Gainesville Qualifying; First Round Pairings

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - John Force captured his 92nd No. 1 qualifying award in Funny Car Saturday at the 31st annual Mac Tools Gatornationals, posting a category-best 4.836 at 321.50 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Gary Scelzi, Warren Johnson, Tony...

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - John Force captured his 92nd No. 1 qualifying award in Funny Car Saturday at the 31st annual Mac Tools Gatornationals, posting a category-best 4.836 at 321.50 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Gary Scelzi, Warren Johnson, Tony Mullen and Randy Daniels also are leaders in their respective pro categories entering Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations for the $1.9 million race, the third of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Force will be seeking his 83rd career victory Sunday, which would place the nine-time Winston champion two victories short of Bob Glidden's NHRA record of 85. If Force can pass Glidden's all-time win record this season he'll do it without a third car in his racing stable.

"The bottom line is that we won't have a third team in Funny Car, at least not this year," Force announced during an impromptu press conference between qualifying rounds. "My plan for having three teams was to build for the future like (Jack) Roush (NASCAR Winston Cup team owner). I want to build new teams and give some of these kids out here a chance to drive. That's all I'm building for. I don't need a third car to gather data or win a 10th championship. I've got enough data to do that already. I want to apologize for misleading anybody on this. I just want to stop all the rumors. To sum it up, it's over."

Force did keep alive the rumor mill on another hot topic: his plans for the addition of a Top Fuel dragster to his racing operation in the near future. "I'll guarantee you that one day I'll go to Top Fuel," Force said. "That's where my focus is going."

Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., earned his 20th career No. 1 qualifying effort with a run of 4.619 seconds at 318.54 mph in his Team Winston dragster.

"Although it was cooler and overcast today I think most teams decided to go with their Sunday race setup and not get too aggressive," Scelzi said. "For us, it's important for us to get the extra points from qualifying because every point is critical in the chase for the Winston championship. We're going after it."

Australian native David Grubnic took the wildest ride of the day when his Montana Express Top Fuel dragster went out of control near the finish line during his second qualifying attempt. Grubnic, who qualified 11th in the 16-car order, was not hurt in the crash.

Buford, Ga.'s Johnson claimed the top spot in Pro Stock, covering the quarter-mile distance in 6.849 at 200.83 in a Pontiac Firebird.

Mullen, from Bradenton, Fla., claimed his first No. 1 qualifying award in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Mullen rode his Team 23 Suzuki to the top spot with a career-best 7.219 at 184.95 effort. With the No. 1 effort, Mullen becomes the first rider other than Matt Hines and Angelle Seeling to qualifying on top since John Smith did it in Aug. '97 at Brainerd, Minn.

Daniels, from Grantsboro, N.C., will lead the quickest Pro Stock Truck field in NHRA history into eliminations in his track record-setting Chevy S-10. Daniels claimed the top spot with a 7.494 at a national record speed of 179.79 mph.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the 31st annual Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the third of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday.

Top Fuel -- 1. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 4.619 seconds, 318.54 mph vs. 16. Bruce Litton, Indianapolis, 4.839, 305.22; 2. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., 4.635, 313.88 vs. 15. Terry Mullins, Oak Ridge, Tenn., 4.800, 303.84; 3. Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest, Calif., 4.643, 314.90 vs. 14. Paul Romine, Indianapolis, 4.771, 308.21; 4. Joe Amato, Exeter, Pa., 4.646, 317.27 vs. 13. Bob Vandergriff, Cumming, Ga., 4.762, 303.78; 5. Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.651, 317.64 vs. 12. David Grubnic, Ennis, Mont., 4.761, 312.06; 6. Larry Dixon, Indianapolis, 4.659, 315.71 vs. 11. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Williamston, S.C., 4.734, 309.98; 7. Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 4.687, 314.17 vs. 10. Don Lampus, Garland, Texas, 4.701, 313.95; 8. Cory McClenathan, Anaheim, Calif., 4.695, 313.80 vs. 9. Mike Smith, Round Rock, Texas, 4.699, 292.58.

Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Ford Mustang, 4.836, 321.50 vs. 16. Bob Gilbertson, Gastonia, N.C., Pontiac Firebird, 5.084, 305.42; 2. Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.837, 313.51 vs. 15. Kenny Sayers, Houston, Chevrolet Corvette, 5.041, 300.86; 3. Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills, Calif., Mustang, 4.889, 317.87 vs. 14. Frank Pedregon, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Firebird, 5.009, 302.62; 4. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., Camaro, 4.893, 302.01 vs. 13. Al Hofmann, Umatilla, Fla., Firebird, 4.999, 300.00; 5. Jim Epler, Phoenix, Firebird, 4.899, 311.27 vs. 12. Del Worsham, Laguna Hills, Calif., Firebird, 4.999, 303.50; 6. Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Camaro, 4.901, 308.85 vs. 11. Dean Skuza, Brecksville, Ohio, Dodge Avenger, 4.966, 306.12; 7. Todd Paton, Paris, Ont., Firebird, 4.916, 315.42 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Firebird, 4.945, 307.23; 8. Scotty Cannon, Lyman, S.C., Camaro, 4.922, 310.98 vs. 9. Gary Densham, Bellflower, Calif., Firebird, 4.931, 311.56.

