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Dixon, Force, Yates and Hines are qualifying leaders. Friday at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. MOHNTON, Pa. - Larry Dixon moved into position to claim his eighth No. 1 qualifying effort of the season by clocking the quickest Top Fuel run Friday at...

Dixon, Force, Yates and Hines are qualifying leaders. Friday at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.

MOHNTON, Pa. - Larry Dixon moved into position to claim his eighth No. 1 qualifying effort of the season by clocking the quickest Top Fuel run Friday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

John Force, Jim Yates and Matt Hines also led their respective categories following the first two qualifying sessions at the $1.9 million race, the 18th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Dixon drove his Miller Lite dragster to a category-leading run of 4.560 seconds at 320.28 mph to pace the Top Fuel category.

"The track wasn't a factor, it was as good as you could ask for," said Dixon. "The setup was more of a factor tonight. I contribute that run to our testing prior to Indy. We tested during the day, but we stayed and tested at night and we learned a lot from that."

Force, who has won three consecutive events, led the 16-car Funny Car field when he raced his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang down the quarter-mile in 4.833 at 298.80.

"It was really hauling," said Force, the NHRA's most prolific winner with 104 career victories. "The conditions were good. The track is good and the air is good. This is an important race and we love racing on the East Coast, especially coming here after all the pressure at Indy, even though we won, because it was a mental struggle. It's fun out here running at night. Everybody is really jazzed up out here trying to go fast and run some low numbers. The car might've run an 80-flat if it would've gone on down the track. The car felt like it drove to the inside and then I saw (Bruce) Sarver, so that must've been early in the run. He came over at me and I drove her back."

Yates led the Pro Stock field as he drove his Split Fire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am to a performance of 6.825 at 200.80. Yates, who is third in the standings and trails series leader Jeg Coughlin by nine points, says qualifying atop the Pro Stock field is important.

"The morning session will be pretty good, depending on what the humidity does," said Yates. "Hopefully we can hold on to the (No. 1 position). I think we had a little left in that run, but we're excited. We're racing for that championship and jumping up there and getting the top spot is a couple more points and right now every point matters when you're only nine points behind the leader."

Hines, who is going after his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season, paced the Pro Stock Bike field when he rode his Eagle One Suzuki to a 7.179, 182.33 pass.

"The humidity was definitely skyrocketing for the evening session run," said Hines. "I couldn't believe that it went up about 15 to 20 percent in a half-hour. I felt like I had a pretty good run going, maybe a 7.15. I was surprised that it was only a 7.21. We lost a little bit of a tailwind from the first session and that hurt us too. The air was dead still for the second run. We'll take a 7.17."

Qualifying continues Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , John Force