Gainesville: Saturday qualifying report

PEDREGON, BRADSHAW, JOHNSON AND GUIDERA EARN NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITIONS AT ACDELCO NHRA GATORNATIONALS GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- More than a month after suffering one of the most spectacular Funny Car explosions in NHRA history, Tony Pedregon raced...

PEDREGON, BRADSHAW, JOHNSON AND GUIDERA EARN NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITIONS AT ACDELCO NHRA GATORNATIONALS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- More than a month after suffering one of the most spectacular Funny Car explosions in NHRA history, Tony Pedregon raced to the No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals.

Alan Bradshaw, Warren Johnson and Matt Guidera also were No. 1 qualifiers and will lead their respective categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the third of 24 NHRA POWERade Series events in 2008.

Pedregon covered the quarter-mile distance at historic Gainesville Raceway in 4.780 seconds at 326.40 mph in his Q-Horsepower Chevy Impala for his 32nd No. 1 qualifying effort and first since July 2005.

"We got some cloud cover and it was a good call by Dickie (Venables, crew chief)," said Pedregon, the defending and two-time POWERade Series Funny Car world champion. "This is really the best medicine for this team and we've put what happened in Pomona behind us."

Bradshaw, a former Lucas Oil Series Top Alcohol Dragster world champion who is in his second season in Top Fuel, powered his Vis Viva dragster to his first career No. 1 performance in professional racing, covering the distance in 4.547 at 306.95. "We left Phoenix with our heads down low, but we tested and did really well, and we made a pact to one another that we weren't going to another race this season until we get the car to run," Bradshaw said. "We're still working on some fuel-system issues right now, but we're getting close. We almost made it to the finish line under power but didn't quite get there, but we're No. 1, and that's what counts. These boys haven't seen what we've got yet. Once we get the fuel system ironed out we'll be in the 4.4s, I believe."

Pro Stock's Johnson raced to the 137th No. 1 qualifying position of his career, ninth at this event and first since Aug. 2005. He posted a 6.665 at 208.36 in his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GXP to lead the 16-car field.

"It's always good to start off with a new car by qualifying No. 1," said Johnson, a nine-time winner at the Gatornationals. "My last No. 1 came during our first race with the GTO. It's been a good start to the season. Early on we were making good power with the GTO at the first two races, which was a good indicator we had adequate power to qualify in the upper half of the field. This car seems to be a little quicker in the back half, which is where the mile-per-hour is coming from."

Guidera claimed his first top qualifying performance in Pro Stock Motorcycle, riding his Mohegan Sun/Rocklin Motorsports Buell to a career-best performance of 6.922 at 192.85.

"We knew we left some on the table in the first session, about five-hundredths," Guidera said. "The bike went left, and I had to pull it right because it was up in the air for half the run and not very aerodynamic at all. The last pass it left hard and was stuck. The guys worked so hard our on our motor package in the off-season because we were about a tenth off last year, and all that hard work paid off. Running a 6.92 here in the humidity we had is really something."

-credit: nhra

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Alan Bradshaw , Matt Guidera