PONT Friday Recap

HEBRON - Friday Recap Speeds Climb, Track Records Fall by Larry Sullivan HEBRON, Ohio - Under humid, partly cloudy conditions NHRA racers found plenty of traction in the National Trail Raceway track and shattered the track speed records...

HEBRON - Friday Recap

Speeds Climb, Track Records Fall

by Larry Sullivan

HEBRON, Ohio - Under humid, partly cloudy conditions NHRA racers found plenty of traction in the National Trail Raceway track and shattered the track speed records during Friday's two qualifying sessions for the 34th annual NHRA Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing. By the end of the evening, Gary Scelzi, Tim Wilkerson, Kurt Johnson, and Matt Hines held the top rungs on their rewspective category ladders.

Scelzi drove the Team Winston dragster to the number one position in Top Fuel with a 4.612 second, 315.90 mph clocking in the first pair down the track during the evening qualifying session. Scelzi's speed was a track record, but only until Kenny Bernstein, with co-pilot Louie the Lizard, retook the speed record with a 4.642 at 321.88 mph.

"Tonight's a great night," said a smiling Scelzi after the run, "For some reason, Alan (Johnson, his crew chief) is really good with the humidity." In the last four races, Scelzi has gone to the semifinals four times and was in the finals at the last race. "It's going to be a great season."

Scelzi confidently predicted that if the weather is cooler tomorrow, as predicted, "You will see a high (4.)50, or even a couple of them."

Tim Wilkerson drove the JCIT Firebird to the overnight pole position in Funny Car with a track ET record 4.965 second, 306.74 mph run he admitted was less than optimum. "We went out there with our 'hot and snotty' setup and the track brought it to its knees." The track had much more traction than expected and most teams underestimated how much clutch it would handle. "To run like that in these conditions makes us real happy."

Kurt Johnson edged out his father, Warren, by 0.005 seconds for the top spot, clocked at 7.046 seconds at 195.60 mph. Warren did manage to reset the track speed record on his 7.051 second, 196.33 mph run.

Kurt gave credit for the run to the track smoothing since last year, the NHRA grinding the surface down to remove ripples. He said that, corrected to sea level, those two runs would have been in the 6.75 - 6.76 second range.

Matt Hines continued his mastery of the Pro Stock Bike category with a 7.401 at 185.68 mph.

Two more rounds of Professional qualifying Saturday will accompany the running of the Federal-Mogul Allstars competition for Sportsman competitors.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Gary Scelzi , Tim Wilkerson