Las Vegas: Friday qualifying report

KALITTA, SCELZI & JOHNSON LEADERS AFTER FIRST DAY OF QUALIFYING AT LAS VEGAS LAS VEGAS -- Gary Scelzi led the Funny Car field after Friday's qualifying sessions at the sixth annual SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor ...

KALITTA, SCELZI & JOHNSON LEADERS AFTER FIRST DAY OF QUALIFYING AT LAS VEGAS

LAS VEGAS -- Gary Scelzi led the Funny Car field after Friday's qualifying sessions at the sixth annual SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Warren Johnson (Pro Stock) also led their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the fifth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Scelzi piloted his Team Mopar Dodge Stratus to a leading performance of 4.797 seconds at 325.06 mph. He pulled double-duty at The Strip, driving an Alcohol Funny Car in the sportsman ranks, where he is currently qualified No. 2 with one qualifying session remaining Saturday.

"I'm tired," Scelzi said. "This is too much work for a little fat Italian like me. I'm having a blast though. It's exciting. I haven't been in an Alcohol Funny Car in a long time and it showed, especially in Round 1. My wife said my burnouts were pathetic, so I'll try to work on that tomorrow. I'm used to 8,000 horsepower where you barely touch the pedal to do a burnout. The alcohol car only makes 3,000 horsepower so you really have to stand on it to get them spinning.

Kalitta blasted his Mac Tools dragster to a 4.496 finish in 329.34 to pace the Top Fuel field. He is followed in the qualifying order by two-time POWERade world champion Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite team and 21-year-old Morgan Lucas respectively.

Johnson covered the quarter-mile in 6.824 at 201.46 in his GM Performance Parts Pontiac to lead all Pro Stock competitors.

"Given the (weather) conditions, that second run is about as good as we could produce out there," Johnson said.

Johnson's pace-setting effort follows his victory at last weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston. "The Professor" also was the runner-up at the season-opener at Pomona, Calif. in February.

Professional qualifying continues Saturday with sessions scheduled for noon and 3 p.m.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Warren Johnson , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Morgan Lucas