Seattle: Friday qualifying summary

Scelzi, Dixon and Anderson are Friday qualifying leaders at CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals KENT, Wash. -- Gary Scelzi raced to the qualifying lead in Funny Car Friday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways near ...

Scelzi, Dixon and Anderson are Friday qualifying leaders at CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals

KENT, Wash. -- Gary Scelzi raced to the qualifying lead in Funny Car Friday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle.

Larry Dixon and Greg Anderson also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the 14th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Scelzi powered his Oakley Dodge Stratus down the quarter-mile track in 4.964 seconds at 299.33 mph to pace the 16-car lineup. Cruz Pedregon was second in his Advance Auto Parts Pontiac Firebird, clocking a 4.977 at 306.74.

With a victory on Sunday, Scelzi, who earned back-to-back Top Fuel victories here in 2000-'01, could join Ron Capps as the only drivers to earn race titles in both nitro categories at this track. Additionally, he would become the 13th driver in NHRA history to accomplish the rare feat.

"This really emphasizes the importance of running a good lap in the first round," said Scelzi, a three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion. "I think we finally have this thing figured out. It's been a case where we either set a world record or smoke the tires and that's why we're all the way back in 11th place, but now (crew chief Mike Neff) is getting a handle on this thing. I know when (John) Force or (Tony) Pedregon or any of the other big hitters line up next to us they know they have a race on their hands. I've had this feeling about us for awhile now and I think we're finally gonna make a run."

Dixon led Top Fuel, clocking a 4.692 at 312.57 in his Miller Lite dragster, while his points rival Doug Kalitta was second in his Mac Tools dragster, recording a performance of 4.768 at 301.47.

The second session of Top Fuel qualifying was cut short due to curfew following lengthy delays to clean oil from the racing surface after dragsters in the first two pairs suffered mechanical failures.

"It's a shame that we lost the night run for the second year in a row," Dixon said. "We were denied a shot at setting the track record and maybe even a national record. I guess we'll never know now."

Anderson continued to set the pace in Pro Stock, covering the distance in 6.802 at a track record speed of 203.03 in his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am.

"It's a great feeling that wherever we go we have run well, and in some cases even set track records," Anderson said. "That's what it takes to win championships."

Qualifying continues Saturday at 10 a.m.

-nhra-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Cruz Pedregon , Mike Neff