Houston: Friday''s O''Reilly Nationals Presented by Pennzoil

BAYTOWN, Texas - John Force led all Funny Car competitors Friday after the first day of qualifying at the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., blasted down the ultra-quick...

BAYTOWN, Texas - John Force led all Funny Car competitors Friday after the first day of qualifying at the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park.

Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., blasted down the ultra-quick quarter-mile in 4.839 seconds at 319.98 mph to lead the 16-car field.

"A lot of cars are able to step up here," said Force. "It's a great track here in Texas and the weather is killer. This is going to be a real up-and-down season. It really is. I just hope I come out on top in the end. Jerry Toliver is leading the Winston points and has a great shot at winning the championship. Right now Toliver and the WWF Racing team is hot and we just got to heat up the skillet a little bit and get into the fight. That is what we were trying to do here, flex our muscles to push them."

Kenny Bernstein, Jim Yates and Randy Daniels were also the leaders in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the fifth of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Lake Forest, Calif.'s, Bernstein continued his recent dominance as he powered his Budweiser King Top Fuel dragster down the track in 4.566 at 318.17 during a cool cloud-covered evening. Bernstein's pass was the quickest of the year since the NHRA implemented the 90 percent nitro-fuel rule.

Bernstein was the number one qualifier and the winner of the Inaugural NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals last week in Las Vegas. He had not been the top qualifier, or won an event since the 1998 season.

"We love racing in Texas," said Bernstein. "But just doing well, period, is good. For a year and three months we were OK, but we certainly weren't in the game. So it's nice to be competitive like this. Tomorrow the sun will be back out here and you won't be able to have a run like that. We are very happy with that pass. I take my hat off to my team and my crew chiefs for doing a great job. I told them on the radio when I was about halfway down the track,'Hang on buddy, your fixin' to go for a good one,' and I knew it was and it was over with in a hurry."

Yates, from Alexandria, Va., covered the distance in 6.888 at 199.58 in his Splitfire Pontiac Firebird to set the pace in Pro Stock.

Daniels, from Grantsboro, N.C., powered his Daniels Racing/Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10 to the top of the Pro Stock Truck pack with his run of 7.505 at 179.97, a national record for speed. Qualifying continues Saturday at 11 a.m.

BAYTOWN, Texas - Friday's qualifying results at the 13th annual O'Reily Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park, the fifth of 23 events in the $45-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL

1. Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest, Calif., 4.566 seconds, 318.17 mph; 2. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 4.595, 319.14; 3. Larry Dixon, Indianapolis, 4.626, 316.82; 4. Joe Amato, Exeter, Pa., 4.640, 315.42; 5. Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.659, 313.29; 6. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Williamston, S.C., 4.668, 312.35; 7. Cory McClenathan, Anaheim, Calif., 4.680, 293.22; 8. Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 4.681, 315.42; 9. Don Lampus, Garland, Texas, 4.772, 308.43; 10. Bruce Litton, Indianapolis, 4.776, 285.35; 11. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., 5.048, 206.13; 12. David Grubnic, Ennis, Mont., 5.822, 156.08; 13. Bob Vandergriff, Cumming, Ga., 9.010, 84.65; 14. Joe Hartley, Omaha, Neb., 10.298, 75.77; 15. Mike Smith, Fish Creek, Wis., 14.906, 76.07.

FUNNY CAR

1. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Ford Mustang, 4.839, 319.98; 2. Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 4.863, 316.75; 3. Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis, Camaro, 4.884, 311.13; 4. Dean Skuza, Brecksville, Ohio, Dodge Avenger, 4.906, 311.41; 5. Al Hofmann, Umatilla, Fla., Pontiac Firebird, 4.918, 299.73; 6. Jim Epler, Phoenix, Firebird, 4.944, 304.67; 7. Scotty Cannon, Lyman, S.C., Camaro, 4.985, 306.46; 8. Gary Densham, Bellflower, Calif., Firebird, 4.999, 304.05; 9. Todd Paton, Paris, Ont., Firebird, 5.035, 303.64; 10. Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills, Calif., Mustang, 5.036, 274.89; 11. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., Camaro, 5.069, 225.45; 12. Bob Weickgenannt, Columbia, Md., Camaro, 5.114, 304.94; 13. Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Firebird, 5.173, 273.39; 14. John Lawson, Joliet, Ill., Firebird, 5.356, 189.10; 15. Bob Gilbertson, Gastonia, N.C., Firebird, 5.482, 199.97; 16. Del Worsham, Laguna Hills, Calif., Firebird, 5.626, 178.50.

PRO STOCK

1. Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Pontiac Firebird, 6.888, 199.58; 2. Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.889, 199.26; 3. Rickie Smith, King, N.C., Chevy Camaro, 6.892, 198.70; 4. Richie Stevens, New Orleans, Firebird, 6.897, 197.74; 5. Mark Pawuk, Akron, Ohio, Firebird, 6.898, 199.02; 6. Troy Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Cutlass, 6.900, 198.35; 7. Kurt Johnson, Lawrenceville, Ga., Camaro, 6.901, 200.32; 8. Robert Patrick, Fredricksburg, Va., Ford Mustang, 6.910, 198.67; 9. Bruce Allen, Arlington, Texas, Firebird, 6.913, 199.08; 10. Tom Martino, Farmingdale, N.J., Firebird, 6.916, 199.49; 11. Darrell Alderman, Morehead, Ky., Dodge Avenger, 6.921, 198.70; 12. Ron Krisher, Warren, Ohio, Firebird, 6.925, 199.29; 13. Brad Jeter, Greenville, S.C., Firebird, 6.925, 198.12; 14. Mike Thomas, Knoxville, Tenn., Firebird, 6.929, 197.77; 15. Warren Johnson, Buford, Ga., Firebird, 6.932, 200.05; 16. Scott Geoffrion, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Avenger, 6.933, 197.65.

PRO STOCK TRUCK

1. Randy Daniels, Grantsboro, N.C., Chevy S-10, 7.505, 179.97; 2. Bob Panella Jr, Stockton, Calif., S-10, 7.525, 178.83; 3. Greg Stanfield, Bossier City, La., S-10, 7.525, 178.87; 4. Steve Johns, Lancaster, Pa., S-10, 7.532, 179.35; 5. Brian Self, Houston, S-10, 7.541, 178.61; 6. Rick Jones, Galesburg, Ill., GMC Sonoma, 7.551, 178.35; 7. Taylor Lastor, Austin, Texas, S-10, 7.553, 178.38; 8. Vinny Barone, Dix Hill, N.Y., S-10, 7.554, 177.25; 9. Jeff Gracia, Ontario, Calif., S-10, 7.555, 178.50; 10. John Lingenfelter, Decatur, Ind., Sonoma, 7.567, 177.81; 11. Larry Seay, Mayfield, Ky., S-10, 7.567, 177.32; 12. Lou Ficco, Wheatridge, Colo., S-10, 7.569, 177.58; 13. Bart Price, Hayward, Calif., S-10, 7.570, 178.10; 14. Scott Perin, Pen Argyl, Pa., S-10, 7.577, 176.93; 15. Jeff Naiser, Houston, S-10, 7.580, 177.60; 16. Scott Tidwell, Pinson, Ala., S-10, 7.585, 178.33.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Litton , Mike Thomas , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Bob Panella , Robert Patrick , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Ron Krisher , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , David Grubnic , Scotty Cannon , Todd Paton , Cory McClenathan , Greg Stanfield , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Scott Geoffrion , Don Lampus , Brian Self , Jerry Toliver , Bob Vandergriff , Steve J , Mike Smit
Teams Williams