Reading, Maple Grove Qualifying Report

David Reininger - motorsport.com Reading, PA (September 18, 1999) - Although several track records were broken in qualifying for Sunday's True Value Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway today, the big story was still the points race in the...

David Reininger - motorsport.com

Reading, PA (September 18, 1999) - Although several track records were broken in qualifying for Sunday's True Value Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway today, the big story was still the points race in the Top Fuel category. Tony Schumacher, who took the points lead after the last race at Indianapolis, leads Mike Dunn by 15 points after the completion of qualifying this weekend. Only 121 points separate Bob Vandergriff in tenth place from the points leader, in the closest points battle in Top Fuel since 1975.

Gary Scelzi, currently third in points, took the top spot in qualifying with an E.T. of 4.58 and a top speed of 307.58 mph. Scelzi will face Randy Parks in the first round.

Schumacher, son of legendary drag racer Don "Shoe" Schumacher, set a track record with his top speed of 314.46 mph. Qualifying third, Schumacher will square off with Cory McClenathan in round one.

Tony Pedregon took top honors in Funny Car qualifying, nipping his boss and teammate, John Force by 33 one-thousandths of a second as the pair qualified their Mustangs one-two for Sunday's eliminations. As the sun started to set, cooling the track for the final round of qualifying, Pedregon made a pass at 4.912 seconds and 298.50 mph, to take the top position. This is the third time Pedregon has qualified No. 1 this season.

In Pro Stock, Warren Johnson made a run at 6.853 seconds and 201.43 mph, the fastest speed and best time ever recorded for a Pro Stock racer at Maple Grove Raceway. Two other drivers in the Pro Stock category made runs at speeds over 200 MPH at Maple Grove this weekend. Kurt Johnson, son of top qualifier Warren Johnson, took the No. 2 spot, recording a top speed of 200.13 while the No. 4 qualifier, Bruce Allen, recorded a top speed of 200.17 mph.

In Saturday's first qualifying session for Pro Stock Bike, Matt Hines set track records for E.T. and top speed with a pass at 7.212/189.35 mph. In the final qualifying session, Hines made a run at 7.188/187.57 mph to capture a new NHRA National record for elapsed time.

"I figured we'd do it long before now," said Hines. "I thought we'd be in the teens here last year. There's so much pressure to get this record. I just sat there on the starting line and waited until I was ready to pop the clutch. Luckily I made a good run."

With a great bike under him, Hines is looking forward to tomorrow's race. "This bike has so much power," Hine said. "If we get some really killer conditions, and make a perfect run, this bike might do an eleven."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Mike Dunn , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Bob Vandergriff