Gateway Saturday Recap

Freeman Wins In PST Debut Bernstein, Wilkerson, Johnson & Hines Top Qualifying by Ed Dykes MADISON, Ill. - Tim Freeman took home the gold in his debut Pro Stock Truck race Saturday at Gateway ...

Freeman Wins In PST Debut Bernstein, Wilkerson, Johnson & Hines Top Qualifying

by Ed Dykes

MADISON, Ill. - Tim Freeman took home the gold in his debut Pro Stock Truck race Saturday at Gateway International Raceway, the site of this weekend's second annual NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals. In addition, qualifying was completed in the remaining professional categories, and Kenny Bernstein, Tim Wilkerson, Warren Johnson, and Matt Hines managed to top their respective categories.

Freeman had only made three test runs in the Kessinger Motorsports Chevy S-10 before this weekend, but the Tennessee native is a veteran drag racer and crew chief. He adapted to the new truck quickly, qualifying fourth, and worked his way thru the field to face local favorite Jerry Haas in the final round, where his better reactions allowed his 7.877 second elapsed time to defeat Haas' quicker 7.810. Freeman defeated current points leader Larry Kopp in the second round, and took out John Lingenfelter in the semi-finals.

Bernstein remained atop the Top Fuel Dragster field, where he took command Friday by running a 4.649 second elapsed time at 309.7 miles per hour. This was the 50th career #1 qualifier for the Texas-based racer, who has won the previous two events on the tour and is racing this weekend in the hometown of his longtime sponsor, Budweiser.

Tim Wilkerson steered the JCIT Pontiac Firebird to his first-ever low qualifier honors, running 5.064 seconds at 293.54 miles per hour, also set on Friday. The extremely hot and humid conditions Saturday saw few drivers improve on their Friday qualifying times, however Wilkerson managed to run a very close 5.092 Saturday afternoon. The Springfield, Ill. racer has never won a national event in Funny Car, but has appeared in the final round twice this year.

Perennial front-runner Warren Johnson took the top spot in Pro Stock, on the strength of his Friday run of 7.012 seconds at 197.06 miles per hour. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, points leader and reigning champion Matt Hines moved into the top spot early Saturday with a 7.375 second run at 182.26 miles per hour.

Final eliminations for all remaining professional and sportsman categories will begin Sunday morning.

Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Kenny Bernstein , Warren Johnson , Larry Kopp , Tim Wilkerson , Tim Freeman , Jerry Haas