Baytown: Friday qualifying report

Kalitta, Bazemore, Anderson and Gann take provisional No. 1 qualifiers in Houston. BAYTOWN, Texas - Whit Bazemore grabbed the provisional top spot in Funny Car after Friday's qualifying sessions at the NHRA's O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented...

Kalitta, Bazemore, Anderson and Gann take provisional No. 1 qualifiers in Houston.

BAYTOWN, Texas - Whit Bazemore grabbed the provisional top spot in Funny Car after Friday's qualifying sessions at the NHRA's O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil. Bazemore impressed the rest of the field with a quarter-mile run of 4.800 seconds at 318.92 mph in his Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird. If the qualifying effort can hold up against two more session on Saturday, it will be his first top qualifying position since last season. Bazemore finished the 2001 season by qualifying in the number one position at nine of the final 12 events.

"We're thrilled with the first time in a couple races that we have had conditions that our team could take advantage of all the horsepower we made last season," Bazemore said. "It's a great result for us at a time when we really need it."

Doug Kalitta, Warren Johnson and Shawn Gann also were provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective divisions at the $1.9 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event at Houston Raceway Park.

Kalitta sits at the helm of the Top Fuel category with a run of 4.579 at 320.81 mph. Kalitta's Mac Tools dragster was the quickest during both qualifying sessions including a 4.663 in the middle of the day.

"I'm sure we'll be going for Sunday (tune-up) tomorrow," Kalitta said. "If we can repeat what we did earlier in the day, run in the 60's tomorrow. I think that will be pretty good in my opinion."

Anderson held off the Pro Stock division with a track record elapsed time 6.824 at 201.58 in his Vegas General Construction Chevrolet Cavalier. After starting the season slow with three first round losses and a DNQ, this is the performance Anderson was expecting from the start.

"We had high expectations," Anderson admitted. "Did we expect to come in here and beat Warren Johnson and Ron Krisher and these guys right away? No. We thought by the middle of the season we'd be close to them. We have just had a problem running low gear. We came here and finally, finally got back to what we learned a few weeks ago."

Gann's Suzuki led the pack in the Pro Stock Motorcycle field with a pass of 7.190 at 186.12. Gann has never qualified in the top spot and has never been in the top spot on Friday.

"I think we can improve, but it will have to be the first shot out of the truck, Gann said. "I think (my e.t.) will hold up, but there is only one person that can probably beat it. She (Angelle Savoie) is about it."

Professional qualifying continues Saturday at 11 am and 2 p.m.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Whit Bazemore , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Shawn Gann