Indianapolis Sunday Qualifying Story

Dixon, Wilkerson, Johnson, Hines Qualify Number One at U.S.Nationals Kopp Wins First U.S. Nationals Truck Title; Capps Takes Big Bud Shootout by Rick Green CLERMONT, Ind. -...

Dixon, Wilkerson, Johnson, Hines Qualify Number One at U.S.Nationals

Kopp Wins First U.S. Nationals Truck Title; Capps Takes Big Bud Shootout

by Rick Green CLERMONT, Ind. - SUMMIT FastNews - Larry Dixon of Cardiff, California ran a career best 4.566 second elapsed time at 315.45 miles per hour to capture the top honors at the NHRA U.S. Nationals, the most prestigious race of the year. Dixon credited the newfound power to crew chief Dale Armstrong and the team for all the hard work they put in during testing here last week. "After Sarver ran the 4.595 elapsed time he knew the track could hold whatever they threw at it," said Dixon. "I staged the car as shallow as possible and it just rocketed straight down the middle of the lane." Indianapolis' own Paul Romine qualified number 16 with an elapsed time of 4.737 seconds, to round out the quickest Top Fuel field in NHRA history. The previous record field was set earlier this year at the inaugural Route 66 National in Joliet, Illinois. Shelly Anderson, making her return to a Top Fuel cockpit after her fiery cash in Sonoma, did not qualify; neither did defending event champion Jim Head. Tomorrow's round one in Top Fuel will go a long way in determining the championship points battle. Points leader Cory McClenathan will face off against number two in points Joe Amato, while number three Scelzi will match up against number four Bernstein. Tim Wilkerson, runner-up at last year's U.S. Nationals, qualified number one in Funny Car with an elapsed time of 4.961 seconds at 296.93 mile per hour. The Springfield, Illinois driver dominated the qualifying all weekend, running in the 4-second zone in three out of his five qualifying passes. Only one other competitor ran in the fours this weekend, and that was number two qualifier Ron Capps. Wilkerson noted that his car has performed flawlessly this weekend, while other teams have had trouble negotiating the tricky Indianapolis Raceway Park track. Warren Johnson lead qualifying in Pro Stock for the seventh time at the U.S. Nationals with a track record elapsed time of 6.977 seconds at track record 197.62 miles per hour. Warren's son Kurt qualified number two as the Johnsons go for seven consecutive U.S. Nationals victories. There were no changes in the top sixteen today, as the hot weather and humidity made for difficult conditions for the Pro Stock ranks. Matt Hines followed up his win yesterday in the Pro Bike Dash by locking down the number one qualifying spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle. The Trinidad, Colorado rider ran a track record elapsed time of 7.366 seconds at 179.28 miles per hour to out-distance the number two rider, Angelle Seeling, by 0.032 seconds. If Hines can win tomorrow he will gather an additional bonus of $10,000 for winning both the event and the Dash. Larry Kopp drove his Chevrolet S-10 to victory circle for the fourth time this year in four final round appearances. The Baltimore driver ran an elapsed time of 7.760 seconds at 173.77 mile per hour to outrun Bob Panella Jr., who broke in his first Pro Stock Truck final round. Kopp was the quickest truck in every round as he made easy work of Mike Mahon in round one, Todd Patterson in round two, and John Lingenfelter in the semi- final. Kopp gave credit to his team, his Grumpy Jenkins power, and the extensive testing they did last week as the reasons they dominated the field this weekend. Ron Capps won the special race-within-a-race, the Big Bud Shootout, today with a quick 5.092 second elapsed time to outrun Cruz Pedregon. Capps, the current points leader and hottest driver on the NHRA trail, put fellow Camaro driver Whit Bazemore on the trailer in round one, and then ran his first 4-second pass of the weekend when he outdistanced Dean Skuza in the semi-final. Capps and Copenhagen team collected $50,000 for their efforts today. Final eliminations will begin tomorrow at 11:00 am and bring to an end the 44th annual U.S. Nationals. Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** **

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Series NHRA
Drivers Paul Romine , Jim Head , Matt Hines , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Warren Johnson , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Joe Amato , Todd Patterson , Larry Kopp , John Lingenfelter , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Tim Wilkerson , Shelly Anderson