Topeka: Saturday qualifying summary

PEDREGON, DIXON AND ANDERSON CLAIM NO. 1 QUALIFYING AWARDS AT O'REILLY SUMMER NATIONALS TOPEKA, Kan. -- Tony Pedregon used a track record performance to earn his fifth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 22nd of his career at the...

PEDREGON, DIXON AND ANDERSON CLAIM NO. 1 QUALIFYING AWARDS AT O'REILLY SUMMER NATIONALS

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Tony Pedregon used a track record performance to earn his fifth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 22nd of his career at the O'Reilly Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX at Heartland Park Topeka. Larry Dixon and Greg Anderson also will lead their respective categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the $1.9 million race, the 9th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Pedregon took advantage of cool weather conditions that rolled into the northeastern Kansas area late Saturday and powered his Ford Mustang to a quarter-mile run of 4.743 seconds at 316.97 mph. His teammate John Force posted a 4.800 at 316.97 in a Mustang for the second position, while Pedregon's closest points rival, Whit Bazemore, was third with a 4.802 at a track record speed of 326.48 in a Dodge Stratus. The four other times Pedregon has been the top qualifier this season, he has not advanced past the semifinals. The last two times he was No. 1, he was eliminated by Bazemore. "I don't believe being on the pole is a curse even though we haven't won from the pole all year," Pedregon said. "I'm really not a superstitious person at all. The facts are that the pole is the best place to start from so we're happy to be there. I know that being No. 1 doesn't change what we do. We race the same whether we're No. 1 or No. 10." Dixon claimed his 20th career No. 1 effort in Top Fuel, and the first of the season by posting a 4.509 at 327.11 in the Miller Lite dragster. "Qualifying on top is nice but the goal is to try and win the race," Dixon said. "(Six-time No. 1 qualifier Doug) Kalitta has had a phenomenal car all year so until this weekend we haven't had a setup to compete with that. We want to get in the top 2-3 on qualifying because that gives you a good starting spot. Then we want to work on the race day stuff. So far it's been working and that's (crew chief Dick) LaHaie's gameplan." Kenny Bernstein, who came out of retirement at this event to sub for his injured son Brandon, was second in the Budweiser dragster, qualifying with a performance of 4.545 at 327.03. Anderson earned his fourth No. 1 qualifying award of the season and the seventh of his career in Pro Stock, clocking a track record performance of 6.825 at 202.15 in a Pontiac Grand Am. "For some drivers qualifying No. 1 has been a jinx, but not for me," Anderson said. "Life is pretty good for me right now and I want to keep it going. It was a nice, smooth run. This is a good race track, we just don't have the conditions here to make the power like we did in Englishtown. Still, getting the No. 1 position doesn't carry any weight for Sunday. The car has to make the power and the driver has to be on time to make it happen. I feel like the car is working well. It has all come together in the last few weeks, and we can win if I do my job." -nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Greg Anderson