Commerce: Saturday qualifying report

Morgan Earns First No. 1 Qualifying Position in More Than 13 Years Taking Top Spot in Pro Stock at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta COMMERCE, Ga. -- Larry Morgan ended Greg Anderson's qualifying streak by racing to the...

Morgan Earns First No. 1 Qualifying Position in More Than 13 Years Taking Top Spot in Pro Stock at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta

COMMERCE, Ga. -- Larry Morgan ended Greg Anderson's qualifying streak by racing to the No. 1 position in Pro Stock Saturday at the 24th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac at Atlanta Dragway.

David Grubnic, Tony Pedregon and Angelle Savoie also will lead their respective categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the $1.8 million race, the seventh of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Anderson, who had claimed the last 11 top qualifying positions dating back to last season, qualified third in his Pontiac Grand Am. Morgan captured his first No. 1 qualifying award in more than 13 years, powering his Team Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T to a track record time of 6.796 seconds at 202.91 mph. It was the fifth of his career, and the first top qualifying effort for a Dodge in Pro Stock since Feb. 2003.

In taking the top spot, Morgan preserved the mythical consecutive qualifying record held by his legendary crew chief, Bob Glidden. From 1986-'88 Glidden reeled off 23 consecutive No. 1 qualifying awards, a record that many drag racing insiders feel may never be touched. His impressive run included No. 1 performances at every race during the 1987 season.

"Anybody who breaks that record is going to be a bad dude, because Bob is awesome," Morgan said. "This means so much to me and Bob. This feels almost as good as winning a race. I'm really excited for Mopar and all of the Dodge fans out there. This is the first one in a long time for me and it really feels good."

Grubnic, a native Australian, earned his fourth career No. 1 position and third of the season in the Kalitta Air dragster, clocking a track record time of 4.469 at 324.44.

"It's not just about my car," Grubnic said. "It's about all three Team Kalitta cars. Whenever one of us does well, we're all happy. We ran pretty well today. The car was actually quicker than the Army car to half-track in the last session so that was encouraging.

"We didn't think anyone would touch the 4.46 so the important thing for us today was to see what this track would hold when the sun was out. Sometimes you have to fall off the cliff to learn those lessons and we saw a bit of that today. I have full faith in Connie (Kalitta) and the boys that they'll have all three cars ready to win tomorrow. We'll see which one of us does the best."

Pedregon claimed his second No. 1 qualifying effort of the season and the 27th of his career, posting a track record performance of 4.765 at 329.83 mph in his Quaker State Chevy Monte Carlo.

"I had a good idea that this was something we could accomplish on our own," Pedregon said. "I don't think a lot of people thought this team would be one that would come out and run a 329-mph top speed, at Atlanta Dragway of all places. It's a real credit to General Motors and the work they've put into this Monte Carlo body.

"We had thoughts about trying to back up that number today because we heard it might be a little cooler with cloud cover but you have to race the conditions and when it got hot we didn't have the chance. Maybe tomorrow, who knows, but the real goal is to win. I wouldn't mind getting to 330 mph first either. That's a pretty exclusive club in our sport."

Savoie, a three-time series champion in Pro Stock Bike, earned her first No. 1 qualifying position of the season by posting a 7.121 at 189.02 on her U.S. Army Suzuki. It was her 35th career No. 1 effort, and fifth at Atlanta Dragway.

"This is awesome. I can't tell you how happy I am for this entire U.S. Army team. We've all been working so hard to get these results and, finally, it has paid off. Personally, I really needed this. I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my edge. I questioned whether I could do this anymore. This ended up being a real confidence booster. Now, of course, we have to prepare for race day. After all, this was only qualifying. But, we'll enjoy this moment, and then quickly focus on Sunday."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , David Grubnic , Bob Glidden