ENNIS TX - SUMMIT FastNews - Spectators at the 3rd annual NHRA Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts were treated to smoke, fire, plenty of noise, and, once all that settled down, several outstanding runs during the first day of ...
ENNIS TX - SUMMIT FastNews - Spectators at the 3rd annual NHRA Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts were treated to smoke, fire, plenty of noise, and, once all that settled down, several outstanding runs during the first day of qualifying for Sunday's eliminations. Antron Brown, Warren Johnson, Whit Bazemore, and Larry Dixon wound up atop their respective eliminations ladders at the half-way point in qualifying. A green track and hot track temperatures produced more tire smoke than performance during the first qualifying session Friday, but the second Top Fuel session, under cooler evening conditions, saw many of the top teams rebound and the number-one spot changed hands several times. Joe Amato was the first to break into the 4.50s, taking temporary possession of the pole position with a 4.592 at 315.12 mph, his engine exploding just before the finish line. Gary Scelzi, reversing a surprising "did not qualify" at Houston, took the honors next, dropping the mark to 4.581 at 321.54. Then Tony Schumacher reaffirmed his fast ways by posting a 4.569 at 323.62 mph, resetting the track speed record in the process. But Dixon ran near the end of the session, the air and track rapidly cooling, and moved into the top spot with a 4.545 at 316.12. Bazemore made two runs under five seconds Friday, the only driver to accomplish that feat, and led after each session. Bazemore's 4.921-second elapsed time at 304.15 mph heads the half-way ladder. Tony Pedregon, the only other driver under five seconds in the first session, survived a fiery ride in the second, his engine up in flames early in the run, challenging Pedregon to get the car stopped safely. He did so and was unhurt, but his team will be busy rebuilding the car tonight. The only other two drivers under five seconds in the second session were Tony's brothers, Cruz and Frank, both of whom moved around Tony's first-round 4.967 with runs of 4.936 seconds at 310.34 (Cruz) and 4.947 at 309.27 (a career-best ET for Frank).
Johnson was easily the quickest in both Pro Stock qualifying sessions, despite brief handling problems on his second run, enjoying a 0.02-second edge over his son Kurt and a 0.06-second edge over the rest of the field. Johnson's 6.989 at 198.28 in the first session was the only sub-seven-second run of the event so far. Brown was the surprise half-way leader in Pro Stock Motorcycle, his track ET-record 7.393 at 180.50 bettering Matt Hines' 7.399 at a track record speed of 181.78 mph, Angelle Seeling's 7.410 at 181.52, and John Smith's 7.418 at 179.17.
Two more qualifying sessions Saturday will set the ladders for Sunday's eliminations.
Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **