Joliet: Final qualifying summary

Bernstein, Sarver, Yates and Savoie earn top spots at Chicagoland Dodge Dealers NHRA Nationals. JOLIET, Ill. - Kenny Bernstein earned his 63rd career No 1 qualifying spot as he led all Top Fuel competitors Saturday at the fifth...

Bernstein, Sarver, Yates and Savoie earn top spots at Chicagoland Dodge Dealers NHRA Nationals.

JOLIET, Ill. - Kenny Bernstein earned his 63rd career No 1 qualifying spot as he led all Top Fuel competitors Saturday at the fifth annual Chicagoland Dodge Dealers NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Bruce Sarver, Jim Yates, and Angelle Savoie also were the top qualifiers in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the 10th of 23 races in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Bernstein blistered down the quarter-mile drag strip in 4.562 seconds at 325.06 mph in his Budweiser King dragster to pace the field for Sunday's eliminations.

Bernstein took advantage of the cool weather during Friday night's qualifying to establish the top time for the field. The weather changed dramatically on Saturday with temperatures reaching over 90 degrees.

"The conditions were ideal last night and with the heat today everyone struggled out there," said Bernstein, the defending NHRA POWERade champion. "It's suppose to be cooler tomorrow, but with the way the weather changes we could see these same conditions for eliminations, but we learned some things today.

"We needed these hot runs to see what we could do with these new Goodyear tires we just received," said Bernstein. "These are the conditions that we will face in Columbus (Ohio), St. Louis and Denver and those races are coming at us quick. It was a great test day today."

Bernstein will face Scott Weiss in the opening round while rival and current points leader Larry Dixon will start from a season-low sixth spot in the Miller Lite entry.

Sarver captured his second straight No. 1 qualifying position and the fifth of his career when he drove his White Cap Toyota Celica to the finish line in 4.763 at 316.23 on Friday to sit atop the Funny Car field. Sarver has been behind the wheel of the Toyota for the past three races and earned a runner up-finish in his debut and has followed it with two top qualifying spots.

Sarver will be trying to end a disappointing streak that is associated with his five top qualifying efforts. As the top qualifier entering eliminations, Sarver has lost in the first round every time. Sarver will meet hometown favorite John Lawson in the opening round.

"I hope that jinx is gone for tomorrow and we end up winning the race," said Sarver. "I was looking at our side of the ladder and there is some pretty stout competition over there. We'll have our work cut out for us. Today the heat brought out the grease in the track but we were able to find a good setup for the temperature. So if it's cool we have a tune-up, and if it's hot we have a tune-up. Either way, we'll be ready."

Yates scored his fourth No. 1 spot of the season and 25th of his career as his Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am clocked a pass of 6.862 at 200.65 to lead the Pro Stock order.

"We're getting better at this track," said Yates. "Our team is getting use to working together and we have a lot of confidence in our crew chief, my son Jamie. He's been making the right decisions lately and we go with what he says. Also, having the opportunity to let Jamie run the second car before us in qualifying is a big help. To be able to use the data from his run, that's why we're No. 1."

Savoie notched her third straight No. 1 position and the 27th of her Pro Stock Motorcycle career when she covered the distance in 7.146 at 186.79 to lead the two-wheel category.

We've qualified well (at Joliet), and we have a runner-up but my goal is to win here," said Savoie. "The bike shot out at the starting line and I managed to go straight down the track and make all my shifts on time. That's what you need to do to make a good run in this heat."

Professional eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Scott Weis