Topeka Top Fuel Qualifying Review

SCELZI GRABS TOP FUEL NO 1 QUALIFYING SPOT DESPITE EXPLOSION TOPEKA, KAN. - Gary Scelzi got off to a good start as he seeks his third straight NHRA Top Fuel championship by posting the quickest qualifying time Friday at the 11th annual Advance...

SCELZI GRABS TOP FUEL NO 1 QUALIFYING SPOT DESPITE EXPLOSION

TOPEKA, KAN. - Gary Scelzi got off to a good start as he seeks his third straight NHRA Top Fuel championship by posting the quickest qualifying time Friday at the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., established a track-record elapsed time of 4.524 seconds, going 304.46 mph in the Top Fuel category. Scelzi was able to hold onto the top spot despite suffering an engine explosion at the finish line. "The explosion was huge." Scelzi said. "It was running fine and right before the finish line, 'Kaboom'. Fortunately we have a parachute button on the steering wheel. The comforting thing is that the safety guys are on you before you even unbuckle."

Tony Pedregon, Warren Johnson and Bob Panella Jr. also led in their respective categories at the 18th event in the 22 event $40-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing series. Pedregon, from Gardena, Calif., covered the quarter-mile to grab the number one position in Funny Car with a pass of 4.894 at 305.01. Pedregon was able to hold onto the top position despite having his left front tire go flat. "Outside of my helmet flipping up and me not being able to see, that was probably the wildest ride that I have been on in my driving career." Pedregon said.

Johnson, from Buford, Ga., trying for his fifth NHRA Pro Stock title, drove into the top spot going 6.907 seconds at 198.70 mph, both track records. "If the track stays the same, the 11 o'clock or earlier session tomorrow could really be better than what we had tonight." Johnson said.

"The track with a little sunshine on it would be a little bit better, could be a lot better for the session tomorrow." Panella, from Stockton, Calif., heads into tomorrow's elimination as the No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time track record of 7.596 seconds at 176.10 mph after the final round of qualifying for Pro Stock Truck. "I prayed for hot weather at a lot of races this year and did real well at the two hot races," Panella said. "This is my cool one. Maybe I can change my luck at the cool ones."

