Reading: Friday qualifying report

Kalitta, Capps, Koretsky and Hines Qualifying Leaders at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals MOHNTON, Pa. - Doug Kalitta raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the 20th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. Ron Capps, Kenny...

Kalitta, Capps, Koretsky and Hines Qualifying Leaders at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals

MOHNTON, Pa. - Doug Kalitta raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the 20th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Ron Capps, Kenny Koretsky and Andrew Hines also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the $1.7 million race, the 21st of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Kalitta, who entered the weekend in second place in the category point standings, powered his Mac Tools dragster to a leading run of 4.498 seconds at 326.95 mph to pace the field.

"Our car really ties in well to this place," Kalitta said. "Conditions are usually cool and it seems like a real good track with even lanes. If I knew how, I would make every track just like this one."

Tony Schumacher, who needs to add four points to his series lead to clinch his second NHRA Top Fuel world championship title, was second in the U.S. Army dragster with a 4.528 at 323.89, while Australian David Grubnic was third with a 4.554 at 326.08 in the Red Line Oil dragster.

If Kalitta holds on to the top spot it will be his sixth No. 1 effort of the season.

"I was really happy to run the 49 in font of a nice crowd like we had out here tonight," Kalitta said. "It got the crowd going pretty good. The run was nice and straight and the cool weather had to help a bit. We got the good run in today and hopefully it will hold up for tomorrow. There are a lot of strong cars and you never know what will happen."

Capps, who is looking for his first No. 1 qualifying award of the season in Funny Car, steered the green Skoal Racing Chevy Monte Carlo to a 4.796 at 318.47.

"Obviously it's been a tough year for the green Skoal team," Capps said. "We're fighting just to get in the top 10 at this point. But there's only three races left in the year and the guys are like, 'you know what, let's just win a few and end on a high note.' Everyone is just relaxed and getting back to why they love drag racing and just having fun."

Gary Densham was second in the Auto Club Ford Mustang with a 4.800 at 319.07, while Del Worsham was third in his Checker Schuck's Kragen Monte Carlo with a 4.800 at 318.99.

John Force, who can clinch his 13th NHRA POWERade Funny Car world championship at this event if he can add 40 points to his series lead, was fourth in the Castrol GTX Start Up Mustang with a 4.828 at 286.50.

Capps, who has qualified in the top five only two times this season (third at Las Vegas, fifth at Englishtown, N.J.), hopes his run is the beginning of something good after enduring a season filled with two DNQs and 15 first round losses.

"We DNQ'd in Chicago but we were on the same run as that one right there until something broke on the bottom half of the motor," he continued. "But the guys didn't get down, they went to work and fixed the problem and now here we are. It's only one day and one run but the looks on everybody's faces in this pit makes this one feel pretty damn good."

Koretsky, from Richboro, Pa., went to the top of the Pro Stock field running a track record 6.697 at 205.16 in his Nitrofish Wear Dodge Stratus.

"We're real excited," said Koretsky, who is in search of his first career No. 1 qualifying award. "We can hold it all weekend. Larry Morgan put a new motor in the car. Eddie did a great job with the car. That's why we're so fast.

"Anything can happen tomorrow with two more runs. For me, I'm just so happy to be out here and qualifying well. If we keep the pole position, that's great. Everyone knows that we can do it out here. We just need some luck on race day."

Hines leads the Pro Stock Bike class with a 7.101 at 189.50 on his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley Davidson.

"We have a little bit of room for improvement," Hines said. "The V-Rod wasn't quite up to par getting off the line. We were hitting a lot of bumps down at the end of the track. The bikes were really affected by that. All in all, the bike ran decent. It wasn't horrible. It was quick enough just to barely snag that No. 1 spot by a thousandth. So we're happy with our performance."

Qualifying continues Saturday at 11 a.m.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Larry Morgan , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Kenny Koretsky , Andrew Hines