Bristol: Saturday qualifying report

NEFF STAYS IN TOP SPOT AT THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS; SCHUMACHER, JOHNSON ALSO NO. 1 QUALIFIERS IN BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. -- NHRA Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson added another No. 1 qualifying performance to his career stats, picking up ...

NEFF STAYS IN TOP SPOT AT THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS; SCHUMACHER, JOHNSON ALSO NO. 1 QUALIFIERS IN BRISTOL

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- NHRA Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson added another No. 1 qualifying performance to his career stats, picking up his NHRA-record 138th Saturday at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Tony Schumacher and Mike Neff also were No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Johnson powered his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GXP to a track record performance of 6.674 at 207.43 for the top spot; his second of the season and third at this track.

"Both Kurt (Johnson) and myself have spent some time working on these cars and the crews have been spending just as much if not more," said Johnson. "It's come together pretty nicely. We've got a few areas we need to work on yet but hopefully we can shorten those things up in the next race or two and be competitive the rest of the season."

Defending event and POWERade Series world champion Jeg Coughlin did not qualify in his Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt, ending a 70-race qualifying streak dating back to 2004.

In Funny Car, Neff's run in his Old Spice Ford Mustang of 4.783 at 321.04 from Friday was enough to stay in the top spot and give the rookie his first No. 1 qualifying position of his career.

"It's an awesome feeling," said Neff. "You know I owe John Medlen (crew chief). He's the one that makes the calls and makes that thing perform the way it does and he's doing an outstanding job."

Defending event winner and NHRA legend John Force qualified in seventh spot, 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 and the No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel. It's Schumacher's second No. 1 qualifier of the season, 49th of his career and third at Bristol Dragway.

"I do not enjoy getting up and racing on Sunday when we have not found it yet," said Schumacher. "There's no good place except qualifying to find that limit. If you use up two of those mulligans on qualifying, then you're going to have a good car on Sunday."

Defending event winner Brandon Bernstein currently sits in the sixth spot, while second-place driver in the point standings, Antron Brown qualified fourth.

Sunday's eliminations begin at noon and will be televised on ESPN2 HD.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Warren Johnson , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Tim Wilkerson , Brandon Bernstein , John Medlen , Mike Neff