Pomona II: Friday qualifying report

Kalitta, Worsham, Anderson and Ellis Continue To Lead Qualifying at Auto Club NHRA Finals POMONA, Calif. -- Doug Kalitta raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the 40th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at...

Kalitta, Worsham, Anderson and Ellis Continue To Lead Qualifying at Auto Club NHRA Finals

POMONA, Calif. -- Doug Kalitta raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the 40th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.

Del Worsham, Greg Anderson and Chip Ellis also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the final of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Kalitta, who has solidified his position in second place in the season point standings, did not improve on his leading effort of 4.472 seconds at 328.62 mph in his Mac Tools dragster, but remained in the top spot.

"It would've been great to get in a quick time tonight but it wasn't meant to be," Kalitta said. "We had it loaded it up and it lost traction. Tony (Schumacher) had a good run in the opposite lane. Tomorrow we'll get the car in race mode and prepare for Sunday."

Schumacher posted the quickest run of the day at 4.485 seconds in the U.S. Army dragster, which moved him into second in the 16-car order.

Worsham, who entered the race tied with Gary Scelzi for second place in the Funny Car point standings, drove his Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a 4.737 at 328.54 to pace the category. Worsham has won this race two of the previous three seasons.

"That was a good run for us, much cleaner than last night's pass," said Worsham, who lives in Chino Hills, Calif. "We were probably a little lucky last night. There was a lot of tire shake during that run and I almost had to lift but it cleared up right at the last minute. Today's run was just smooth and perfect.

"We'll push it a little bit tomorrow to see if it goes back to tire shake or if we can get a little more E.T. out of it. The air should be good so we'll stand on it and see what happens. We have to be smart because we want to stay No. 1 if we can. It's so much fun having all your friends and neighbors reading your name in the headlines."

Anderson stayed at the top of the Pro Stock field by virtue of his Thursday performance of 6.713 at 205.10 in his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am. Should he remain at the top spot Anderson will pass Warren Johnson for the most single-season No.1 qualifying awards in NHRA history.

"I thought we'd all be running 6.60s today after the way we started," Anderson said. "But the air went away and the (adjusted altitude) was probably 500, 600 feet worse, which knocked at least three hundredths of a second off our E.T.s. I guess tomorrow morning will now be the run where everyone shoots for the moon.

"I'm kinda surprised that more people didn't step up today, even though it was hotter. Larry Morgan did but not many others. After the tire spinning we saw yesterday I figured a lot of people would get better. I'm sure they will by tomorrow morning. It should be exciting."

Morgan clocked the quickest run of the day in Pro Stock in his Dodge Stratus at 6.725 at 205.22, which moved him into second in the 16-car lineup.

Ellis leads the Pro Stock Bike category, running a track record time of 7.063 at 187.36 on his G-Squared S&S Star Buell. The former AMA Pro Star champion, who is in search of his second career No. 1 qualifying award, captured the honor at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis earlier this season.

Andrew Hines, rider of the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, is currently 11th in the Pro Stock Bike qualifying order. Should he remain qualified, Hines, 21, will win the category points title and become NHRA's youngest world champion.

"Everyone keeps coming up to me congratulating me, but we haven't done anything yet," Hines said. "It's great to be qualified for now, but the pressure isn't gone. I'm concerned about race day and we need to step up and get ready for Sunday. I want to earn one more win before the season is over and that's where the pressure comes from."

Qualifying continues Saturday at 11 a.m. (PT).

-nhra-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Del Worsham , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Andrew Hines , Chip Ellis