Topeka: Rain disrupts Friday qualifying

Rain disrupts qualifying at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals. TOPEKA, Kan. - Inclement weather postponed the remainder of professional qualifying at the 14th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The entire Pro...

Rain disrupts qualifying at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

TOPEKA, Kan. - Inclement weather postponed the remainder of professional qualifying at the 14th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

The entire Pro Stock category made one of two scheduled qualifying passes. Darrell Alderman paced the category with a 6.882-second pass at 199.61 mph in his Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T.

Johnny Gray was one of 15 Funny Car drivers to make a pass in the nitro category before persistent downpours forced NHRA officials to cancel the rest of the schedule. Gray is the provisional No. 1 qualifier after he drove his Checker Schucks Kragen Pontiac Firebird to a 4.882 at 317.12.

The $1.8 million O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals is the ninth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

The first two rounds of Top Fuel qualifying were canceled. Two more qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

If Alderman can stay at the top of the Pro Stock ranks, it will be his 24th No. 1 qualifying effort. Alderman qualified for the first seven events of the season before he failed to make the ladder at Englishtown, N.J. last weekend.

"It's good to have a run in that you think might be safe enough to get you in the show," Alderman said. "The biggest hurdle in Pro Stock right now is just qualifying for the race. I feel a lot better after that run than I did anytime in Englishtown."

Alderman may be at the top of the field now, but he knows that could change.

"It is possible that the 4.88 might not be enough to get into Sunday's elimination round," Alderman said. "If the weather clears up and the humidity goes down, who knows what can happen? I feel better being No. 1 right now than being No. 14, that is for sure."

Qualifying continues Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. while the final eliminations are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Johnny Gray