Commerce: Friday qualifying report

FULLER, ASHLEY, ANDERSON AND SMITH LEAD QUALIFYING AT SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS COMMERCE, Ga. -- Rod Fuller raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at ...

FULLER, ASHLEY, ANDERSON AND SMITH LEAD QUALIFYING AT SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS

COMMERCE, Ga. -- Rod Fuller raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

Mike Ashley, Greg Anderson, and Matt Smith all posted track records to lead their respective categories at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event.

Fuller has been impressive this season, leading the series standings since his victory in Phoenix. About the only thing he hasn't done is lead a qualifying field, which could change this weekend following his category best effort of 4.506 seconds at 326.71 mph in his David Powers Motorsports dragster.

"It's cool to be No. 1 in the points and No. 1 on the ladder at the same time," Fuller said. "I really expected someone to step it up and blow past us. We came into the session 14th and that was truly just a conservative tune-up because we wanted to make sure we got in. Rob [Flynn, crew chief] said we'd run a 4.50 and that's exactly what we did."

Two weeks after his first career No. 1 qualifying effort in Las Vegas, Ashley used a 4.704 at a track record speed of 331.04 mph in his Torco Racing Fuels Dodge Charger to top the Funny Car field once again.

"If you qualify No. 1 once, it shows potential," Ashley said. "If you do it twice, especially in a row, it shows consistency, and that's the main thing we've been after since we started."

Castrol GTX Ford Mustang driver Ashley Force out-performed her famous father John, qualifying fifth with a 4.746 to his 12th-best 4.785. If their positions remain the same following tomorrow's two qualifying sessions, they'll race each other in Round 1.

In Pro Stock, Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac GTO led Pro Stock with a track-record run of 6.627 at 208.30 mph. As he made the turn off the track at the top end following his run, a small trail of fire followed his car.

"I looked like a Funny Car driver down here," Anderson said as NHRA Safety Safari members extinguished the small fire under his car. "It's fine; just burning off some oil on the firewall I would assume. Either way, we're happy to make a run like that, especially at a Summit race.

"You sit there and watch all the cars in front of you going quicker and it makes you nervous. It was 25-30 degrees cooler that Round 1 and you know the potential to go quicker is there but you still have to execute. Believe me, there's a fine line between a great run and standing up on the wheelie bars too hard and shaking the tires."

Smith was quickest in Pro Stock Motorcycle, riding his Torco Buell to a track record time of 6.988 at 187.26.

"That was an awesome run," Smith said. "We've been doing so much testing and so much extra work at the shop. It's neat when it all pays off. We've been quick at all three races now so we just might be onto something."

Three female racers -- Karen Stoffer, Peggy Llewellyn and Angelle Sampey -- followed Smith on the provisional ladder. Stoffer posted a 7.011 on her Geico Suzuki. Llewellyn went 7.055 on her Klement Racing Buell, and Sampey posted a 7.063 on her U.S. Army Suzuki.

Pro qualifying continues Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

-credit: nhra

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson , Peggy Llewellyn , Karen Stoffer , Ashley Force , Mike Ashley , David Powers , Rod Fuller , Angelle Sampey , Matt Smith