Las Vegas II: Friday qualifying report

Kalitta, Medlen, Line and Tonglet Lead Qualifying at ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas LAS VEGAS -- Scott Kalitta raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. Eric Medlen, Jason Line and...

Kalitta, Medlen, Line and Tonglet Lead Qualifying at ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Scott Kalitta raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals.

Eric Medlen, Jason Line and GT Tonglet also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the 22nd of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Kalitta powered his dragster to a 4.491 second run at 333.00 mph at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kalitta Motorsports claimed the top three spots in the field, as teammates Doug Kalitta (4.499) and David Grubnic (4.506) were second and third respectively in the 16-car lineup.

"We've been trying all year to use the team concept to help us tune but until recently we were comparing apples to oranges because the chassis I was using was so old," Kalitta said. "We debuted this new pipe in Reading and we've been right there with Dave and Doug since. Now we'll shift gears and get set for Sunday. We need to find a good low-4.5 second tune-up and ride it. We need to race smart. We've given a few away this year by being too aggressive and I don't want that to happen again here. I think low 4.50s will win this race."

Medlen raced to the lead in Funny Car, posting a 4.770 at 322.11 in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang. John Force, who can clinch his 13th world championship by maintaining his qualifying position tomorrow, was fourth, running 4.786 at 327.43 in his Castrol GTX Start Up Mustang.

"We ran a 4.79 in the first session and I heard other guys in front of us were running high 4.70s so I knew we could run a mid-4.70 if everything went right," Medlen said. "The only thing worrying me was that they were saying some people were getting out of the groove. I didn't want to waste a run like that so I tried real hard to keep it straight. It started moving around down there but I wasn't hitting anything so I wasn't about to lift."

Line was quickest in Pro Stock, powering his KB Framers Pontiac Grand Am to a track record run of 6.789 at 202.39. Line's teammate, recently crowned season champion Greg Anderson, was second in his Summit Racing Grand Am with a 6.790 at 202.85.

"I don't think I'll stay No. 1 for long so I might as well enjoy this moment," Line said. "I can almost guarantee my boss (Anderson) will improve on those numbers tomorrow morning. The conditions should be even better than just now and having a little extra heat on the track will help quite a bit."

Tonglet paced Pro Stock Bike, covering the distance in 7.213 at 190.59 on his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

"It looks like the guys have our Harley-Davidsons set-up perfectly for this track and these conditions," Tonglet said. "I got by Andrew only on mile-per-hour. You don't really know you're going so fast when you're on a smooth ride like that but when you get to about 150 mph you are still sitting up on the bike and you can really feel it. Especially on these Harley's because the wind is trying to rip you off the bike when you are going that fast.

"Tomorrow could be just as fast if the weather stays cool like this, especially the morning session. We're just looking to run consistently so that we're ready for whatever happens."

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The $147,000 Budweiser Shootout, a bonus event for eight qualified Top Fuel drivers, starts at noon.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Scott Kalitta , Jason Line , Eric Medlen , GT Tonglet