Topeka: Friday qualifying report

BARTONE SITS NO. 1 IN TOPEKA; DIXON, CONNOLLY ALSO IN PROVISIONAL SPOTS AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, Kan. -- After nearly two years since his last No. 1 qualifier, Funny Car driver Tony Bartone raced to the provisional top spot Friday at the ...


BARTONE SITS NO. 1 IN TOPEKA; DIXON, CONNOLLY ALSO IN PROVISIONAL SPOTS AT HEARTLAND PARK

TOPEKA, Kan. -- After nearly two years since his last No. 1 qualifier, Funny Car driver Tony Bartone raced to the provisional top spot Friday at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

Larry Dixon and Dave Connolly were also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the ninth of 24 events on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Bartone drove his Canidae Pet Food Chevy Monte Carlo to a 4.881-second pass at 301.81 mph to become the provisional top qualifier. It would be Bartone's second career No. 1 qualifier, with his first coming in 2006.

"Our last No.1 qualifier was in Englishtown and I remember it like it was yesterday," said Bartone. "We've got a good car but what we're lacking is consistency. If we can pick up some consistency, maybe we can go a few rounds and win one of these things."

Current Funny Car points leader Tim Wilkerson sits 12th after two rounds of qualifying, while defending world champion Tony Pedregon is in the 18th spot.

Two-time world champion Larry Dixon picked up the provisional No. 1 in Top Fuel, driving his U.S. Smokeless Tobacco dragster to a 4.527 at 325.30. It would be Dixon's first No. 1 qualifier of the season, 28th of his career, and third at Heartland Park Topeka.

"The first round we had some trouble with the motor so I just shut it off," said Dixon. "We came back and made the adjustments we needed and knew the weather would be this way and to have a run like that is really just a testament to (crew chief) Donnie Bender."

Defending event winner Brandon Bernstein currently sits in the seventh spot, while points leader and defending world champion Tony Schumacher is ninth.

Picking up where he left off in Bristol, Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly followed up his win at Thunder Valley with the provisional No. 1 qualifier in Topeka. Connolly drove his Charter Communications Chevy Cobalt to a 6.730 at 204.20. It would be Connolly's first No. 1 qualifier of the season and sixth of his career.

"I think we're getting closer and closer," said Connolly, who spent the first five races of the season on the sidelines. "I was just happy to pick up a final and get a win two weeks ago. My team's working hard and we've got a lot of catching up to do."

Current points leader and defending event winner Greg Anderson sits in the ninth spot, while defending world champion Jeg Coughlin is currently eighth.

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 11:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday's eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Tim Wilkerson , Brandon Bernstein , Dave Connolly