Phoenix: Saturday qualifying report

Grubnic, Densham and Anderson Earn No. 1 Qualifying Spots at Phoenix CHANDLER, Ariz. --David Grubnic earned his second career Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the 20th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird ...

Grubnic, Densham and Anderson Earn No. 1 Qualifying Spots at Phoenix

CHANDLER, Ariz. --David Grubnic earned his second career Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the 20th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway.

Gary Densham and Greg Anderson also earned the top spots in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the second of 23 races in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Grubnic used a career best pass in the Kalitta Air dragster to earn the honors. The native Australian blasted down the quarter-mile drag strip in a track-record time of 4.486 seconds at 324.51 mph to top the 16-car order. The top qualifying effort came in Grubnic's second start for the three car team owned by Connie Kalitta.

"We ran a 4.53 in the heat today which I think is stellar compared to the problems everyone else was having," Grubnic said. "Our goal for tomorrow is to have one of the three dragsters Kaliita's win the event."

Grubnic, who recorded a then-career-best 4.492 time at the season-opener in Pomona, Calif., has been impressive in the first two events of the 2004 season.

"All the credit has to go to the team for our performance," Grubnic said. "This team put the car together on short notice, had to get everything working right, then we come out and run these great numbers. That just speaks for itself. You have to have quality parts of course, but most importantly you have to have quality people."

Densham notched his seventh career top qualifying effort in the Funny Car category when his Auto Club Ford Mustang set the track record for time and speed with a pass of 4.773 at 325.77 to lead the field. Densham, who was the runner-up at the season opener last week, headlines the three Mustangs from Force Racing. Along with Densham's top spot, team-owner John Force qualified third and rookie Eric Medlen was in the No. 5 position.

"There are so many good teams out there, every point you can earn is important," Densham said. "We have 16 bad hot rods in the Funny Car category that can win a race. One thing I have learned since I joined Force Racing, we can win more events by intimidation than by anything else. Tomorrow is going to be a whole different ball game as far as track conditions go. The track is going to be warmer and we should be happy to run in the 80s in the first round. Running a 90 in the heat of the day may be enough to win it."

Anderson, the defending NHRA Pro Stock champion, earned his second consecutive No. 1 qualifying position and the 19th of his career when his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am made it to the finish line in a track-record time of 6.746 at a track record speed of 204.82.

"We didn't do as well as we thought we would in the last session when it was warm," Anderson said. "We underestimated how much the track had changed and the rest of the field moved a little closer to us, but we still did well."

After a dominant season in 2003, Anderson has demonstrated the same performance that led him to the 2003 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock crown. Anderson has now qualified in the No. 1 spot at seven consecutive events, dating back to last year. Former Pro Stock competitor Bob Glidden holds the NHRA record with 23 consecutive top qualifying honors overall, and 14 consecutive in one season (1986).

"Being the No. 1 qualifier in this class for 23 straight events is unheard of now with the way the competition is," Anderson said. "We're going to try and be the top qualifier at every race we go to. We have two in a row this season and seven straight dating back to last year, so we'll just keep going one race at a time."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Greg Anderson , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Bob Glidden , Eric Medlen , Connie Kalitta