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MOHNTON, Pa. - Matt Hines is the number one qualifier and matched the national record for elapsed time in Pro Stock Motorcycle Friday at the 15th annual True Value NHRA Keystone Nationals. Scott Kalitta, John Force, and Kurt Johnson also led ...

MOHNTON, Pa. - Matt Hines is the number one qualifier and matched the national record for elapsed time in Pro Stock Motorcycle Friday at the 15th annual True Value NHRA Keystone Nationals.

Scott Kalitta, John Force, and Kurt Johnson also led their respective categories at Maple Grove Raceway after the first round of qualifying. The $1.6 million race is the 17th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Hines, from Trinidad, Colo., is in search of his third straight NHRA Winston championship and covered the quarter-mile in 7.212 seconds at 189.35 mph. "I still think there is the potential to break the record tomorrow," said Hines. "We're planning to set the record if not once but three times. I need all the points I can get and having the fastest bike out there makes me feel a little more comfortable."

Kalitta, from Ypsilanti, Mich., is holding on to his first number one qualifying spot since returning to the seat of a Top Fuel dragster after running a 4.589 at 307.37. "It feels great," said Kalitta. "I came into the season late and I want to help Doug (Kalitta) if I can and help him take some of the other guys out of the points race. I would have run event quicker if I would have made it to the end of the track. It is early and every guy out there can run quicker if the conditions are right. Yorba Linda, Calif.'s, Force once again leads the pack in the Funny Car category after speeding down the track in 4.967 at 282.13. "At least I qualified," said Force. "That's better than I in Indianapolis after the first round. (Crew chief Austin) Coil said I had a 480 light. I must of fell on the throttle because I haven't had a 480 light since last year." After a disappointing performance at the U.S. Nationals, Force is looking to finish the season strong. "At Indy we tried to go out and rotate the earth Force and we failed," said Force. "We don't want to do that anymore. It cost us the whole race. Today we focused so we could get qualified and go after the championship." Johnson, from Lawrenceville, Ga., set the Pro Stock track record in elapsed time with his pass of 6.872 at 199.02. "The concrete is so good here," said Johnson. "If you can make the move initially and keep it in the groove for the first 300 feet you will make a good run. If you get out of the groove you're going to have problems." Johnson is trying to visit the winner's circle for the fourth time this season. He is not ruling out an improvement on his track record e.t. "The track will get a little better," said Johnson. "It may improve by a hundredth of a second and hopefully we have six more passes to go."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Kurt Johnson , John Force , Scott Kalitta