“My team and I are ecstatic for our first No.1 Qualifier,” said Nobile who set the lowest elapsed time on his second run in Friday qualifying (6.548 sec ET / 211.03 mph) but went quickest in the first Saturday session and second quickest in the final qualifying run. “After yesterday, I knew we could perform just as well and it did, but I actually goofed up a little bit with the burnout (on the last run) or we might have been first in that session as well.”
“Being No.1 Qualifier mean you’re the fastest car out there and I’ve never had that before,” added Nobile who will face Lewis Worden in first round eliminations and hopes to improve on his fifth position in the Pro Stock playoff standings. “As a driver it’s a huge confidence boost and takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders because you know you have the car to beat and that can win the round.”
Meanwhile, Allen Johnson qualified his Mopar Dodge Avenger fourth with a low ET of 6.563 seconds / 211.23 mph in his second Friday run but was much happier with his passes in the final two sessions.
“We’re happier being closer to the top cars today running second quickest in the first session and third on the last run,” said Johnson who is working towards notching a fifth win this season and looking to keep his lead in the playoffs. “We still have not got a handle on his racetrack though because it’s so bald it with no rubber on the track that it’s hard to get a hold of it. Only a couple of cars have (a handle on it) including Vincent (Nobile).”
Watching Vincent (Nobile) do well helps our whole program as our cars and set-ups are nearly identical,” added Johnson who J&J team supplies Nobile with HEMI power. “But no two cars are alike that’s why his car is performing a little better here but it gives us something to feed off of so that both of us can go out there tomorrow and do well.”
The no.1 seed in the Countdown Johnson will face fellow Mopar driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. who is tenth in the playoff points, in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
“You never really want to face another Mopar in the first round but we’ve done that a lot with Jeg this year and he’s always tough,” added Johnson who has matched up against Coughlin on four occasions this year without a loss. “You have to be on your game. We’d rather have all four Mopars in the quarterfinals but that’s not going to happen this week.”
The fourth Mopar driver in eliminations and the championship hunt is ninth place qualifier V. Gaines (6.592/210.64) who will do battle against eighth quickest qualifier, Dave Connolly.
In NHRA Funny Car, No. 2 Qualifier and Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman (4.082/306.53) will meet Alexis DeJoria in the first round of eliminations. Sporting special Mopar 75th Anniversary graphics on his Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, DSR driver Matt Hagan (4.123/301.54) qualified 8th and will be looking to play spoiler as he hopes to notch a win since not being able compete for a Funny Car championship after missing a playoff spot with an 11th place spot in the points standings.
Source: Team Mopar