Las Vegas: Saturday qualifying report

Kalitta, Pedregon and Anderson Take No. 1 Qualifying Positions at NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals LAS VEGAS -- Scott Kalitta raced to his first No. 1 qualifying position in more than four years Saturday, leading a parade of track record ...

Kalitta, Pedregon and Anderson Take No. 1 Qualifying Positions at NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals

LAS VEGAS -- Scott Kalitta raced to his first No. 1 qualifying position in more than four years Saturday, leading a parade of track record performances that included the fastest speed in history at the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 16-car fields for all three pro categories were set on two rounds of qualifying after rain washed out Friday's racing.

Tony Pedregon and Greg Anderson also were No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the fourth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Kalitta, a two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion, captured his 18th career No. 1 and first since 1999 by posting a track record time of 4.472 seconds at 333.74 mph in his Jesse James/Mac Tools dragster.

"I was concentrating on staging, trying to get an advantage of a few thousandths and it turned out to be a very smooth run," Kalitta said. "It's been frustrating doing poorly the first few races this year. We needed this. It's good for team morale."

His cousin Doug took bragging rights in the speed department by clocking a 335.57 mph run his Mac Tools dragster, the fastest speed in NHRA history. To certify the speed as an NHRA national record, Doug needs to record a speed of 332.22 mph during Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations.

"It's a big deal to the Mac Tools guys," Doug said . "The conditions were good and so is the facility, so I am happy we could pull off a fast (speed)."

Pedregon, who won both races and clinched the championship at this track one year ago, continued his Vegas hot streak with a track record time of 4.747 at 321.88 in his Quaker State Chevy Camaro.

"This is by far one of the best moments of my career because we did it on our own, me and Dickie (Venables, crew chief), just a couple of guys who wanted to come out here and give it a try on our own," Pedregon said of his 26th career No. 1 effort. "Maybe there was some doubt that we could do it, but we put a great group together and this was a direct result of teamwork. This is a great facility and we had optimum conditions and we ran extremely well. We went up there with low E.T. in mind and that's what we got."

Anderson earned his ninth consecutive No. 1 qualifying effort in Pro Stock and fourth of the season with a track record run of 6.812 at 202.03 in his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am. Anderson had to rally to take his 21st career No. 1 after a piece of debris interfered with the timing system on his first session attempt, resulting in no time or speed.

"You come up for a one-shot deal and anything can happen, it wasn't very comforting," Anderson said. "But we did what we had to do and I am real proud of my guys. It really feels good to come out here and run like this in front of your team owner (Ken Black), friends and family."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Greg Anderson , Scott Kalitta , Ken Black , Jesse James