Sonoma: First-day qualifying summary

Scranton, Downing top qualifying at Infineon. SONOMA, Calif. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) - Matt Scranton and Grant Downing were the top qualifiers during first-day action Saturday at the Tuned by Matrix GR Motorsports NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at ...

Scranton, Downing top qualifying at Infineon.

SONOMA, Calif. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) - Matt Scranton and Grant Downing were the top qualifiers during first-day action Saturday at the Tuned by Matrix GR Motorsports NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Infineon Raceway. The event is presented by Wallstreet.com.

Scranton, the first driver in history to top the 200 mph barrier in the NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series, covered the quarter-mile in 197.16 mph in his Turbonetics Toyota Celica to lead qualifying in the Pro-V8 division.

Scranton is aiming to become the first Sport Compact driver in history to make a six-second pass, and he feels he can accomplish that on Sunday on Infineon Raceway's refurbished quarter-mile drag strip. He covered the course in 7.201 seconds on Saturday.

"This track is smooth as glass. It's the best track we've been on this year, no doubt about it," Scranton said. "We're going to re-tune this car and figure some things out and I think that will get us a run in the 6s on Sunday. Our window of opportunity will be in the morning run when the air is cool."

Downing led qualifying in the Pro class with a pass of 7.123 seconds (193.57) in his Venom Toyota Tundra. It was the fastest Pro pass in the history of the NHRA Summit Sport Compact Series, and if Downing can back the run up on Sunday, he will own the record. Like Scranton, Downing thinks he can run in the 6s on Sunday.

"We want the Venom Tundra to be the first import car to run in the 6s. That is an important goal for us," said Downing, who trails John Lingenfelter in the season points battle by one point. "We put a new motor in and I think that's making a big difference."

Bruce Mortensen set a national record in the Hot Rod class with a run of 8.728 in his Honda Civic, bettering his previous record of 8.810 set last June in Texas. Other top qualifiers included Jesus Padilla (All Motor, 10.256, 130.27 mph); Jimmy O'Connor (Modified, 8.055, 169.68 mph); and Robert Dito (Street Tire, 14.053, 97.91 mph). Brentwood's Ray Lochhead qualified third in the Modified class in his SR Motorsports Mazda RX-7 at 8.532 (158.56 mph).

Final qualifying takes place on Sunday at 9:30 a.m., with final eliminations set to begin in all six professional categories at 1 p.m.

-spr/ir-

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Series Drag
Drivers Grant Downing , Matt Scranton