Brainerd: Friday qualifying summary

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Gary Scelzi led Top Fuel qualifying Friday at the Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals before heavy rains moved into the area and cancelled the second Top Fuel session. Scelzi covered the Brainerd International Raceway...

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Gary Scelzi led Top Fuel qualifying Friday at the Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals before heavy rains moved into the area and cancelled the second Top Fuel session.

Scelzi covered the Brainerd International Raceway quarter-mile track in 4.642 seconds at 315.12 mph in his Team Winston dragster to hold the top spot over the 2000 Top Fuel runner-up Doug Kalitta, who posted an identical 4.642 at a slower speed of 307.93.

"Alan (Johnson, crew chief) has been working hard on this new combination and it seems to be working, I'm impressed," said Scelzi. "The car was real soft at the start but moved on down the track. It was a real smooth run. I don't know what the other teams did, but it really doesn't concern me. I'm only worried about our team and trying to gain on Kenny (Bernstein, points leader) for the Winston championship. In order to do that we've got to win some races and this is a step in the right direction."

Bob Gilbertson, Bruce Allen and Angelle Savoie also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the 17th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Gilbertson led all Funny Car qualifiers by posting a time of 4.949 at 306.15 in his FMTV Chevy Camaro. Gilbertson claimed the top spot with a sizzling run just as dark rain clouds circled the area.

"We got kinda lucky there and got the run in just before the weather hit us," said Gilbertson, who has never posted a No. 1 qualifying effort. "Paul (Smith, crew chief) had it set up to run a 4.90 and it responded. Hopefully we can hang on for two more rounds tomorrow and get our first No. 1. That's the goal."

Allen paced the Pro Stock order by clocking a 6.961 at 197.31 in his Reher-Morrison Pontiac Grand Am. Local favorite Tom Hammonds, a power forward for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, qualified fourth in his Winnebago-sponsored Chevy Cavailer, clocking a 6.979 at 196.85.

Savoie was quickest in Pro Stock Motorcycle, powering her Team Winston Suzuki to a top effort of 7.280 at 180.79.

Qualifying continues Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

-NHRA

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Bruce Allen , Tom Hammonds