The first two rounds of eliminations for the Pro Stock Truck category begin Saturday at 11:15 a.m. with the last two qualifying rounds for all other professional categories running at 11:30 and 4:00 p.m.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Friday's qualifying results for the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, the 18th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Top Fuel -- 1. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 4.524 seconds, 315.86 mph; 2. Joe Amato, Exeter, Pa., 4.538, 322.11; 3. Eddie Hill, Wichita Falls, Texas, 4.552, 316.82; 4. Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest, Calif., 4.569, 312.71; 5. Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.623, 319.14; 6. Doug Kalitta, Ann Arbor, Mich., 4.638, 310.41; 7. Mike Dunn, Wrightsville, Pa., 4.672, 310.27; 8. Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 4.679, 315.05; 9. Larry Dixon, San Diego, 4.691, 297.88; 10. Andrew Cowin, Huntington Beach, Calif., 4.692, 307.23; 11. Jim Head, Columbus, Ohio, 4.766, 301.13; 12. Randy Parks, Lombard, Ill., 4.820, 279.15; 13. Tim Gibson, Irvine, Calif., 4.831, 298.80; 14. David Grubnic, Ennis, Mont., 4.876, 274.39; 15. Scott Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., 5.193, 185.64; 16. Paul Romine, Indianapolis, 5.442, 171.84. Funny Car -- 1. Tony Pedregon, Gardena, Calif., Ford Mustang, 4.894, 305.01; 2. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Mustang, 4.920, 303.84; 3. Cristen Powell, Portland, Ore., Pontiac Firebird, 4.971, 263.56; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Ottumwa, Iowa, Firebird, 5.012, 295.14; 5. Del Worsham, Costa Mesa, Calif., Firebird, 5.021, 306.40; 6. Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis, Chevrolet Camaro, 5.099, 287.11; 7. Jim Epler, Phoenix, Firebird, 5.117, 275.96; 8. Frank Pedregon, Alta Loma, Calif., Firebird, 5.148, 285.35; 9. Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette, 5.156, 299.66; 10. Cory Lee, Sierra Del Oro, Calif., Dodge Avenger, 5.165, 299.80; 11. Al Hofmann, Umatilla, Fla., Firebird, 5.339, 270.05; 12. Bob Gilbertson, Gastonia, N.C., Firebird, 5.398, 204.73; 13. Larry Huff, Bell Canyon, Calif., Firebird, 5.444, 237.55; 14. Jack Wyatt, Allerton, Iowa, Firebird, 5.905, 166.66; 15. Scotty Cannon, Lyman, S.C., Corvette, 6.285, 142.51; 16. Dale Creasy Jr., Lansing, Ill., Firebird, 7.348, 118.91. Pro Stock -- 1. Warren Johnson, Buford, Ga., Pontiac Firebird, 6.907, 198.70; 2. Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.911, 198.52; 3. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Dodge Avenger, 6.922, 197.39; 4. Kurt Johnson, Lawrenceville, Ga., Chevrolet Camaro, 6.925, 198.23; 5. Troy Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Cutlass, 6.935, 197.39; 6. Mike Edwards, Broken Arrow, Okla., Camaro, 6.935, 197.05; 7. Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Firebird, 6.942, 197.42; 8. Mike Thomas, Knoxville, Tenn., Firebird, 6.946, 196.24; 9. Richie Stevens, New Orleans, Firebird, 6.949, 197.08; 10. Steve Schmidt, Indianapolis, Firebird, 6.966, 196.22; 11. Tom Martino, Farmingdale, N.J., Firebird, 6.974, 197.16; 12. Bruce Allen, Arlington, Texas, Firebird, 6.974, 196.19; 13. George Marnell, Las Vegas, Firebird, 6.977, 196.96; 14. Larry Morgan, Newark, Ohio, Avenger, 6.985, 196.22; 15. John Nobile, Melville, N.Y., Cutlass, 6.990, 196.47; 16. Greg Anderson, Jacksonville, N.C., Firebird, 7.000, 196.56.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Saturday's Pro Stock Truck pairings for the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, the 11th stop for the limited 14 event Pro Stock Truck schedule in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Pro Stock Truck -- 1. Bob Panella Jr, Stockton, Calif., Chevrolet S-10, 7.596, 176.10 vs. 16. Chip Ippolito, Laconia, N.H., S-10, 7.703, 174.28; 2. Brad Jeter, Greenville, S.C., S-10, 7.621, 176.07 vs. 15. Mike Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, S-10, 7.676, 175.05; 3. Jerry Haas, St. Louis, S-10, 7.623, 175.84 vs. 14. David Spitzer, Indianapolis, GMC Sonoma, 7.675, 175.16; 4. Scott Perin, Pen Argyl, Pa., S-10, 7.627, 176.77 vs. 13. Craig Eaton, Glendale, Ariz., Dodge Dakota, 7.672, 174.17; 5. Brian Self, Houston, S-10, 7.627, 175.89 vs. 12. Mark Osborne, Abingdon, Va., S-10, 7.671, 175.11; 6. Larry Kopp, Baltimore, S-10, 7.656, 174.66 vs. 11. John Lingenfelte, Decatur, Ind., S-10, 7.669, 175.50; 7. Greg Stanfield, Bossier City,, La., S-10, 7.656, 174.93 vs. 10. Randy Daniels, Grantsboro, N.C., S-10, 7.665, 174.82; 8. John Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, S-10, 7.662, 175.48 vs. 9. Kim Smith, Dallas, S-10, 7.664, 174.39.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Paul Romine , Jim Head , Doug Herbert , Frank Pedregon , Mike Thomas , John Nobile , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Bob Panella , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Andrew Cowin , Larry Morgan , Larry Kopp , Randy Daniels , Mike Coughlin , Dale Creasy Jr. , David Grubnic , Scotty Cannon , Scott Kalitta , Greg Stanfield , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , George Marnell , Allen Johnson , Jack Wyatt , Tim Gibson , Cory Lee , Brian Self , Jerry Haas , Jerry Toliver , Mike Edwards , Cristen Powell