Joliet: Friday qualifying report

SCHUMACHER, HIGHT, ANDERSON AND HINES PACE QUALIFYING FRIDAY AT CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS JOLIET, Ill. -- Local favorite Tony Schumacher raced to the qualifying lead Friday night at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66...

SCHUMACHER, HIGHT, ANDERSON AND HINES PACE QUALIFYING FRIDAY AT CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS

JOLIET, Ill. -- Local favorite Tony Schumacher raced to the qualifying lead Friday night at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Schumacher, from nearby Long Grove, Ill., was quickest in his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, clocking a 4.508 second run at 329.58 mph.

"Honestly, I didn't think the run was quick enough to stand as No. 1," Schumacher said. "It's great to lead qualifying here in front of the hometown fans and for the U.S. Army, who is celebrating its birthday this weekend."

Robert Hight, Greg Anderson and Andrew Hines also were qualifying leaders at the $1.8 million race, the 10th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Rookie Hight drove to the top of the Funny Car lineup with a 4.726 at 328.86 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang and was followed by his teammates, John Force (4.744, 326.24) and Eric Medlen (4.771, 324.51), second and third respectively in their Castrol Mustangs.

"Our car shook on the first run and Jimmy (Prock, crew chief) has enough confidence in the tune-up to stay with it," Hight said. "I figured John would run a 4.69 in that session and even (Gary) Scelzi and a couple of the other guys, but the 72 held up. It's 1-2-3 for these Fords and that's pretty good. We've never had much success on race day when we've been 1-2-3 and we want to change that this weekend."

Anderson posted a 6.769 at 202.85 in his Summit Racing Pontiac to lead Pro Stock. On Saturday he will lead the action in the King Demon Crown, a lucrative bonus event for qualified Pro Stock drivers. He faces rival Kurt Johnson in the first round.

"This is the best track we've been on all year but we just don't have any air," Anderson said. "The killer numbers aren't going to be there. What it means is that we'll see some great racing. It will bring the driving more into the equation. It's going to be a heck of a dogfight in the King Demon Crown because we have a tough first round match with Kurt and the rounds don't get any easier."

Hines rode a Harley-Davidson to a performance of 7.123 at 183.10 to lead Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.

"The rain and sunshine put a lot of humidity in the air," Hines said. "But my brother (Matt) and dad (Byron) have been tuning bikes for 10 and 30 years respectively and knew what the track would take. The bike is very consistent right now. I like being No. 1 , but I want to take home the Wally."

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 11:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. The $50,000 King Demon Crown starts at 11:30 a.m., with rounds to follow at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Andrew Hines , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight