PEDREGON, BROWN, EDWARDS AND HORNE EARN NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITIONS AT UNITED ASSOCIATION ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS JOLIET, Ill. -- Tony Pedregon raced to his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 36th of his career Saturday at the ...
PEDREGON, BROWN, EDWARDS AND HORNE EARN NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITIONS AT UNITED ASSOCIATION ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS
JOLIET, Ill. -- Tony Pedregon raced to his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 36th of his career Saturday at the United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.
Antron Brown, Mike Edwards and Doug Horne also will lead their categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Pedregon powered his Q-Horsepower Chevy Impala to a 4.079 second run at 304.39 mph to earn his third top qualifying effort at the dragstrip located just south of Chicago. He will face current Funny Car points leader Ron Capps in the opening round. Capps squeezed into the field at 16th with a time of 4.228 seconds in his NAPA Dodge Stratus.
"It used to be that you qualify No. 1 and you get a pretty good draw; I won't mention any names but not a Ron Capps," Pedregon said. "That's a tough draw. But we're running good here, and they've got to get their problems sorted out in one run. I'd rather be in this position.
"[We had] very good conditions today. The weather rolled in and out of here. I'm glad no one took the top spot away from us. I don't mind; I know the statistics aren't real good that No. 1 qualifier goes on and wins the race, but I'm not superstitious. I'm pleased that our car is consistent and it's consistently quick. I think that we've come a long way in a week."
Ashley Force Hood jumped to second in the qualifying order with a 4.094-second run in her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang in the final session. Mike Neff, Tim Wilkerson and defending world champion Cruz Pedregon round out the top five.
Brown claimed his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and second consecutive in Top Fuel with a performance of 3.826 at 317.94 in his Matco Tools/DirecTV dragster. He will face local favorite and veteran driver Luigi Novelli in the first round.
"Tomorrow is going to be another day, and it will be just like today," Brown said. "It's going to be cloudy, the track conditions are going to be great, and tomorrow we're just going to go out and race; we're going to take it one round at a time. That's what you have to do out here, because every round is tough."
Hometown favorite Tony Schumacher qualified second, while last week's winner, Larry Dixon, was third. Clay Millican, last week's runner-up who is still looking for his first NHRA victory, qualified fourth.
"We've got tough competitors out here doing a phenomenal job," said Brown, a former Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor. "Look at us: we're all going tit for tat right now. I'm excited because now it's getting interesting; it's going to be whoever leaves off the line and whoever has the hot car setup because the track conditions are actually good out there. There are a lot of good race cars out there, and I'm just stoked to be a part of our Matco Tools race car, and I'm ready and excited for tomorrow."
Edwards continued to pace Pro Stock with his sixth No. 1 qualifying position of the season. He earned this one with a performance of 6.587 at 209.88 in his ART/Young Life Pontiac GXP. He was the only driver in his category to post runs of 6.5-seconds in three of the four qualifying sessions. Edwards will try for his third win of the season by opening with No. 16 qualifier Ronnie Humphrey.
"It's an honor to be able to do this and I'm overwhelmed with everything that we've accomplished this year," Edwards said. "It's just so hard to do that in this class, and for us to come out here and have that many No. 1s, I'm amazed myself. We keep pecking away at the track; we keep getting better and better. I feel comfortable right now. We made some adjustments before that run, and hopefully we can make some more adjustments and be better even for tomorrow.
Three-time world champ Greg Anderson qualified second, while series points leader Jeg Coughlin and Topeka winner Allen Johnson were third and fourth overall.
"Where I'm at right now, I'm overwhelmed," Edwards continued. "I'm in company where I've never been before: the Summit cars, the JEGS car, those kind of people, and those teams win championships. My team has overcome a lot. We made a lot of good decisions over the winter, and we made a lot of progress. A lot."
Horne, a rookie in the two-wheel category, claimed his first career No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.936 at 181.84 on his Horne Racing Buell. One of the leading candidates for the Auto Club Road to the Future Award, which recognizes NHRA's top performing rookie for the season, Horne will face Wesley Wells in the opening round.
"The conditions today weren't as good as yesterday, so we tried some things today to learn some things for Sunday," Horne said. "It didn't run as good as we would have liked or quite as well as everyone else, but I think we got some data for tomorrow so we can go some rounds. Being No. 1 means a lot to me and gives me confidence going into Sunday, but it's still not quite as good as the two runner-ups we've had already this season. Being No. 1 Saturday just means where you sit on the ladder; Sunday is what it's all about."
Hector Arana remained second on his Lucas Oil Buell, while Karen Stoffer was third on her GEICO Powersports Suzuki. Stoffer will face Katie Sullivan in the first round. Sullivan, the seventh female to qualify in the bike category is making her first start in eliminations.