Seattle: Saturday qualifying report

BERNSTEIN, HIGHT AND LINE EARN NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITIONS AT SCHUCK'S AUTO SUPPLY NHRA NATIONALS KENT, Wash. -- Defending event Top Fuel champion Brandon Bernstein raced to the No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA...

BERNSTEIN, HIGHT AND LINE EARN NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITIONS AT SCHUCK'S AUTO SUPPLY NHRA NATIONALS

KENT, Wash. -- Defending event Top Fuel champion Brandon Bernstein raced to the No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Pacific Raceways.

Robert Hight and Jason Line also will lead their categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations in their respective categories at the 14th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Series.

Top Fuel's Bernstein powered to a 4.555 second run at 327.11 in his Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster to claim his third top qualifying effort of the season and 11th of his career.

It was another extremely hot day at Pacific Raceways and crew chiefs struggled to find relevant data in their tuning log books. Saturday's first qualifying session started with some cloud cover but that quickly gave way to more sunshine.

"It's probably gonna be hot again tomorrow so we'll have to see how it works out for us," Bernstein said. "Seattle's always been good to the Budweiser team. I think [crew chief] Tim Richards really like running here and it seems he's got a lot of good data for this track.

"We've had some success this year but the competition in this class is so fierce that you have to be totally on your game every week. We say you can go from hero-to-zero real quick out here and it's so true. It's very humbling but that's just part of the game we play."

Friday's Top Fuel leader, Rod Fuller, ended up second with a best of 4.578 at 322.19 mph in his Valvoline/David Powers Homes dragster. Melanie Troxel, who held the Top Fuel points lead until last weekend, moved to fourth with a 4.610 at 322.50 mph in her Skull Shine dragster. New POWERade Series leader Doug Kalitta dropped back to seventh with a 4.656 at 324.20 mph in his Mac Tools dragster.

Hight earned his fifth No. 1 position of the season in Funny Car with a 4.840 at 318.17 mph in his Auto Club Ford Mustang. The runner-up at this race last year, Hight was 16th after Friday's two qualifying sessions and was happy the team made the correct adjustments to give him his 11th career top qualifying effort.

"I couldn't sleep at all last night," Hight said. "We were 16th and I knew for sure the time wouldn't last through today. It was crunch time and I went up there so nervous for that first round. The thing is Jimmy [Prock, crew chief] is so confident and it helps me to see him like that. Fortunately, the cloud cover held for our pass and it was a good one."

Points leader Ron Capps is third with a best of 4.864 at 313.00 mph in his Brut Dodge Charger. Challenger John Force ended up sixth with a 4.903 at 316.52 mph in his Castrol GTX Mustang. Interestingly, 13-time POWERade Series champ Force will face Capps' teammate Gary Scelzi, the defending category champ, in the first round Sunday. Scelzi finished the day 11th with a 4.945 at 309.20 mph in his Mopar/Oakley Charger.

In Pro Stock, new series leader Line clocked a 6.690 at 206.80 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to take his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 10th of his career.

"I probably have the best racecar here," Line said. "I mean, it's better to be in my position than anyone else's at this point. Usually, we like coming here because it's nice and cool and the scenery is nice, but when it's 94 degrees out there it knocks some of the fun out of it. Tuning the engine isn't as hard, but setting the chassis up is a tougher deal."

Defending race winner Kurt Johnson was second in his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt, while Line's teammate, three-time defending world champ Greg Anderson, was fourth overall in his Summit Racing GTO.

-nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein , Jason Line , Tim Richards , David Powers , Robert Hight , Rod Fuller