Sonoma Saturday Qualifying Report

BAZEMORE SETS TRACK RECORD TO LEAD FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING AT SEARS POINT Vandergriff, Johnson also earn top qualifying positions at Autolite Nationals SONOMA, Calif. - Whit Bazemore set a track record for elapsed time at the NHRA Autolite...

BAZEMORE SETS TRACK RECORD TO LEAD FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING AT SEARS POINT Vandergriff, Johnson also earn top qualifying positions at Autolite Nationals

SONOMA, Calif. - Whit Bazemore set a track record for elapsed time at the NHRA Autolite Nationals Saturday in his Kendall Chevrolet Camaro to earn his second No. 1 qualifying effort of the season. Bob Vandergriff Jr. and Kurt Johnson also will lead their categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the $1.2 million race, the 14th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Bazemore, from Indianapolis, covered the Sears Point Raceway quarter-mile in 4.931 seconds at 305.77 mph, edging John Force for the top spot in Funny Car. Force ran 4.949 at 307.86 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang for second-best in the 16-car order. "This track has really surprised some people this weekend," Bazemore said. "We didn't expect the kind of numbers we're running here. This track We've made some consistent runs this weekend and now we just have to get the job done on the track and get a win." Bazemore was happy to out-qualify his rival. "Anytime you can beat John Force out here for anything, you feel good about it ," said Bazemore, who ran beside Force in both qualifying attempts Saturday. "During that first run we were both hooked up pretty good and we squeezed by him. I guess he thought he had it and we snuck by him there at the last second." Bazemore, runner-up three times this season, including the last two events, will face Cruz Pedregon in the first round of eliminations. "That's going to be a war in the first round," Bazemore said. "We have a lot of respect for Cruz and the Pedregon family, but we're pretty intense out there on the track. It should be a good race." Vandergriff, from Alpharetta, Ga., earned his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season in his Jerzees dragster, as no one improved on his qualifying effort from Friday (4.552 at 317.49). "This feels good," Vandergriff said. "To come in here and run as consistently as we have says a lot about how our team is clicking right now. Ray Alley (crew chief) and the guys are doing a great job with the car. Now we want to get a win. It's going to be a chess match out there tomorrow and the team that can best judge the weather and changing track conditions is going to be the team that wins this one. We're going to give it our best shot." Johnson, from Lawrenceville, Ga., claimed his fourth top qualifying effort of the year in Pro Stock, driving his AC Delco Chevrolet Camaro to a track record 6.898 at 199.91. Warren Johnson, who failed to make the 16-car lineup during his first three attempts, made good on his last run down the track to earn the second spot in the lineup, covering the distance in 6.925 at 200.77, a track speed record.

SONOMA, Calif. -- First-round pairings for Sunday's eliminations for the 12th annual Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway, the 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 vs. 16. Garth Widdison, Hooper, Utah, 4.835, 293.47; 2. Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest, Calif., 4.559, 318.39 vs. 15. David Grubnic, Ennis, Mont., 4.811, 299.20; 3. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 4.588, 314.51 vs. 14. Larry Dixon, San Diego, 4.765, 306.05; 4. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., 4.605, 316.97 vs. 13. Randy Parks, Lombard, Ill., 4.728, 304.05; 5. Cory McClenathan, Anaheim, Calif., 4.610, 307.51 vs. 12. Robert Reehl, Whittier, Calif., 4.726, 309.13; 6. Eddie Hill, Wichita Falls, Texas, 4.619, 318.09 vs. 11. Jim Head, Columbus, Ohio, 4.712, 304.32; 7. Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 4.623, 314.17 vs. 10. Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.672, 320.36; 8. Joe Amato, Exeter, Pa., 4.624, 315.27 vs. 9. Mike Dunn, Wrightsville, Pa., 4.642, 317.34.

Funny Car -- 1. Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.931, 305.84 vs. 16. Cruz Pedregon, Camarillo, Calif., Pontiac Firebird, 5.252, 271.52; 2. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Ford Mustang, 4.949, 307.86 vs. 15. Chuck Beal, San Diego, Dodge Avenger, 5.251, 272.12; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Ottumwa, Iowa, Firebird, 4.989, 307.09 vs. 14. Cory Lee, R.S.M., Calif., Avenger, 5.168, 288.70; 4. Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills, Calif., Mustang, 5.003, 307.65 vs. 13. Dale Creasy Jr., Lansing, Ill., Firebird, 5.163, 289.88; 5. Scotty Cannon, Lyman, S.C., Firebird, 5.021, 299.66 vs. 12. Del Worsham, Laguna Hills, Calif., Firebird, 5.154, 297.42; 6. Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Firebird, 5.026, 302.28 vs. 11. Gary Densham, Bellflower, Calif., Firebird, 5.141, 297.02; 7. Frank Pedregon, Alta Loma, Calif., Firebird, 5.043, 295.92 vs. 10. Al Hofmann, Umatilla, Fla., Firebird, 5.113, 292.65; 8. Ron Capps, La Costa, Calif., Camaro, 5.045, 285.29 vs. 9. Dean Skuza, Brecksville, Ohio, Avenger, 5.092, 292.33.

Pro Stock -- 1. Kurt Johnson, Lawrenceville, Ga., Chevrolet Camaro, 6.898, 199.91 vs. 16. Tony Gillig, Lake Zurich, Ill., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.963, 198.20; 2. Warren Johnson, Buford, Ga., Pontiac Firebird, 6.925, 200.77 vs. 15. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Dodge Avenger, 6.959, 198.61; 3. Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Firebird, 6.930, 198.88 vs. 14. Darrell Alderman, Morehead, Ky., Avenger, 6.958, 198.32; 4. Mark Pawuk, Akron, Ohio, Firebird, 6.932, 198.90 vs. 13. Greg Anderson, Jacksonville, N.C., Firebird, 6.958, 198.47; 5. Mike Trumble, Pasadena, Texas, Firebird, 6.939, 199.37 vs. 12. Richie Stevens, New Orleans, Firebird, 6.956, 197.71; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Cutlass, 6.946, 199.55 vs. 11. George Marnell, Las Vegas, Firebird, 6.956, 198.50; 7. Mike Edwards, Broken Arrow, Okla., Camaro, 6.947, 199.40 vs. 10. Larry Morgan, Newark, Ohio, Avenger, 6.956, 199.17; 8. Bruce Allen, Arlington, Texas, Firebird, 6.948, 199.43 vs. 9. Mike Thomas, Knoxville, Tenn., Firebird, 6.954, 198.88.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Doug Herbert , Tony Gillig , Mike Thomas , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Dale Creasy Jr. , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Allen Johnson , Cory Lee , Mike Trumble , Jerry Toliver , Bob Vandergriff , Robert Reehl , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.