Norwalk: Saturday qualifying report

JOHNSON DRIVES MOPAR TO K&N CHALLENGE VICTORY Fuller, Hight, Line and Krawiec claim No. 1 qualifying honors at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals NORWALK, Ohio -- Allen Johnson drove his Dodge Stratus to the $50,000 K&N Horsepower ...


Fuller, Hight, Line and Krawiec claim No. 1 qualifying honors at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals

NORWALK, Ohio -- Allen Johnson drove his Dodge Stratus to the $50,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge victory Saturday at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.

In other racing, Rod Fuller, Robert Hight, Jason Line and Eddie Krawiec claimed No. 1 qualifying positions and will lead their respective categories into tomorrow's 11 a.m. eliminations for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. It is the 12th of 24 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event.

It was the first win for Johnson in the special bonus event for the eight quickest Pro Stock teams from the last year. If Johnson can win in tomorrow he could earn an additional $25,000 from NHRA for sweeping both races, bringing his potential weekend earnings to more than $100,000.

Johnson, from Greeneville, Tenn., covered the quarter-mile distance in 6.725 seconds at 204.91 mph in his J&J Racing/Team Mopar Stratus and used a rare perfect reaction time (.000) to beat Greg Anderson, who posted a quicker, but losing, performance of 6.717 at 204.91 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP.

"The perfect light in the final, I don't know where that came from," said Johnson, who is the second Mopar driver to win the Challenge in the 23-year history of the event, and first since Darrell Alderman's victory in 1991 in a Dodge Daytona.

"I haven't been driving too good lately," continued Johnson, who defeated Warren Johnson and Kurt Johnson in the first two rounds of the Challenge. "In the second round, I was able to cut a little better light; and then in the final, of course, you're just sucking up everything you've got to really get it close, and fortunately, it was green and perfect. To win this means a lot, especially being the first Mopar driver to win in the last 17 years. I don't think this will be our last time. Dad (Roy, crew chief) and the crew are just doing such an awesome job."

In Top Fuel, Fuller earned his first top qualifying effort of the season, second-straight at this event and seventh of his career with a performance of 4.629 at 311.13 in his Caterpillar dragster.

"This a great place to race and where we started our charge last year," said Fuller, who finished second in the '07 final point standings. "(Our run today) actually was a better run than it ended up because it dropped some cylinders and slowed at the other end. Rob (Flynn, crew chief) asked me what I wanted him to do with the tune-up and I told him to go for it. There are only 16 cars and I'd rather go down swinging than just make a mediocre run and qualify in the middle of the pack."

Funny Car's Hight joined Fuller in posting his second-straight No. 1 at this event. He drove his Auto Club Ford Mustang to a performance of 4.882 at 309.77 to claim his 25th career No. 1 qualifying position and second of the season.

"That's the first run in a long time that my car has made where it ran really good all the way to the finish line," Hight said. "It didn't drop cylinders and was nice and clean, but it's only one run, and we need to make four Sunday to put ourselves in the position to win. Jimmy Prock (crew chief) and my whole team have worked so hard because we've torn up a lot of motors and parts this year, but it threw us a bone tonight. (Tim) Wilkerson has been running away with the points this year, but if we have a good-running race car when they reset the points (for the Countdown to the Championship), we can run right with him."

In other news during the day in Funny Car, Melanie Troxel and Gary Scelzi were both disqualified for the event after NHRA Tech Officials found loose ballast in their cars during inspection following the day's first qualifying session. According to NHRA rules, any car determined to have loose ballast during or following a run results in immediate event disqualification.

In Pro Stock, Line raced to his 15th career No. 1 and second of the season, driving his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a category-best time of 6.716 at 205.51.

"We're happy to put the Summit car on the pole, and any time we can knock the yellow car off the top, it's kind of a big deal for us," said Line, referencing rival Jeg Coughlin, who was second in the 16-car lineup in his Chevy Cobalt. "Now it transfers to the pressure of trying to win the race. I haven't had much racing luck this year. If there's been a break to be had, it hasn't fallen in my direction. Hopefully we can turn that around tomorrow. I'm driving decent, and the car's running good enough to turn it into victory, so maybe tomorrow is the day."

Krawiec earned the first No. 1 qualifying position of his career in Pro Stock Motorcycle, racing to the position with a performance of 7.017 at 191.02 on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

"We've been struggling a bit, so we threw a lot at it that run," Krawiec said. "Andrew (Hines, teammate, qualified second) and Matt (Hines, crew chief) and I sat in the trailer for about three-and-a-half hours Thursday staring at computer sheets and data for comparable conditions and tried a lot of changes, so to come out and go 1-2 shows that hard work really pays off."

-credit: nhra

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Melanie Troxel , Allen Johnson , Jason Line , Robert Hight , Rod Fuller