Bristol Thursday Summary

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Defending Winston champions Gary Scelzi and John Force were the respective category leaders during Thursday's opening qualifying for the special Top Fuel-Funny Car lineup at the inaugural Winston Showdown. For the first time in...

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Defending Winston champions Gary Scelzi and John Force were the respective category leaders during Thursday's opening qualifying for the special Top Fuel-Funny Car lineup at the inaugural Winston Showdown. For the first time in NHRA history, Top Fuel dragsters will race against Funny Cars in a special 24-car field during Saturday's final eliminations. Jeg Coughlin, Angelle Seeling and Brad Jeter were also leaders in their respective pro categories at the $727,000 special event, NHRA's all-star race. Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., covered the new Bristol Dragway quarter-mile in 4.617 seconds at 303.78 mph in his Team Winston dragster to pace Top Fuel. "We were more aggressive during the second session today and we got the number we were looking for," said Scelzi, who is among drivers automatically qualified for the race. "In the first session we didn't tune the car for what the track would hold. The racetrack is a lot better than we thought it would be and we'll take what we learned today and hopefully we can improve on that number during tomorrow's qualifying runs." Yorba Linda, Calif.'s Force drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a 4.944 at 305.15 to lead Funny Car. Force is also among the 10 drivers in his category that are automatically in the field for the historical event. "It's a whole new learning curve," said Force, an eight-time NHRA Winston champion. "The Funny Car guys are pumped up about this opportunity and we're going to be fighting to get a win. This race means a lot to us." Coughlin, from Columbus, Ohio, led the 16-car Pro Stock field with a 7.008 at 196.02 in his Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass. Seeling, from New Orleans led the eight-bike Pro Stock Motorcycle field on her Team Winston Suzuki, running 7.385 at 178.78. Jeter, from Greenville, S.C., paced the Pro Stock Truck order in his Karl Chevrolet Chevy S-10 pickup, covering the distance in 7.757 at 172.78. Qualifying continues Friday with pro sessions at 4 and 8 p.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Brad Jeter , John Force , Gary Scelzi