Pro Stock -- 1. Warren Johnson, Buford, Ga., Pontiac Firebird, 6.849, 200.83 vs. 16. George Marnell, Las Vegas, Firebird, 6.942, 198.00; 2. Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.870, 199.64 vs. 15. Darrell Alderman, Morehead, Ky., Dodge Avenger, 6.938, 197.74; 3. Troy Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Cutlass, 6.882, 199.14 vs. 14. Larry Morgan, Newark, Ohio, Avenger, 6.934, 198.93; 4. Ron Krisher, Warren, Ohio, Firebird, 6.890, 199.79 vs. 13. Robert Patrick, Fredricksburg, Va., Ford Probe, 6.933, 198.90; 5. Mark Pawuk, Akron, Ohio, Firebird, 6.892, 199.11 vs. 12. Kurt Johnson, Lawrenceville, Ga., Chevy Camaro, 6.927, 200.23; 6. Bruce Allen, Arlington, Texas, Firebird, 6.909, 199.40 vs. 11. Tony Gillig, Lake Zurich, Ill., Cutlass, 6.923, 198.64; 7. Tom Martino, Farmingdale, N.J., Firebird, 6.914, 199.70 vs. 10. Richie Stevens, New Orleans, Firebird, 6.922, 197.83; 8. Steve Schmidt, Indianapolis, Firebird, 6.914, 198.44 vs. 9. Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Firebird, 6.917, 199.79.

Pro Stock Bike -- 1. Tony Mullen, Bradenton, Fla., Suzuki, 7.219, 184.95 vs. 16. Reggie Showers, Philadelphia, Suzuki, 7.434, 179.80; 2. Matt Hines, Trinidad, Colo., Suzuki, 7.253, 184.37 vs. 15. Chris Reuter, Gretna, Neb., Suzuki, 7.430, 175.00; 3. David Schultz, Fort Myers, Fla., Suzuki, 7.275, 183.32 vs. 14. Brian DeLong, Circleville, Ohio, Suzuki, 7.430, 179.28; 4. Angelle Seeling, Matthews, La., Suzuki, 7.276, 182.82 vs. 13. Ron Ayers, Greenville, N.C., Suzuki, 7.420, 179.33; 5. Craig Treble, Chandler, Ariz., Suzuki, 7.289, 183.92 vs. 12. Steve Johnson, Birmingham, Ala., Suzuki, 7.411, 181.11; 6. Fred Collis, Americus, Ga., Suzuki, 7.333, 182.18 vs. 11. Brian Ayers, Greenville, N.C., Suzuki, 7.399, 182.45; 7. Geno Scali, Palatine, Ill., Suzuki, 7.335, 182.33 vs. 10. Shawn Gann, Stoneville, N.C., Suzuki, 7.370, 181.15; 8. Antron Brown, Indianapolis, Suzuki, 7.341, 182.62 vs. 9. Blaine Hale, Midland, Texas, Kawasaki, 7.348, 180.57.

Pro Stock Truck -- 1. Randy Daniels, Grantsboro, N.C., Chevy S-10, 7.494, 179.78 vs. 16. Tim Freeman, Roan Mountain, Tenn., S-10, S-10, , 7.574, 177.67; 2. Bob Panella Jr, Stockton, Calif., S-10, 7.503, 179.06 vs. 15. Don Smith, Keller, Texas, S-10, 7.574, 178.40; 3. Brad Jeter, Greenville, S.C., S-10, 7.521, 178.59 vs. 14. John Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, S-10, 7.571, 178.14; 4. Rick Jones, Galesburg, Ill., GMC Sonoma, 7.525, 178.54 vs. 13. Rob Slavinski, Wallingford, Conn., S-10, 7.569, 177.86; 5. Larry Seay, Mayfield, Ky., S-10, 7.530, 178.14 vs. 12. Jeff Gracia, Ontario, Calif., S-10, 7.568, 197.53; 6. Greg Stanfield, Bossier City, La., S-10, 7.534, 179.06 vs. 11. Scott Perin, Pen Argyl, Pa., S-10, 7.562, 176.42; 7. David Spitzer, Indianapolis, Sonoma, 7.537, 178.05 vs. 10. John Lingenfelter, Decatur, Ind., Sonoma, 7.561, 178.05; 8. Taylor Lastor, Austin, Texas, S-10, 7.553, 178.17 vs. 9. Brian Self, Houston, S-10, 7.554, 177.79.

-NHRA-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Paul Romine , Doug Herbert , Bruce Litton , Antron Brown , Tony Gillig , Matt Hines , Troy Coughlin , Bob Panella , Robert Patrick , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Jim Epler , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Reggie Showers , Shawn Gann , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Blaine Hale , John Lingenfelter , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Bob Glidden , Todd Paton , Craig Treble , Cory McClenathan , Greg Stanfield , Bruce Allen , Geno Scali , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Tim Freeman , George Marnell , Don Lampus , Chris Reuter , Fred Collis , Steve Schmidt , Brian Self , Bob Vandergriff , Steve Johnson
Teams Williams