Columbus: Friday qualifying summary

Head, Pedregon, Anderson and Collis lead Friday qualifying at National Trail Raceway HEBRON, Ohio - Veteran drag racer and local driver Jim Head blasted to the top of the list to headline Friday's qualifying at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals...

Head, Pedregon, Anderson and Collis lead Friday qualifying at National Trail Raceway

HEBRON, Ohio - Veteran drag racer and local driver Jim Head blasted to the top of the list to headline Friday's qualifying at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing at National Trail Raceway. Tony Pedregon, Greg Anderson and Fred Collis also led their respective categories following the first qualifying session at the $2 million race, the 11th of 23 events in the $50 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Friday's final qualifying session was canceled due to heavy rains. Head, from nearby Galena, Ohio, drove his Head Racing dragster to a run of 4.579 seconds at 317.42 mph to lead the Top Fuel order. Head earned his only No. 1 qualifying award at Englishtown, N.J. in 1993. "I haven't talked to Alan Johnson (crew chief for Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster) the past couple weeks, he's kind of busy right now, and we talked right before this race," said Head. "I was kinda shocked it ran a 4.57. We were pretty conservative, but we're pleased with that. We were going to lean on it tonight. I think we could have run a 4.53."

Kenny Bernstein drove his Budweiser dragster to a run of 4.579 at 317.42 to grab the No. 2 position, while Doug Kalitta, who is second in the points standings, is third with a 4.615 at 322.73. Pedregon paced the Funny Car order when he clocked a pass of 4.820 at 318.02 in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang.

Pedregon, who leads the Funny Car standings by 36 points over Whit Bazemore, has qualified in the No. 1 position at five of the first 10 events this season. "We capitalized on the conditions," said Pedregon. "From the time the session started to the time it ended, the conditions changed. Some clouds came in and it cooled off. That allowed us to make some last minute changes and we keyed on John's (Force) run. They gave us some feedback and that just shows the strength of the team. My crew chiefs (John) Medlen and Dickie (Venables) read the track to a T. I was really impressed with the run."

Pedregon's teammate Gary Densham raced to the No. 2 position with a pass of 4.891 at 303.50 and Del Worsham, who stands fourth in the Funny Car points standings, finished third with a run of 4.900 at 313.00.

Anderson, who also has qualified in the top position five times this season, led the 36-car Pro Stock field when he drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to a run of 6.900 at 200.17. Anderson trails Pro Stock points leader Kurt Johnson by two points. "To be honest, it wasn't as good as we could have run," said Anderson. "It shook the tires pretty good, just like everybody else did. The track just wasn't quite ready, it needs a little more rubber on it. It would have been great tonight, but that's the way it goes."

Scott Geoffrion's Ford Escort ZX2 took the No. 2 spot with a pass of 6.908 at 199.43, while Allen Johnson drove his Team Mopar Dodge Stratus to a run of 6.909 at 198.67. Collis, who looks to earn his first career No. 1 qualifying award, led Pro Stock Bike qualifying when he rode his Area 51 Motorsports Suzuki to a pass of 7.219 at 183.42.

Shawn Gann, who won at Englishtown, N.J. this May, was second with a run of 7.241 at 184.42 and Geno Scali, who trails category leader Angelle Savoie by 10 points, was third with a run of 7.247 at 184.40

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Shawn Gann , Gary Densham , Geno Scali , Scott Geoffrion , Allen Johnson , Fred Collis