Seattle: Saturday summary

KENT, Wash. - Gary Scelzi earned his fourth straight No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the 14th annual Prolong Super Lubricants NHRA Northwest Nationals at Seattle International Raceway. John Force and Bruce Allen also were...

KENT, Wash. - Gary Scelzi earned his fourth straight No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the 14th annual Prolong Super Lubricants NHRA Northwest Nationals at Seattle International Raceway.

John Force and Bruce Allen also were the No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the $1.7 million race, the 15th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Scelzi powered his Team Winston dragster to the front of the Top Fuel order for and fifth time this year with his track record elapsed time of 4.512 seconds at 316.97 mph. Scelzi will meet No. 16 qualifier Ron Smith in the first round of eliminations.

"The air is so good (here) that power isn't a problem," said Scelzi. "I'm kind of dreading it for tomorrow. Both lanes are equal. We saw stellar performances on both sides of the track. We're pleased with the racetrack, and it doesn't matter who we have to race in the first round because we have to race everybody."

Current Winston points leader Kenny Bernstein's made a valiant effort for the top spot with his run of 4.525 at a track record 322.65 on his last qualifying attempt. Larry Dixon, who is three points behind Bernstein in the standings, qualified in the No. 3 slot giving him 12 top three efforts in 15 races.

Force established a track record for elapsed time when he clocked a 4.827 at 311.92 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to lead all Funny Car competitors for the fourth time this season and 104th time in his career. The 10-time Winston champ will look to add to his Winston points lead when he lines up against Scotty Cannon in the first round.

"I told (crew chief Austin) Coil after the burnout that the car sounded too good and the track wasn't going to be able to take it and we'd (lose traction)," said Force. "It was going to run a 4.70 but it lost steam at the end of track and I thought it lost a blower belt. It's not easy to be No. 1 with all these great cars out here now, but I'm always glad to get it. You never know when it could be your last one because if you hit a bad streak, you might go 10 races in a row without (a No. 1 qualifying spot)."

Allen also recorded an elapsed time track record with his pass of 6.821 at 200.98 in his Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird to set the pace in the Pro Stock field for the fourth time this year and second event in a row. He will meet No. 16 qualifier Mark Pawuk in the first round, who is starting in his lowest qualifying position of the year. Darrell Alderman joined in on the record-setting performances as he established a national record for speed when he reached 202.42 in his Dodge Neon R/T.

Professional eliminations begin Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

-NHRA

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Mark Pawuk , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Scotty Cannon , Bruce Allen