St. Louis: Hillary Will Saturday summary

Hillary Will starts quest for Top Fuel title at Gateway from the No. 13 position MADISON, Ill. (May 5, 2007) -- After rains washed out both of the Top Fuel qualifying sessions on Friday for the NHRA O'Reilly Midwest Nationals at Gateway ...

Hillary Will starts quest for Top Fuel title at Gateway from the No. 13 position

MADISON, Ill. (May 5, 2007) -- After rains washed out both of the Top Fuel qualifying sessions on Friday for the NHRA O'Reilly Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, in Madison, Ill., just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Hillary Will drove her KB Racing LLC-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel dragster to the No. 13 qualifying position in the final qualifying session on Saturday.

Entering the final qualifying session, Will was outside the field looking in. But when all was said and done, the second year Top Fuel driver was in the field for tomorrow's eliminations by virtue of a clutch 4.711-second elapsed time at 320.43 mph. She will face the veteran driver Cory McClenathan, who qualified No. 4 (4.616/326.08), in the opening round.

"Going into that last run I was actually a little nervous sitting in the car in the staging lanes prior to run," said Will following the final qualifying session. "It was hot. I heard Pro Stock drivers commenting on how slippery the track was and the car in front of us smoked the tires. My crew chief told me to be ready for anything.

"But when it came time to run, I remembered that we had been here before and that we had qualified for 29 races since I turned pro at the beginning of 2006. My confidence in my car and team helped calm me down and I went out there and got it down the track and ran our string of consecutive times to qualify to 30 in a row. My crew chief and team gave me the car to get the job done.

"Last year at Memphis we also went into the final qualifying session not qualified. Then in that final session there we got into the show, also at No. 13, and went to the final round during eliminations, finishing runner-up to my teammate Doug Kalitta.

"When you go into that final round not qualified it's all about perseverance and I think that this race will be all perseverance. Our plans call for us to duplicate our outing of last year in Memphis and hopefully go to the winner's circle this time."

-credit: kbr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Hillary Will