Sonoma: Saturday qualifying report

Anderson Going For Pro Stock Win Record and Western Swing Sweep at Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals Kalitta, Force and Savoie also claim No. 1 qualifying awards at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif. -- Greg Anderson moved into position to tie the ...

Anderson Going For Pro Stock Win Record and Western Swing Sweep at Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals
Kalitta, Force and Savoie also claim No. 1 qualifying awards at Infineon Raceway

SONOMA, Calif. -- Greg Anderson moved into position to tie the NHRA Pro Stock single-season record for victories Saturday with a top qualifying performance at the FRAM Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway. If he's successful in his quest during Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations, he will become only the fifth driver in NHRA history to sweep the Western Swing.

Doug Kalitta, John Force and Angelle Savoie also are the top qualifiers in their categories at the $1.5 million race, the 15th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Anderson, who has earned 11 victories in 14 events this season, raced to the 12th No. 1 qualifying effort of the year and the 28th of his career, driving his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am to a track record performance of 6.693 seconds at 206.01 mph.

"This is the fourth track now where we've run a 6.6-second pass and we're still the only team to have done that so we're feeling pretty special at the moment," said Anderson, who with a victory tomorrow could tie the current season win mark of 12 that he set last season and in the process join Joe Amato (1991), John Force (1994), Cory McClenathan (1997) and Larry Dixon (2003) as winners of the circuit's notoriously grueling three-race stretch (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.).

Anderson teammate Jason Line was second with a 6.719 at 205.54 in the KB Framers Grand Am, while Larry Morgan drove his Team Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T to a 6.722 at 205.10 to anchor the third position. Six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson failed to qualify in his GM Performance Parts Grand Am.

In Top Fuel, Kalitta scored his second No. 1 position of the season and 17th of his career, taking the top position with a 4.574 at 323.66 in his Mac Tools dragster.

"This track has been good to us in the past," said Kalitta, who earned consecutive victories here from 1998-2000. "We've won here three times, so I hope that luck continues tomorrow. I've been trying not to let myself think about (the POWERade Series points) too much but we are running out of races and we can't let (Tony) Schumacher get out there on us. He ran well today and they'll be strong tomorrow. We'll have to see if we can stay with them."

David Grubnic was second in the Kalitta Air dragster with a 4.579 at 311.99, while Brandon Bernstein will start from the third spot with a 4.615 at 317.12 in the Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster

Force raced to the 120th No. 1 award of his career by recording a performance of 4.823 at 318.84 in his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang.

"We need to be careful in the morning," Force said. "We saw (Whit) Bazemore lose in the first round three times in a row and we all know that can happen to anyone."

Tony Pedregon was second in the final Funny Car order, posting a 4.886 at 318.17 in his Quaker State Chevy Monte Carlo, while Tim Wilkerson, in the Levi, Ray and Shoup Monte Carlo, clocked a 4.899 at 313.95 for the third starting spot.

Savoie earned her second qualifying award of the season and the 36th of her career by posting a 7.081 at 188.10 on the U.S. Army Suzuki.

"There are only two tracks where I haven't won and this is one of them, so I'd like to get a win here and mark it off my list," Savoie said. "I think we showed we have the bike to get it done. We were able to pick it up today for a couple of reasons. First, I did a lot better job of driving. Plus, we both had new tires yesterday so they needed a few laps on them. And we have a brand new engine that's just now getting broken in. We should be all ready to go now."

Antron Brown was second with a 7.084 at 188.10 on his U.S. Army Suzuki, while Andrew Hines, who failed to back-up his category-best speed of 196.13 mph for a national record, was third on his Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson with a time of 7.100.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , John Force , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan , Tim Wilkerson , Brandon Bernstein , Jason Line , Andrew Hines