HIGHT, DIXON, EDWARDS AND HINES LEAD QUALIFYING AT O'REILLY NHRA MID-SOUTH NATIONALS MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Robert Hight raced to the Funny Car qualifying lead Friday at the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals. Larry Dixon, Mike Edwards and Andrew...
HIGHT, DIXON, EDWARDS AND HINES LEAD QUALIFYING AT O'REILLY NHRA MID-SOUTH NATIONALS
MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Robert Hight raced to the Funny Car qualifying lead Friday at the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals.
Larry Dixon, Mike Edwards and Andrew Hines also led their categories at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Hight, who barely made it into the NHRA Full Throttle Series Countdown to 1, has again made the most of his opportunity and followed up his back to back wins in Dallas and Charlotte, N.C. by leading qualifying at the Memphis Motorsports Park at the third event in the six-race championship playoffs.
Hight powered his Auto Club Ford Mustang to a No. 1 effort of 4.074 seconds at 310.70 mph. If the performance holds through Saturday's two qualifying sessions (11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) it will be his fourth No.1 position of the season. Hight earned three bonus points in qualifying under NHRA's new qualifying bonus system, which awards the top three qualifiers in each pro category 3, 2 and 1 points per session.
"This Ford Mustang is so fun to drive right now. I love being in the position of being chased. It wasn't very long ago when I would get up in the morning thinking, 'Can we get into the top 10?' It's definitely a different mindset."
Jack Beckman, was second in his Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger, Hight's teammate Ashley Force Hood was third overall in her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.
In Top Fuel, Dixon paced the field with a 3.810 at 318.99 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to hold down the top spot. He was quickest in both sessions and earned the maximum six-point bonus available in his category.
"We decided to change out of scuffed tires during the last oil down, so we went back to the pit and put on stickier tires," said Dixon, who ran the third-fastest speed of the 1,000-foot era. "We got pretty rushed, and I even got to help change tires. I was suiting up as soon as we got back to the staging lanes. I don't know if the tires made the difference, but it was a great run!"
Antron Brown was second in his Toyota/ Matco Tools dragster, while current points leader Tony Schumacher was third in his U.S. Army dragster.
Edwards again continued his impressive playoff performance and raced to the lead in Pro Stock with a 6.552 at 210.18 in his A.R.T.-Young Life Pontiac GXP. Edwards was quickest in both sessions, which netted him six bonus points.
"We always try to make the best run we can make, and those bonus points are valuable," said Edwards. "They can add up to a whole round of racing if you score all 12 bonus points and get the No. 1 qualifier points."
Hines was quickest in Pro Stock Motorcycle, with a performance of 6.899 at 195.85 mph on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. He also earned a total of four bonus points for being third quickest in the first session and the quickest in the second session.
"I've struggled on the starting line lately, but I think it helps to have confidence from being in the No. 1 spot, said Hines."