KALITTA, HIGHT, LINE AND STOFFER EARLY LEADERS AT MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS INDIANAPOLIS -- Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta posted a quick 4.497-second run at 322 mph to lead the opening day action Friday at the $2.6 million Mac Tools U.S.
KALITTA, HIGHT, LINE AND STOFFER EARLY LEADERS AT MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS -- Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta posted a quick 4.497-second run at 322 mph to lead the opening day action Friday at the $2.6 million Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the most prestigious drag race in the world.
Kalitta was joined by Funny Car's Robert Hight, Pro Stock's Jason Line, and Pro Stock Motorcycle's Karen Stoffer as leading qualifiers at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis with four more rounds of professional qualifying left on the schedule for Monday's 11 a.m. eliminations in the NHRA POWERade Series marquee event.
Just as he did in Memphis, Kalitta showed up reigning champ Tony Schumacher, who was in the other lane during his track record run. His 4.497 at 322.65 mph in his Mac Tools dragster drew a large cheer from the crowd and sent a message to Schumacher that the fight for the championship won't be easy. Schumacher, who recently moved up to second place in the points, ended up 11th with a 4.591 in his U.S. Army dragster.
"That was kind of nice, I must admit," Kalitta said. "We're in the heat of the battle and we're trying to do the very best we can on every pass. I was surprised to see the win light come on just now. It was exciting to get there first."
The other three provisional low qualifiers all used track record elapsed times to grab the No. 1 spot in their respective categories. Hight ran a 4.692, Line a 6.687, and Stoffer a 7.068. Gary Scelzi also set an ORP speed record with a 330.31-mph pass in his Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger.
Since he turned pro at the start of 2005, no one has more No. 1 qualifiers than Hight's 13 efforts. Now the sophomore driver has the inside track to add No. 14 after blazing down ORP with a 4.692 at 326.56 mph in his Auto Club Ford Mustang.
"What's really frustrating for me right now is to look at the standings," Hight said. "They just don't reflect how good this car really is. I know in my heart we have the best car out here. We just seem to find a new way to lose every week. We've got to get past that."
Line continues to be the class of Pro Stock, finishing as the low qualifier after a 6.687 at 205.04 mph in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO. Line has four No. 1 qualifiers this year and eight in his career, but he's never been No. 1 here. His elapsed time is a track record.
"I won my very first round in Pro Stock at this race," Line said. "Ever since then, I've pretty much struggled at this track. We're off to a good start now so hopefully we can win four more rounds Monday and change our luck here. We're in good shape now. It's a pretty big relief."
Stoffer has never led an NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle field until Friday when she rode her Suzuki through a 7.068 at 187.11 mph on her Geico Suzuki. She'll have to hold off everyone else in the pack for four more qualifying sessions to maintain the honor but opening day belongs to her.
"This is amazing," said Stoffer of her track record time. "This is our first time in the No. 1 spot, at least in a pro race, and it's really an amazing feeling to be here, even if it's just for one day. We couldn't have picked a better place to do this. We're living a dream and if we're lucky enough to stay No. 1 there will be lots of tears in our pit, mostly from the guys."
POWERade Series points leader Andrew Hines is second on his Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod, although his 7.083 at 188.38 mph is a fair bit back from Stoffer's number.
Saturday's two time trials are scheduled to begin at 1 and 6:15 p.m.