PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Doug Kalitta won the Top Fuel Division and John Force won in Funny Car to head the list winners in the National Hot Rod Association's Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway. Kalitta and Force headed a...
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Doug Kalitta won the Top Fuel Division and John Force won in Funny Car to head the list winners in the National Hot Rod Association's Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway. Kalitta and Force headed a list of six classes in which the winning car used Goodyear Tires. It was the first win of the season for each driver and the weekend brought Goodyear's season total to 11 victories.
Warren Johnson won the Pro Stock final to get his first title of 2001. Driving on tires produced in Chile, Johnson defeated Brad Jeter to win the final. Other Goodyear winners included Dean Howerton in Competition Eliminator, Jed Bourquin in Super Gas and Al Corda in Stock Eliminator.
Mike Dunn, who was the runner up to Darrell Russell in the season opener at Pomona, had the lowest elapsed time in Top Fuel and recorded the second-fastest speed in NHRA history with a run of 4.521 seconds and 328.22 mph. It was the NHRA's fastest speed since the introduction of the 90-percent nitro rule in 2000. Dunn made the fast pass during qualifying.
Kalitta's victory was his first since winning at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. last season. He had to beat Darrell Russell in the final round. Russell had won his first Top Fuel victory in the season opener at Pomona two weeks earlier.
Force's victory was in keeping with Firebird tradition. Force has won the final round at Firebird the last three straight years and has won seven of the last eight there. He beat Bruce Sarver to get his 93rd career victory. Sarver was trying to win his second straight final round, having won at Pomona. The Funny Car field was the fastest in NHRA history. The entire field qualified under five seconds.
Johnson's victory was the 82nd of his career, but Jeter made him work for it. Jeter actually led most of the distance before Johnson came from behind to get the win light with a margin of victory of just .001 of a second.
Corda won the Stock Eliminator class using Goodyear's recently introduced D6303 extended life radial tire featuring the D-4 compound. He beat Mark Dickerson in the final round at Firebird.
Bourquin, racing on tires produced in Chile, defeated Ken Harkema in the Super Gas class. This was Goodyear's first 2001 victory in Super Gas; where four of the final six cars competed on Goodyear tires.
Howerton's victory in Competition Eliminator, which came on tires produced in Chile, was the second win in as many races for Goodyear in the class.