Richmond: GM Racing Saturday summary

Line Drives Pontiac to No. 1 Qualifier in Quickest Pro Stock Field in NHRA History Points Leader Sets Both National Time and Speed Records at Richmond DINWIDDIE, Va., October 14, 2006 - Cool, crisp autumn temperatures have provided...

Line Drives Pontiac to No. 1 Qualifier in Quickest Pro Stock Field in NHRA History
Points Leader Sets Both National Time and Speed Records at Richmond

DINWIDDIE, Va., October 14, 2006 - Cool, crisp autumn temperatures have provided record-setting racing conditions through the first two days of this weekend's inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, and after the dust had settled from four rounds of qualifying Pontiac driver Jason Line held both ends of the NHRA Pro Stock national record. Line drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to an elapsed time of 6.571 seconds at 209.49 mph, establishing a national record for both and making the quickest and fastest Pro Stock pass in NHRA history. His fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season puts him on the point of the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history with No. 16 qualifier Erica Enders qualified at an elapsed time of 6.630 seconds.

"It'll be interesting to see if (the record) stands through the weekend," said Line. "On that run, not to downplay it, we could've gone faster. If we would've made a perfect run we could've run a low .56, but that would've been it. That would've been a perfect run. So I definitely think Greg (Anderson) can go faster tomorrow. Unless the weather changes drastically, he can go that fast.

"For now, it's fun. It's fun for everybody. We all get to faster than we've ever gone before, and that makes it fun for us and the fans. We try to go as fast as we can every run. Obviously we've sort of swung for the fences more so this weekend than normal, and I think it actually hurt us probably. I don't know, we'll see. We'll try to make good, steady runs and see if we can go four rounds tomorrow."

Greg Stanfield proved that his No. 1 qualifier at Reading (Pa.) two weeks ago was no fluke by qualifying second in his PiranaZ Pontiac GTO with a career-best elapsed time of 6.854 seconds. The Bossier City, La., native also joined Line in the 209 mph club with a top speed of 209.17 mph.

"I just have to thank this team, my brother, just the whole crew," said Stanfield. "They're doing a great job and really have their stuff together. Conditions are there, so I think the main thing tomorrow is to get a hold of the racetrack. That last qualifying run today was definitely treacherous for some cars. You just can't overpower it tomorrow. That's kind of weird to say that we're worried about overpowering the track, but it is."

Line's teammate Greg Anderson held the national elapsed-time record for less than 24 hours after his record-setting run in qualifying yesterday, but he made four solid qualifying runs of 6.598, 6.604, 6.598, and 6.594 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO, and he will start fourth for tomorrow's eliminations in his dogged pursuit of points leader Line. The three-time defending NHRA POWERade champ entered this weekend trailing his teammate by 56 points.

"The car's definitely consistent, we just haven't quite hit the bull's-eye yet," said Anderson. "We know we've missed it and still made four consistent runs, so if we get it right then it's going to make four consistent runs faster and that's obviously what it's going to take to win.

"Jason made that run, he made that perfect run," said Anderson. "I have yet to make that perfect run, and if you don't you probably won't have the record. We've just got a lot of great cars out here and whoever hits the bull's-eye, they're going to get the record. Jason did it this week and he did it last week (Reading), so my hat's off to him. He's done a better job, he's done great and he deserves it. We'll just see if we can go four rounds and get 80 points tomorrow."

Other Pontiac qualifiers joining Line (1st), Stanfield (2nd) and Anderson (4th) include Tom Martino in 11th, Mike Edwards in 12th and Jim Yates in 15th.

Kenny Koretsky made a career-best pass in his Indicom Chevy Cobalt to qualify third and lead the way for Team Chevy. Koretsky had an elapsed time of 6.594 seconds at 208.84 mph, identically matching Anderson's e.t. and speed but claiming the No. 3 spot since he posted his time first.

"That was an unbelievable feeling to go that fast, a .59," said Koretsky. "We know we can probably go a little quicker. That was only the third run I've ever made in that car. We know there's a little more left in it, but it was exciting, it was a lot of fun. It's a mineshaft out there, and if you hit the clutch right you've got a great opportunity to go fast. We were actually trying to run like a .56 or .57 on that last run, and we just had a little bit too much clutch and shook the car. But to still go out there and make four runs and run over 208 mph is pretty awesome."

Two-time NHRA POWERade champ (2002, 2000) Jeg Coughlin made an impressive return to Pro Stock this weekend after nearly a season hiatus. The Ohio native qualified his Slammer's/Jeg's Chevy Cobalt seventh with an elapsed time of 6.604 seconds at 208.33 mph.

"It feels great to be back, definitely," said Coughlin. "(Team owner) Victor (Cagnazzi), Todd Bevis, Roy Simmons, Tommy Utt, the entire Slammers Ultimate Milk team has done just an outstanding job making me feel real comfortable. I got fit in the car at Victor's shop the first of June, and from there everything's just fit like a glove.

"If you could write a perfect script for Pro Stock, this would definitely be it, this weekend. To have weather conditions as they are, to have track conditions as they are, and to have the horsepower we make now in these GM Chevy Cobalts, it's really, really exciting. To see the national record fall two weeks ago, and then to see it fall yet again this weekend is very exciting for all of the competitors and all of the fans. Hat's off to Greg and Jason and their whole team on an outstanding job."

Other Chevy qualifiers include Coughlin's teammate Tommy Lee in sixth, Dave Connolly (8th) and Kurt Johnson (9th).

In Funny Car, Tony Pedregon led the way in qualifying for Team Chevy in his Q Racing Chevy Monte Carlo, qualifying sixth with an elapsed time of 4.788 seconds at 312.28 mph. Other Chevy qualifiers include Tommy Johnson Jr. (7th), Del Worsham (8th), Cruz Pedregon (10th), Gary Densham (14th), Phil Burkart Jr. (15th) and Tim Wilkerson (16th). Eric Medlen in a Ford was No. 1 qualifier with a track-record elapsed time of 4.728 seconds at 311.49 mph.

In the Sportsman classes, Frank Manzo established a new national elapsed-time record for Alcohol Funny Car, shattering Jay Payne's old mark (5.519 seconds) with an eye-popping 5.469 e.t. at 262.44 mph in his Lucas Oil Chevy Monte Carlo. The Morganville, N.J., native already clinched his 10th NHRA Lucas Oil Alcohol Funny Car title just two weeks ago at Reading.

"No doubt about it, the air here in Virginia this particular weekend is probably some of the best air I've ever seen," said Manzo. "The grains of water, which measures how dry the air is, is very low. In an Alcohol Funny Car, that really increases the horsepower. We went up there for the first run (yesterday) thinking the track wouldn't be that good until after the pro cars ran. We were surprised at how well the car ran with the track conditions we had. We went down the track and made a full run and we were very astonished to go 5.46. We had it detuned and a little calmed down, but we were lucky. We have that great Lucas Oil in our race car and that allows us to do whatever we want.

"I had 10 phone calls on my cell when I got back to the trailer (last night). It's just unbelievable that happened only 20 minutes after I made the run. It's incredible how fast the news gets around the whole United States and I even got a phone call from the West Coast to congratulate me. That was very nice of everybody and that was fun. Records are great to have, but I'm not here to break the National record for Alcohol Funny Car, but rather to win the race and put our Lucas Oil Chevy in the winner's circle."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Greg Anderson , Gary Densham , Tommy Lee , Cruz Pedregon , Frank Manzo , Greg Stanfield , Kenny Koretsky , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Phil Burkart , Jason Line , Jay Payne , Eric Medlen , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards