Houston Saturday Recap

BAYTOWN TX - SUMMIT FastNews - Qualifying for the 12th annual O'Reilly Nationals concluded Saturday afternoon at Houston Raceway Park with some prominent names missing from the ladders for Sunday's eliminations. ...

BAYTOWN TX - SUMMIT FastNews - Qualifying for the 12th annual O'Reilly Nationals concluded Saturday afternoon at Houston Raceway Park with some prominent names missing from the ladders for Sunday's eliminations. In Top Fuel, Larry Dixon's historic 4.486-second elapsed time kept him atop the ladder, with Joe Amato and Kenny Bernstein not far back, in second and third with elapsed times of 4.514 and 4.516. Amato also recorded a speed of 324.98 MPH to set an event speed record. The other big news in Top Fuel was defending Winston champion Gary Scelzi's failure to qualify for the sixteen-car field, breaking a string of having qualified in 47 straight races, every race since Scelzi first competed in Top Fuel in 1997. In Funny Car, John Force and teammate Tony Pedregon remained atop their ladder, with Force's national record 4.798-second elapsed time and track record 321.88 MPH speed more than a tenth of a second quicker than all but Pedregon.

Two prominent names are missing from the Funny Car ladder - Ron Capps and Scotty Cannon. Capps failed to qualify for the first time in 40 races, while Cannon's DNQ was his third in four attempts. Both teams have demonstrated adequate performance in test sessions, but have struggled when the chips were down.

The Saturday morning qualifying session for Pro Stock proved to be the key to making the field for most qualifiers, though Warren Johnson and son Kurt made their big runs Friday evening. Johnson easily took the top spot with a 6.898-second, 200.26 MPH effort Friday evening (both are track records) and Kurt appeared to have the second spot sewed up with a 6.934-second run in that same session. Mike Trumble spoiled the family celebration Saturday morning, however, when he split the two Johnsons with a 6.932-second elapsed time to take over the second spot. Rickie Smith and Steve Schmidt were the only drivers to get into the field in the final qualifying session Saturday, Smith bumping Schmidt back out of the field. In Pro Stock Truck, the top four qualifiers were upset in the first two rounds of eliminations. Number five qualifier Todd Patterson will face number nine qualifier Bob Panella in one semifinal match, while number seven qualifier and Gatornationals winner Mark Osborne will meet number eleven qualifier Mike Coughlin in the other. Final eliminations Sunday will determine the winners in both Professional and Sportsman categories.

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

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Todd Patterson , Mike Coughlin , Scotty Cannon , Steve Schmidt , Rickie Smith , Mike Trumble