Joliet: Friday qualifying summary

Force, Kalitta, A. Johnson and Savoie lead after first day of qualifying at Route 66. JOLIET, Ill. - John Force led Funny Car qualifying Friday at the sixth annual Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway outside of Chicago. Doug...

Force, Kalitta, A. Johnson and Savoie lead after first day of qualifying at Route 66.

JOLIET, Ill. - John Force led Funny Car qualifying Friday at the sixth annual Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway outside of Chicago.

Doug Kalitta, Allen Johnson and Angelle Savoie also led their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the 10th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Force blasted his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang down the track in 4.763 seconds at 322.81 mph to lead the 16-car field. The second session for Funny Car and Top Fuel were canceled due to rain. Force, the all-time winningest driver on NHRA history, is still seeking his first victory of the 2003 season.

"Tony (Pedregon) and (Whit) Bazemore are still the cars to beat because they are the most consistent," said Force, a 12-time Funny Car champion. "My car has started to show potential the last three races and it could have won, but it was driver error that cost us. I feel confident and we are going to be back out here tomorrow and see if we can have a repeat of today's performance."

Force was followed in the order by teammate and current points leader Pedregon, Bazemore, and local favorite Tim Wilkerson.

Kalitta powered his Mac Tools dragster to the finish line in 4.520 at 329.26 to set the pace for Top Fuel after the category's only qualifying session. Defending Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon, Tony Schumacher and David Baca followed Kalitta in the qualifying order.

Johnson was the leader of the Pro Stock category when he shut the clocks off in 6.824 at 201.94 in his Team Mopar Dodge Neon R/T. Greg Anderson followed Johnson, six one-thousandths of a second from the top spot.

Savoie rode her Team 23 Suzuki to the top spot in the Pro Stock Bike category when she covered the distance in 7.175 at 182.28. Savoie did not make a second qualifying attempt due to a dead battery on her Suzuki. GT Tonglet rode his Harley Davidson to the No. 2 spot and is followed by Shawn Gann and current points leader and hometown favorite Geno Scali.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Shawn Gann , David Baca , Geno Scali , Tim Wilkerson , Allen Johnson , GT Tonglet