Phoenix Saturday Recap

CHANDLER AZ - SUMMIT FastNews - Qualifying for the 15th annual NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals presented by Pennzoil concluded Saturday with two of the three first-day leaders still atop their qualifying ladders. John Force and Warren ...

CHANDLER AZ - SUMMIT FastNews - Qualifying for the 15th annual NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals presented by Pennzoil concluded Saturday with two of the three first-day leaders still atop their qualifying ladders. John Force and Warren Johnson remained atop the Funny Car and Pro Stock fields after two more qualifying sessions, but Joe Amato replaced Tony Schumacher at the head of a very quick Top Fuel field. Amato went from outside the field to the top half in the first session Saturday, then took command by resetting both ends of the Firebird Raceway track record book with an elapsed time of 4.543 seconds and a speed of 325.30 mph. Winston points-leader Mike Dunn and Larry Dixon also leapfrogged Schumacher Saturday, moving the first-day leader down to fourth in the order. Paul Romine held on to the sixteenth spot in the field with a 4.738-second effort, making this one of the quickest fields ever. Bob Vandergriff Jr., owner and driver of the JerZees dragster, broke a 39-race qualifying streak, smoking the tires on his final attempt. Force remained atop the Funny Car field on the strength of his first-round 4.853-second elapsed time, surviving strong challenges from Cruz Pedregon (4.888), Whit Bazemore (4.908) and teammate Tony Pedregon (4.918). Prominent newcomer Scotty Cannon, making the move from IHRA Pro Modified to NHRA Funny Car this year, failed to qualify after suffering a fire Friday and two out-of-shape runs Saturday. Warren Johnson didn't rest on his laurels, resetting both ends of his Friday track records with a 6.920-second, 199.64 mph run during the first session Saturday. His son Kurt stayed second, improving with a 6.934 at 198.79, and Mike Thomas moved into third at 6.956. Robert Patrick rounds out the quick field, with the top eleven qualifiers under seven seconds, clocked at 7.017 and 197.74. Final eliminations Sunday will eliminate all but one survivor in each category.

Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Paul Romine , Mike Thomas , Robert Patrick , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Scotty Cannon , Cruz Pedregon , Bob Vandergriff