Sonoma Friday Recap

SONOMA, Calif. - Bob Vandergriff Jr. led Friday's Top Fuel qualifying at the 12th annual Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway, eclipsing a three year old elapsed time record in the process. Vandergriff, from Cumming, Ga., covered the...

SONOMA, Calif. - Bob Vandergriff Jr. led Friday's Top Fuel qualifying at the 12th annual Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway, eclipsing a three year old elapsed time record in the process. Vandergriff, from Cumming, Ga., covered the quarter-mile in 4.552 seconds at 317.49 mph in his Jerzees dragster, breaking the previous time record held by the late Blaine Johnson (4.614 seconds, 1996). "We were close to clicking it (off) because the front tires came up off the ground at the start, but we got it under control and drove it on down the track," Vandergriff said. "It was a great run." John Force and Jeg Coughlin were also qualifying leaders in their respective pro categories at the $1.2 million race, the 14th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., led Funny Car with a 5.000 at 299.00 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, just edging Whit Bazemore's Kendall Oil Chevrolet Camaro for the top spot. Bazemore's machine covered the distance in 5.002 at 304.94. "We're right there in the hunt," Force said. "Whit's been running good lately and those Chevys are starting to come around since they got the new body. We haven't won a race here at Sonoma lately and we'd like to do it this weekend for the fans, Castrol and Allied Signal." Tony Pedregon, who qualified third in Funny Car, set a track speed record in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang at 307.65 mph. Coughlin, from Columbus, Ohio, paced the 16-car Pro Stock order with a 6.946 at 199.08 in his Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass. Winston points leader Warren Johnson, the event's defending champion, failed to qualify during Friday's two sessions. He'll try to improve on his 7.150 at 199.20 during Saturday's qualifying sessions (11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m).

SONOMA, Calif. -- Results Friday after qualifying for the 14th annual Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway, 14th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Top Fuel -- 1. Bob Vandergriff, Alpharetta, Ga., 4.552 seconds, 317.49 mph; 2. Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest, Calif., 4.559, 316.01; 3. Eddie Hill, Wichita Falls, Texas, 4.619, 318.09; 4. Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 4.623, 314.17; 5. Joe Amato, Exeter, Pa., 4.624, 315.27; 6. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 4.633, 309.42; 7. Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.678, 296.18; 8. Jim Head, Columbus, Ohio, 4.712, 304.32; 9. Robert Reehl, Whittier, Calif., 4.726, 309.13; 10. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., 4.758, 294.63; 11. Larry Dixon, Cardiff, Calif., 4.765, 306.05; 12. Randy Parks, Lombard, Ill., 4.783, 304.05; 13. Mike Dunn, Wrightsville, Pa., 4.836, 291.45; 14. Tim Gibson, Irvine, Calif., 4.927, 282.42; 15. David Grubnic, Ennis, Mont., 4.948, 296.05; 16. Cory McClenathan, Anaheim, Calif., 5.020, 202.70.

Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Ford Mustang, 5.000, 299.00; 2. Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis, Chevrolet Camaro, 5.002, 305.84; 3. Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills, Calif., Mustang, 5.003, 307.65; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Ottumwa, Iowa, Pontiac Firebird, 5.027, 307.09; 5. Dean Skuza, Brecksville, Ohio, Dodge Avenger, 5.092, 292.33; 6. Frank Pedregon, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Firebird, 5.098, 295.92; 7. Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Firebird, 5.127, 297.75; 8. Ron Capps, La Costa, Calif., Camaro, 5.176, 284.09; 9. Cruz Pedregon, Camarillo, Calif., Firebird, 5.252, 271.52; 10. Dale Creasy Jr., Lansing, Ill., Firebird, 5.375, 280.14; 11. Gary Densham, Bellflower, Calif., Firebird, 5.377, 231.87; 12. Jim Epler, Phoenix, Chevrolet Corvette, 5.443, 223.47; 13. Al Hofmann, Umatilla, Fla., Firebird, 5.472, 271.52; 14. Chuck Beal, San Diego, Avenger, 5.566, 205.54; 15. Al Segrini, Canton, Mass., Firebird, 5.727, 243.28; 16. Scotty Cannon, Lyman, S.C., Firebird, 6.153, 189.47.

Pro Stock -- 1. Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.946, 199.08; 2. Darrell Alderman, Morehead, Ky., Dodge Avenger, 6.958, 198.32; 3. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Avenger, 6.959, 198.61; 4. Mike Edwards, Broken Arrow, Okla., Chevrolet Camaro, 6.960, 199.40; 5. Richie Stevens, New Orleans, Pontiac Firebird, 6.963, 197.71; 6. Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Firebird, 6.964, 197.74; 7. V. Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Camaro, 6.968, 198.47; 8. Ron Krisher, Warren, Ohio, Firebird, 6.980, 197.62; 9. Mike Thomas, Knoxville, Tenn., Firebird, 6.982, 197.51; 10. Tom Martino, Farmingdale, N.J., Firebird, 6.992, 198.00; 11. George Marnell, Las Vegas, Firebird, 6.996, 197.91; 12. Larry Morgan, Newark, Ohio, Avenger, 6.999, 198.88; 13. John Nobile, Melville, N.Y., Cutlass, 7.000, 197.28; 14. Mark Thomas, Cincinnati, Firebird, 7.007, 198.52; 15. Tony Gillig, Lake Zurich, Ill., Cutlass, 7.007, 196.90; 16. Robert Patrick, Fredricksburg, Va., Ford Probe, 7.011, 198.17.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Doug Herbert , Frank Pedregon , Tony Gillig , John Nobile , Jeg Coughlin , Robert Patrick , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Tommy Johnson , Dale Creasy Jr. , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Tom Martino , George Marnell , Allen Johnson , Tim Gibson , Jerry Toliver , Bob Vandergriff , Robert Reehl , Mike Edwards