Massey, Capps and Johnson pace Friday qualifying in Washington

Massey, Capps and Johnson pace Friday qualifying in Washington

Eric Mauk

The heat has stayed with the NHRA Full Throttle Series as the dragsters visit Kent, Washington for the last race in the famed Western Swing, making tuners earn their paychecks through a tough opening day in the O’Reilly Northwest Nationals.

Spencer Massey, Ron Capps and Allen Johnson fired the first shots by leading their respective divisions, but will need to back the feat up tomorrow in order to land the pole.

The night time was the right time for the Top Fuel class as 15 of the 16 qualifiers in the class improved their times in their second round of the day. Fresh off of leading qualifying a week ago, Spencer Massey scored the first spot among the rails, although he actually tied for low time with his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher. Both drivers logged times of 3.837 seconds, but Massey’s quicker top speed gave him the top position on Friday.

Spencer Massey
Spencer Massey

Photo by: NHRA

“I really don't know why we've had the top speed so much lately," Massey said. “I know I have Todd Okuhara. It seems like he's always the man with the plan. He knows how to get these cars down a racetrack. Between him and Phil, they have the technology in their minds to make this car go fast and we're proving it.”

The top 12 of the field is separated by a scant .081 seconds, with Clay Millican taking the day’s last qualifying spot with a time of 3.918 seconds. There are four non-qualifiers that will be looking to fill the 16-car ladder in tomorrow’s final round, although none of them have broken four seconds yet.

Ron Capps rebounded from a first-round loss last week at Sonoma to take the top spot on the Funny Car ladder after two rounds of qualifying at Kent, Washington. Capps nosed out Sonoma top qualifier Jack Beckman by just .002 seconds to take the lead position heading into tomorrow’s final qualifying rounds.

Ron Capps
Ron Capps

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

"We talked about mojo earlier and I must say that we have something here at Seattle," Capps said. "I didn't expect to go to the top but I'm glad we did. We'll just have to wait and see what happens Sunday. I'm not sure what it is, but I just love coming here and always have, ever since my rookie season.”

Cruz Pedregon is just .004 back of Beckman for third, while points leader Robert Hight is currently 11th. Hight’s teammate Courtney Force is not as lucky, standing 13th after two runs today and not officially in Sunday’s elimination round. There are 18 cars entered this weekend, so two entries will get an early start home after tomorrow’s qualifying.

Another day of Pro Stock qualifying, another fistful of points for Allen Johnson as the Dodge driver led the way with a pass of 6.554 seconds at 211.66 mph. Johnson actually went faster on his first run than he did on his second, besting Vincent Nobile by .01 seconds. Johnson has led every single qualifying session on this three-race Western Swing

"We're just taking it round by round," Johnson said. "The Mopar Dodge Avenger is bad to the bone right now. We're just having fun and enjoying the highs right now because there are a lot of lows in the sport of NHRA Drag Racing. So we're really taking it round by round and enjoying it as it comes."

Third- and fourth-place Mike Edwards and Erica Enders set identical 6.573-second runs while Points leader Greg Anderson is fifth on the ladder getting down the strip at 6.577 seconds. Kurt Johnson bumped himself into Sunday’s show with his second-round run, bumping Ron Krisher from the first-day qualifying list. Krisher had a follow-up shot at Johnson, but came .008 seconds short. It seems a moot point as only 16 Pro Stockers took runs today.

Top Fuel
1) Spencer Massey 3.837/319.60
2) Tony Schumacher 3.837/318.02
3) Steve Torrence 3.838/319.37
4) Shawn Langdon 3.842/316.23
5) Antron Brown 3.842/311.63
6) Khalid alBalooshi 3.857/317.34
7) Doug Kalitta 3.861/309.63
8) Morgan Lucas 3.864/318.62
9) David Grubnic 3.873/312.42
10) Bob Vandergriff 3.906/310.77
11) Brandon Bernstein 3.911/313.44
12) Clay Millican 3.918/312.78
13) Steve Chrisman 4.167/259.31
14) Ron Smith 4.573/235.35
15) Terry McMillen 4.784/182.67
16) Scott Palmer 5.488/121.40

Funny Car
1) Ron Capps 4.119/298.47
2) Jack Beckman 4.121/302.82
3) Cruz Pedregon 4.125/300.53
4) Johnny Gray 4.156/300.86
5) Matt Hagan 4.157/296.89
6) Mike Neff 4.161/297.16
7) Alexis DeJoria 4.165/293.54
8) Jeff Arend 4.224/295.85
9) John Force 4.232/290.38
10) Tim Wilkerson 4.244/292.27
11) Robert Hight 4.263/263.20
12) Tony Pedregon 4.266/280.14
13) Courtney Force 4.272/262.08
14) Gary Densham 4.306/289.20
15) Joshua Crawford 4.467/239.31
16) Jeff Diehl 4.836/178.21
17) Todd Lesenko 6.434/87.80
18) Bob Tasca III 7.604/86.45

Pro Stock
1) Allen Johnson 6.554/211.66
2) Vincent Nobile 6.564/210.87
3) Mike Edwards 6.573/210.97
4) Erica Enders 6.573/210.73
5) Greg Anderson 6.577/210.97
6) Jason Line 6.597/210.54
7) V Gaines 6.599/210.70
8) Warren Johnson 6.599/209.95
9) Shane Gray 6.603/210.01
10) Larry Morgan 6.606/209.65
11) Jeg Coughlin Jr. 6.612/210.05
12) Kurt Johnson 6.629/209.04
13) Ron Krisher 6.645/207.62
14) Mark Wolfe 6.645/207.62
15) Matt Hartford 6.668/208.55
16) JR Carr 17.476/46.22

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