Topeka: Friday summary

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Mike Dunn capped a thrilling day of high-horsepower performances at Heartland Park Topeka by clocking the quickest Top Fuel run since NHRA mandated the 90-percent nitro rule last season. John Force, Warren Johnson and Bob...

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Mike Dunn capped a thrilling day of high-horsepower performances at Heartland Park Topeka by clocking the quickest Top Fuel run since NHRA mandated the 90-percent nitro rule last season.

John Force, Warren Johnson and Bob Panella also were qualifying leaders at the $1.9 million race, the ninth of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Dunn covered the quarter-mile distance with a track record performance of 4.495 seconds at 331.53 mph in the Yankee dragster to lead the 16-car Top Fuel order at the Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. His near-perfect run featured the fourth-quickest time and the second-fastest speed in NHRA history.

"We tuned it up, stepped on it and it responded," said Dunn. "It was on a heck of a run down through there and when I reached for the (parachutes), I knew it had to be real good. The conditions will probably be different tomorrow, but if it's cool and overcast maybe we can run some more good numbers. But for now the plan is to get a good combination going into Sunday so we can get more consistent and start running like Kenny (Bernstein)."

John Force had the quickest Funny Car of the day, however his teammate had the fastest.

Force led Funny Car qualifying with a 4.809 second run at 316.82 mph in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, but Tony Pedregon wowed the standing room only crowd by clocking the fastest Funny Car speed in NHRA history at 324.83 mph. Pedregon is qualified second at 4.823 seconds, also in a Castrol-sponsored Mustang.

"We're glad to get the top spot, but I'm real proud of Tony, he outshined us all," said Force. "I expected to see a 70 (4.70-second) out there tonight, but a few of the guys turned it up a little and smoked the tires. I think we're going to see some real good drag racing on Sunday because this track can take it."

Warren Johnson was quickest in Pro Stock, driving his GM Goodwrench Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.868 with a track record speed of 200.92 mph.

Panella paced the Pro Stock Truck order, covering the distance in a track record time of 7.475 at 180.96 in a Chevy S-10. Local favorite Todd Patterson of nearby Augusta, Kan., set a track speed record of 181.23 mph in his Dodge Dakota in a fourth place qualifying effort.

Qualifying continues Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Mike Dunn , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , John Force