Topeka: Friday qualifying report

ANDERSON CLAIMS NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITION AFTER FIRST TWO ROUNDS AT O'REILLY NHRA SUMMER NATIONALS Rookie Hight leads in Funny Car and points leader Doug Kalitta leads in Top Fuel TOPEKA, Kan. -- Reigning motorsports Driver of the Year ...

ANDERSON CLAIMS NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITION AFTER FIRST TWO ROUNDS AT O'REILLY NHRA SUMMER NATIONALS

Rookie Hight leads in Funny Car and points leader Doug Kalitta leads in Top Fuel

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Reigning motorsports Driver of the Year Greg Anderson reset his own track record en route to earning the provisional Pro Stock No. 1 qualifying position Friday at the 17th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

Anderson established the record on his second run of the day in his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am, recording a pass of 6.725 seconds at 204.82 mph. In the first round, Kurt Johnson set a track record for speed when he hit 205.10 in his AC Delco Chevy Cobalt.

"When it gets cold like this we love it because you can make all the power in the world, but the track temperature got down to 65 degrees and you really had to thread the needle to get your car down the track," said Anderson, alluding to the numerous racers who failed to make a full pass in the second session. "If you went dead-straight down the groove you posted a big number. If you were six inches one way or the other, your car turned sideways."

Anderson is the two-time defending champion at Heartland Park Topeka, as well as the two-time defending NHRA POWERade champion, and he comes into this weekend's race having won the last two events (O'Reilly Southern Nationals and Pontiac Performance Nationals).

"It's difficult to drive in conditions like this but it's also a lot of fun because your heart is going and you know that if you drive well, you can really fly," Anderson said. "We won't have this tomorrow. It's supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny, so we'll see consistency but not numbers like we saw tonight."

Rookie Robert Hight had the quickest ride in Funny Car qualifying, sewith his category-best time of 4.729.

"This Auto Club Mustang is unbelievable," said Hight, who drove around his lane quite a bit during his record run. "It does 4.70s anywhere. It's a great race car and a great race team. That was a wild ride, but very exciting."

In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta's 4.505-second pass at 329.26 in his Mac Tools dragster led the 16-car field heading into the final day of qualifying.

"The conditions tomorrow should still be pretty good so we'll try to run some more good numbers and get ready to race. I'm still not ready to say we have the best car out here because this sport can be so humbling, but we are happy with the car right now, that's for sure."

The final two rounds of qualifying are scheduled for noon and 3 p.m. Saturday. Final eliminations in all four classes are scheduled to begin Sunday at 11 a.m.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Doug Kalitta , Robert Hight