Bristol: Saturday summary

Anderson Earns 11th Straight Top Qualifier, Schumacher and Bazemore take First of the Season at O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals BRISTOL, Tenn. - Greg Anderson continues to dominate Pro Stock qualifying, earning his 11th consecutive top ...

Anderson Earns 11th Straight Top Qualifier, Schumacher and Bazemore take First of the Season at O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Greg Anderson continues to dominate Pro Stock qualifying, earning his 11th consecutive top qualifying spot Saturday during the fourth annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Tony Schumacher and Whit Bazemore also earned the No. 1 qualifying position in their respective categories at the $1.2 million race, the sixth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Anderson drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to the top of the 16-car order with a record setting run of 6.790 seconds at 202.52 mph. It is the 23rd top qualifier of his career.

So far Anderson has defended his 2003 title with four wins and six qualifying awards. He has been the Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier at each event dating back to last season's Chicago event in September.

"Just because our cars are better doesn't mean we can just sit back and expect to win," Anderson said. "We have to set our game plan on kill and execute on every run. If we don't think that way, then we are going to get beat."

Anderson will face Kenny Koretsky in the first round. Anderson's teammate, Jason Line, qualified in the No. 2 position for the second consecutive event. Line will face Troy Coughlin in the opening round.

"I think we've created a monster with Jason," Anderson said. "He is shifting better, driving better and is better on the (reaction) lights. He is improving every run and I think he is going to be one of the top challengers for the win on Sunday."

Schumacher lowered the track record time he set Friday, going 4.523 at 327.66 in the U.S. Army dragster for his first Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier of the season and 10th of his career.

"Alan (Johnson, crew chief) is like a chess player," Schumacher said. "He is always thinking seven steps ahead of everyone else. There are a lot of very intelligent crew chiefs out here who think ahead of the pack, but I still think Alan is a couple of moves ahead of those guys too."

Schumacher is matched against Rhonda Hartman-Smith in the first round.

Bazemore ran a 4.862 at 318.09 in his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus to lead the Funny Car class for the 25th time of his career and first of the season.

"We are getting more and more consistent," Bazemore said. "The run we made this afternoon, the 4.85 was more important because the sun wasn't out but the track temperature was considerably higher than what we ran in last night. It was important that we were able to go down the race track."

Bob Gilberston will face Bazemore in round one.

Final eliminations are set for noon Sunday.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Whit Bazemore , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Kenny Koretsky , Jason Line