THREE PROVISIONAL NATIONAL RECORDS SET AS QUALIFYING OPENS AT MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY MOHNTON, Pa. - Defending NHRA world champion Greg Anderson ran the quickest and fastest Pro Stock pass of all time Friday -- a 6.626 at 208.91 mph -- as qualifying...
THREE PROVISIONAL NATIONAL RECORDS SET AS QUALIFYING OPENS AT MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY
MOHNTON, Pa. - Defending NHRA world champion Greg Anderson ran the quickest and fastest Pro Stock pass of all time Friday -- a 6.626 at 208.91 mph -- as qualifying for the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals began at Maple Grove Raceway. Another three-time champion, Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Angelle Sampey, also posted a potential national record with a 6.939 on her Suzuki.
The nitro categories are led for the second week in a row by Don Schumacher Racing teammates Tony Schumacher and Mike Ashley. Schumacher coaxed a 4.471 at 331.85 mph out of his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, while Ashley ran the quickest and fastest pass in track history to lead Funny Car with a 4.694 at 330.96 mph in his Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger. Potential national records become official at the conclusion of the race.
"The way I look at it, I need the record bad," said Anderson, who trails Jason Line by 78 points. "It's a 40-point swing in my mind because the record is going down this weekend, it's just a matter of who's gonna get it."
Twelve of the 16 racers that make up the quickest field in class history posted career-best elapsed times to make the field. The record bump is Dave Northrop's 6.664 at 206.57 mph in his Nitro Fish Wear Dodge Stratus R/T.
The Mickey Thompson 6-Second Pro Stock Bike Club filled its last three positions as Sampey, Shawn Gann, and Karen Stoffer earned slots six through eight Friday afternoon. Sampey jumped in first with a 6.938 in the first round, which she later backed up for a national record with a 6.977. In the second round, Shawn Gann (6.952) and Stoffer (6.970) made the cut.
"As soon as I left I knew it was going to be good," Sampey said of her run. "It went nice and straight and I knew it was quick. I started jumping around down there, high-fiving everyone, yelling, 'I'm in the club I'm in the club.' "
Schumacher is also chasing every point he can get as the fight to defend his title continues.
"We're down to four races," Schumacher said. "Every single pass we make gets bigger and bigger. Every qualifying run, every point you can get, keeping lane choice on Sunday, all those things are huge right now. We're not in the points lead. We've made up a lot of the 336 points we were behind but we're still chasing."
The man Schumacher is chasing in the standings, Doug Kalitta, isn't letting up here, carding a second-best 4.496 at 328.94 mph.
For the second Friday night in a row, Ashley has the quickest Funny Car on the property. This time the Dodge driver used his quickest and fastest pass ever, which set both ends of the Maple Grove record for the class.
"I've been working hard on my driving with Frank Hawley and this team, as I said a week ago, is top notch. All of this recent success is just a matter of things finally coming together for us."