Englishtown: Sunday final summary

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - Doug Kalitta used a dominant tune-up Sunday to race to his second victory of the season at the K&N Filters SuperNationals presented by Pep Boys at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Whit Bazemore, Greg Anderson and Shawn Gann...

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - Doug Kalitta used a dominant tune-up Sunday to race to his second victory of the season at the K&N Filters SuperNationals presented by Pep Boys at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Whit Bazemore, Greg Anderson and Shawn Gann also won their respective categories at the $2.1 million race, the eighth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Kalitta, who earned the No. 1 qualifying position for the sixth time in eight events this season, captured his 13th career Top Fuel victory when he blasted his Mac Tools dragster to a run of 4.494 seconds at 328.54 mph to defeat category points leader Larry Dixon and his Miller Lite dragster, which recorded a run of 4.554 at 326.40.

"If we had to give ourselves a grade today, I'd say we'd get an A minus," said Kalitta. "I guess about the only other thing we could have done is set the national record, that would have been the A plus weekend."

Kalitta knocked off Rit Pustari, Darrell Russell and Paul Romine, before besting Dixon in the final round. With the victory, Kalitta remained in third place in the Top Fuel points standings and trails Dixon by 147 points.

In the first round of Top Fuel eliminations, 2003 Rookie of the Year candidate Brandon Bernstein's Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster went out of control and crashed near half-track. Bernstein was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center where he is listed in stable condition with injuries to his lower back. Bernstein is expected to miss two to three months of action. His father and six-time NHRA champion Kenny Bernstein will resume driving duties of the dragster beginning next weekend in Topeka, Kan. Kenny originally retired following the 2002 NHRA season.

Bazemore earned his first victory in more than a year when he piloted his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus to the victory over Ron Capps' Skoal Chevy Camaro. Bazemore recorded a pass of 4.869 at 306.81 to take the victory over Capps who lost traction and slowed to a pass of 8.300 at 100.52. Bazemore's victory marks the first time a Dodge has won in Funny Car since September 1998.

"To win a race here at Englishtown, a place that has so much history in our sport, is really special, especially in Funny Car," said Bazemore. "This is one of the victories you really want in your career and when you get it, this is one of the trophies that goes up on the higher shelf, on a pedestal."

Bazemore, who qualified in the No. 5 position, defeated Cruz Pedregon, Del Worsham and Tony Pedregon, before outdistancing Capps for the victory. He now trails Pedregon by 72 points in the POWERade standings.

Anderson capped off a dominant weekend by capturing his third victory of the season when he drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to the win. Anderson, who earned 20 bonus points by setting the national E.T. record at 6.670 seconds in the second round of eliminations, raced to a run of 6.724 at 205.98 to edge Darrell Alderman's Team Mopar Dodge Neon, which clocked a pass of 6.747 at 205.38, in the final round.

"This is just like last year," said Anderson. "I won Englishtown and I'm going home with the trophy, I love this place. I had a chance to sweep the whole deal this weekend (win the event and King Demon Crown bonus event) and I just about lived that dream. So next year, 2004 Englishtown, I want to sweep the whole thing because I feel that I did leave a crumb on the table."

Anderson, the only repeat winner at Englishtown from 2002, beat Greg Stanfield, Terry Adams and Kurt Johnson, before besting Alderman for the win. By winning the race and setting the national record, Anderson claimed the Pro Stock points lead and leads Johnson by 10 points.

Gann rode his Mac Tools Suzuki to his second career victory. Gann, who qualified in the No. 1 position for the third time in his career, recorded a run of 7.100 at 189.49 to hold off Craig Treble's Matco Tools Suzuki, which suffered mechanical problems and slowed to a pass of 7.752 at 130.32.

Gann, whose last victory came at Las Vegas in Oct. 2002, defeated Chris Reuter, Sean Conner and Antron Brown before defeating Treble in the final round. Gann's victory propelled him to second place in the Pro Stock Bike points standings. He trails leader Geno Scali by 24 points.

The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 15th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals, May 22-25 at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kan.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Paul Romine , Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Shawn Gann , Cruz Pedregon , Craig Treble , Geno Scali , Brandon Bernstein , Terry Adams