Indianapolis: Saturday qualifying summary

CLERMONT, Ind. - Reggie Showers - a double amputee - raced to victory Saturday, winning the K&N Filters Pro Bike Klash at Indianapolis Raceway Park while qualifying started for the 49th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Showers earned a $15,000...

CLERMONT, Ind. - Reggie Showers - a double amputee - raced to victory Saturday, winning the K&N Filters Pro Bike Klash at Indianapolis Raceway Park while qualifying started for the 49th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

Showers earned a $15,000 check for winning the event that featured the top eight riders in qualifying throughout the last calendar year.

David Baca, Gary Scelzi, Greg Anderson and Angelle Savoie led the way in qualifying in their respective categories at the $2.5 million race, the 17th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Showers beat current Pro Stock Bike points leader Geno Scali in the final when Scali fouled at the start. Showers, injured in a childhood accident, was amputated below both knees and wears prosthetic legs.

"I saw right away that Geno left early," Showers said. "I was immediately ecstatic, but I had to finish the race. This is a testament to what the disabled community can do. This has been an amazing day."

Friday's qualifying session was rained out and the remaining two rounds are at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday. Final eliminations are set for 11 a.m. on Monday.

Showers beat defending Klash winner Craig Treble in the first round and Klash No. 1 qualifier Shawn Gann in the second before facing Scali.

"We have not caught a break all year," Showers said. "We have had to fight for each and every round win and that's OK with us because we are becoming more consistent every week."

Baca drove his American Racing Wheels dragster to a track-record E.T. run of 4.504 seconds at 326.32 mph to pace the Top Fuel category. If he can stay at the top of the ladder, it will be his first career No. 1 qualifying spot.

Before the NHRA's longest running race weekend began, Baca and former NFL quarterback Jim Kelly established a partnership to help the Hunter's Hope foundation. Hunter's Hope was created to raise awareness for Krabbe and other leukodystrophies. Kelly was on site Saturday to cheer on the American Racing Wheels team.

"It's unbelievable because we have never been (the No. 1 qualifier) before and we were talking about the Hunter's Hope foundation and how we felt like we had angels with us this weekend," Baca said. "Anytime we can help raise awareness for children, we are going to do whatever we can. A lot of us are parents and if you can help children, you will."

Scelzi has the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car after he ran a 4.765 at 316.01 in his Oakley Dodge Stratus. His first pass of the day ended in smoke. With uncertain weather ahead, Scelzi said the team felt the pressure to get qualified on the second pass.

"If we smoked the tires again during the second pass, I was going to pedal it until we could get it qualified," Scelzi said. "You have to get in the show. There is just something about Indy. There is a mystic about this place when we roll into the gates."

If Scelzi can hold onto the top spot, it will be his third Funny Car No. 1 qualifier and 36th of his career. Scelzi is coming off his first career Funny Car victory in Sonoma, Calif. (Aug. 3). Scelzi, a three-time Top Fuel champion, has 25 career victories.

"Since the first round loss in Denver last month we have started to get in a pattern of what this car likes and doesn't like," Scelzi said. "Everything is just starting to come along. It's a beautiful thing."

Anderson drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to a track record run of 6.799 at 202.18. Anderson, the Pro Stock points leader, has been the No. 1 qualifier nine times this season.

"It feels good to be on top of the Pro Stock list in Indy," Anderson said. "This is the most prestigious race of the year for us. It's would be nice to have (teammate Jason Line) in the field and I think I could have gone quicker during the run too.

"We'll have to stay at the top of our game if we want to keep the pole. Kurt Johnson is just a whisper behind us."

Savoie went to the top of the Pro Stock Bike class when she rode her U.S. Army Suzuki to a 7.172 pass at 189.12.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Reggie Showers , Shawn Gann , David Baca , Craig Treble , Geno Scali , Jason Line