ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 16) -- Tony Bartone drove his Jim Dunn-owned Lucas Oil Chevrolet Monte Carlo Funny Car to the provisional No. 1 position in qualifying for the NHRA K&N Filters SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park with a pack leading time of 4.787 seconds, 324.36 mph.

Bartone of nearby North Hills, N.Y and considers Raceway Park his home track, hopes with the warm weather, his elapsed time will stand enabling him to capture his first professional Skoal Low E.T. award for Funny Cars.

"When I woke up this morning I felt good, but I didn't know today was going to be this good," beamed Bartone. "We've been working on the tune up for quite a while and after the qualifying from last Friday night in Chicago after we ran our career best (4.761), Jim Dunn turned to me and said I think I now have the tune up for next Friday night in Englishtown. Boy, those words are really ringing home right now.

"Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be 90-plus degrees. I think it will be difficult at best for someone to better that 4.78. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's a definitely an uphill battle and to be honest with you, I hope it snows tomorrow!"

Bartone in the evening session of qualifying rocketed down the renowned and long-standing Raceway Park quarter-mile giving his fellow competitors something to shoot for, but all came up short.

"I put the pedal down and it set me back in the seat," described Bartone. The front end was in the air and I said this baby is running. I was concentrating in the early part of the run to keep it in the groove with the steering. When it got to the far end, it started moving around and was able to keep it in the lane. It turned out to be a phenomenal run. I knew we could do it, but it's always great to get the performance out of the Lucas Oil Chevrolet. The whole team is ecstatic."

Bartone wanted to emphasize to reporters in the Englishtown pressroom that without the formidable sponsors of the Jim Dunn operation, none of this would be possible.

"I don't want to make a cliche out of this, but I have to give special thanks to the Lucas Oil Products people -- Forrest, Charlotte, and Morgan. Without great sponsors like that, we wouldn't be here. I also want to thank Superwinch, Craftsman Tools, Moon Equipped, and my friend, David Allen of Hussey Copper Gaskets. Without these great companies, we wouldn't be out here doing what we love to do. It really pleases us to perform for our sponsors and making them proud to be associated with Jim Dunn Racing.

Qualifying continues tomorrow with two more sessions at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. with ESPN2 airing a two-qualifying show starting at 5 p.m. EDT.