Sonoma: Sears Point Friday qualifying summary

Bernstein And Bazemore Lead Nitro Qualifiers, Coughlin Sets Track Record At Sears Point Raceway SONOMA, Calif. - Kenny Bernstein led the first day of Top Fuel qualifying Friday at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals with a quarter-mile run of 4.560...

Bernstein And Bazemore Lead Nitro Qualifiers, Coughlin Sets Track Record At Sears Point Raceway

SONOMA, Calif. - Kenny Bernstein led the first day of Top Fuel qualifying Friday at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals with a quarter-mile run of 4.560 seconds at a top speed of 319.45 mph. Bernstein's Budweiser King dragster was the quickest at Sears Point Raceway with two more qualifying sessions to go on Saturday.

Whit Bazemore, and Jeg Coughlin also led their respective divisions at the $1.7 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing event during the NHRA's 50th anniversary season. .

Bernstein edged Larry Dixon for the top spot and the provisional pole heading into the second day of qualifying. Although Bernstein took the top spot on Friday, he does not feel safe that it will hold through Saturday.

"(That time) is usually not easy to beat when the sun comes back out," said Bernstein, the only NHRA competitor to win Winston championships in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. "You never know around here because it is not that hot right now. Today it was pretty warm, but Larry Dixon ran a 4.62 in the heat. Anything is possible and nothing is permanent believe me."

Bazemore scorched the track with a pass of 4.883 at 301.97 in his Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird Funny Car. If Bazemore can hold on to the top spot through Saturday's qualifying sessions, it will be his third pole of the 2001 season.

"It had the front end up at half track," Bazemore said. "I thought at the time that this is pretty good on a track that is supposedly down on traction. If we can be yanking the front end up twice at half track, that feels pretty good."

Coughlin topped the Pro Stock division with a pass of 6.880 at 199.14 in his Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier. Coughlin established the Sears Point Raceway track record for elapsed time during the night qualifying session.

"It was pretty exciting to get the pole and a track record in this case," said, Coughlin, the 2000 NHRA Winston champion. "We always feel as though we have it in us. Our team has been pulling together the last couple of weeks."

Qualifying continues Saturday at 11 a.m.

-NHRA-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Whit Bazemore