Atlanta Friday Qualifying recap

COMMERCE GA - SUMMIT FastNews - Everything was running right on schedule during Friday's qualifying sessions for the 19th annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals until Mother Nature threw in a three-hour rain delay. Even so, most of the ...

COMMERCE GA - SUMMIT FastNews - Everything was running right on schedule during Friday's qualifying sessions for the 19th annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals until Mother Nature threw in a three-hour rain delay. Even so, most of the dedicated Atlanta-area fans stayed for the finish, the stands on both sides of the track still filled when the final pair of Top Fuel qualifiers ran just after 11:00 PM. What they got in return for their dedication was a wholesale shuffling of the order in all five Professional catagories, with Larry Dixon, Tim Wilkerson, Warren Johnson, John Smith, and Tim Freeman atop their respective eliminations ladders by the time it was all done.

In Funny Car, Tim Wilkerson posted the only four-second ET of the day, taming the reclacitrant right lane and taking the top spot away from John Force with a 4.976-second, 287.35 mph run in the final pair of the session. Up until then, Force's early-shutoff 5.053 at 249.03 looked like it would be good enough to hang on to the top rung, Force's car shutting itself off after just 1,000 feet. In Pro Stock, Warren Johnson once again dominated both qualifying sessions, recording the only 200 mph speed of the day in the evening session and holding the top spot in both sessions. However, Johnson's dominance in speed didn't translate to much of an edge in elapsed time, his 6.935-second clocking just 0.006 seconds quicker than Mark Thomas' 6.941 and 0.008 seconds quicker than Jim Yates' 6.943. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, both of the favorites stumbled and John Smith stepped up to fill the breech. Smith recorded a 7.319-second elapsed time in the evening/night session to better Matt Hines' 7.332, recorded in the afternoon session. Hines' bike faltered and slowed on his second effort and Angelle Seeling was surprisingly mired near the middle of the field on both attempts.

In Pro Stock Truck, Freeman will lead the field into Saturday's eliminations, taking over the top rung from Bob Panella with a post-rain track record 7.610-second elapsed time over Panella's 7.612-second pre-rain run. Panella's track-record 177.25 mph speed was good enough to hold on to the track speed record, however. Two more qualifying sessions Saturday will set the fields for Sunday's eliminations in the other four Pro categories.

Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Thomas , Matt Hines , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Warren Johnson , Tim Wilkerson , Tim Freeman