Gainesville: Friday qualifying report

HINES WINS $10,000 BONUS FOR BECOMING INAUGURAL MEMBER OF MICKEY THOMPSON NHRA 6-SECOND PRO STOCK BIKE CLUB Grubnic, Medlen and Anderson also are qualifying leaders at Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Andrew Hines raced...

HINES WINS $10,000 BONUS FOR BECOMING INAUGURAL MEMBER OF MICKEY THOMPSON NHRA 6-SECOND PRO STOCK BIKE CLUB

Grubnic, Medlen and Anderson also are qualifying leaders at Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Andrew Hines raced to the first six-second Pro Stock Motorcycle run in NHRA history Friday highlighting a record-setting day of qualifying at the Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals.

It is another historic performance for legendary Gainesville Raceway, the site of many of NHRA's milestone runs, including the first 300 mph run in 1992 by Kenny Bernstein.

Defending series champion Hines powered his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.991 second run at 196.16 mph to claim the $10,000 bonus Mickey Thompson Tires offered to the first rider to post a six-second performance.

Hines was the only rider to post a six-second run, as his teammate GT Tonglet flirted with the mark by posting a 7.007 at a track record speed of 197.45 mph on his identically prepared Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

"It's an awesome feeling," said Hines, who earns a permanent spot in the NHRA record book for the effort. "I knew as soon as I let the clutch out and it didn't bog down that it would be a six-second run. There is only one of these trophies and now it has my name on it. I know Terry (Vance, co-team owner) was the first in the sevens so we kept the big barrier-breaking runs in the Vance & Hines camp. We're kind of all in awe right now."

Dave Grubnic, Eric Medlen and Greg Anderson also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the $2 million race, the third of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Grubnic was quickest in Top Fuel, covering the quarter-mile distance with a track-record performance of 4.481 seconds at 331.85 in his Zantrex-3 dragster.

"(That) run was smooth as glass, just straight down the middle," Grubnic said. 'It was great to (qualify) right away and to be No. 1 at a Mac race because all their people are here rooting for us."

Grubnic's teammate Doug Kalitta was second with a near-identical 4.488 at 325.14 in his Mac Tools dragster.

Medlen powered to a track record performance of 4.773 seconds at 326.08 mph in the Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to lead Funny Car and just edge out his boss and teammate John Force, who posted a 4.775 at a track record speed of 329.42 in his Castrol GTX Start Up Mustang.

"I don't know what's better; being No. 1 and setting a track record or edging John," Medlen said. "I hope he doesn't hear me say that, but he probably wouldn't care. We're a family over there and we're all pretty happy. It appears we have a little advantage over everyone right now so I don't want to say too much about what we're doing; but the truth is these other teams are all so good that everyone will be running 4.70s and 4.80s tomorrow."

Anderson set both ends of the national performance record to claim the top qualifying spot in Pro Stock. Anderson powered to a 6.633 at 208.23 in his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am.

Two-time defending series champ Anderson, who struggled in the first two races this season and fell to 10th in the points order, says he wanted to come out and make a statement this weekend.

"We desperately needed something good to happen for this team," Anderson said. "We've been off our game the first few races and we needed to get our morale and confidence back up. People have said it's just bad luck, but I have always said you make your own luck. We just needed to relax and remember that we haven't forgotten how to race."

Anderson, who took advantage of the day's unseasonably cool and overcast conditions, will earn 20 bonus points if he holds the national elapsed time record at the end of the weekend.

"I don't think anybody expected these conditions," Anderson said. "Of course, I hope the national record holds because we really need those extra points to get out of the hole we've put ourselves in."

Qualifying continues at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , John Force , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Andrew Hines , Eric Medlen