Gateway: Friday summary

MADISON, Ill. - Unseasonably cool conditions gave way to numerous track records at the fifth annual Sears Craftsman Nationals as Bruce Sarver thrilled the capacity crowd Friday with a quarter-mile run of 4.851 seconds at 309.34 mph. Sarver's ...

MADISON, Ill. - Unseasonably cool conditions gave way to numerous track records at the fifth annual Sears Craftsman Nationals as Bruce Sarver thrilled the capacity crowd Friday with a quarter-mile run of 4.851 seconds at 309.34 mph. Sarver's e-moola.com Pontiac Firebird established the Funny Car elapsed time track record at Gateway International Raceway.

Gary Scelzi, Bruce Allen, Angelle Savoie and Todd Patterson led their respective divisions at the $1.9 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing event outside of St. Louis.

Sarver has one win this season and knew that the car was on a great run. "We had it tuned up there like our hero (John Force) ran at Chicago," Sarver said. "It stuck pretty good there. It actually blew through the clutch. It had so much traction that we didn't have enough clutch in it. It was the first time I couldn't see for the first 300 feet there was so much clutch dust. When the smoke cleared, I said wow this is going pretty good."

Scelzi set the Top Fuel track record for elapsed time during the night qualifying session, posting a 4.563 at 319.45 aboard his Team Winston dragster. The weather forecast for Saturday calls for hotter temperatures and Scelzi likes that prediction just fine. "I think we will be ready," said Scelzi, the defending Winston top Fuel champion. "I think we have proved it that we are going to be okay at the cold race tracks with the really good bite. I think we are pretty good in the heat too. Right now, our combination will carry over to that and some guys won't. We're hoping it plays into our hands and if it is 90 degrees, that's okay with us."

Allen topped the Pro Stock division with a second round pass of 6.869 at 199.91 in his Reher-Morrison Pontiac Grand Am. Allen was thankful that the conditions stayed cool and dry during the night session. "This time of year when it is warmer and not very good conditions our team usually struggles through that," Allen said. "The last couple of races we have had a bit of a problem. Our chassis builder, Rick Jones, made some changes to the car to see how it would respond and so far so good."

Savoie's Team Winston Suzuki led the Pro Stock Motorcycle field with a pass of 7.214 at 181.91 while Patterson's Dodge Motorsports Dodge Dakota R/T topped the Pro Stock Truck category with a track record 7.452 at 180.81.

Qualifying continues Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

-NHRA

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Todd Patterson , Bruce Allen