Sonoma Saturday recap

SONOMA - Saturday Recap by Larry Sullivan SONOMA, Calif. - SUMMIT FastNews - Bright sunshine and warming temperatures put the pressure on the teams trying to qualify for eliminations in the 11th annual NHRA Autolite Nationals at Sears...

SONOMA - Saturday Recap by Larry Sullivan SONOMA, Calif. - SUMMIT FastNews - Bright sunshine and warming temperatures put the pressure on the teams trying to qualify for eliminations in the 11th annual NHRA Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway Saturday. When the tire smoke cleared Saturday afternoon, Doug Kalitta, Ron Capps, and Warren Johnson found themselves still atop the ladders in their respective Professional categories, and John Lingenfelter found himself in the winner's circle for the new Pro Stock Truck category. Lingenfelter, the number-one qualifier, was not seriously challenged until he met Todd Patterson in the final round. Lingenfelter's Chevy S-10 and Patterson's Dodge Dakota left the starting line in a virtual dead-heat, and 1,320 feet later Lingenfelter arrived at the finish line three feet ahead of Patterson, with a 7.805-second elapsed time at 174.24 mph to Patterson's 7.819 at 171.78. Kalitta retained and strengthened his hold on the number one spot on the Top Fuel ladder, posting an improved 4.719 at 310.88 mph. Joe Amato, second in the Winston points, qualified just behind Kalitta with a 4.734 at 312.39, the fastest speed of the event so far, while points leader Cory McClenathan qualified in the second half of the field, ninth with a 4.811 at 300.80. 1997 Winston champion Gary Scelzi was in danger of sitting it out Sunday, but made it in at the 11th position with a 4.824. Capps held on to the top spot on the Funny Car ladder with his 5.130 second, 263.54 mph effort Friday night. Chuck Etchells took over the points lead from 1997 Winston champion John Force, by one point, qualified fifth with a 5.206 at 300.10 (top speed of the category so far) while Force qualified in the bottom half of the field with a 5.271 at 289.01. Warren Johnson surprised everyone by also improving his number-one position on the Pro Stock ladder with a 6.949-second, 199.64 mph run in the first session Saturday. Both are track records. Richie Stevens also posted a sub-seven-second elapsed time Saturday morning to stay in the second spot, and Kurt Johnson went from well outside the field to third with a 6.999 at 199.60 mph in the Saturday morning session. Mark Pawuk held on to the bump spot with a 7.049 and will face Warren Johnson in the first round Sunday.

1997 Winston champion Jim Yates failed to make the field, the third time he's suffered that fate in 1998. Final eliminations for all categories will be held Sunday, the first round set for an 11:00 AM kickoff. Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Ron Capps , John Force , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Todd Patterson , John Lingenfelter , Chuck Etchells , Cory McClenathan