows how to make it," said Schumacher. "We've got a great crew chief, plain and simple. We can run in a wide variety of conditions and fortunately for us we can run well on race day."

Defending event winner Brandon Bernstein currently sits in the seventh spot, while second-place driver in the point standings, Antron Brown, was fourth with two qualifying sessions complete.

Coming off his win in St. Louis, Pro Stock's Kurt Johnson drove his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt to a track-record time of 6.687 at 206.16 to lead the 16-car field. He is in position to earn his second No. 1 qualifier of the season, 29th of his career and first at Bristol.

"We kind of threw everything at it and it hooked up," said Johnson. "You know, this is the best racetrack that we've ever raced on at Bristol Motor Speedway. You know the area is Thunder Valley and this is just a cool place to race."

Current Pro Stock points leader Jason Line sits in the fifth spot while defending event and POWERade Series world champion Jeg Coughlin is in the 16th spot in the field.

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday's eliminations begin at noon.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Kurt Johnson , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Brandon Bernstein , Jason Line , Mike Neff