Topeka: Scelzi, Force lead qualifying

TOPEKA, Kan. - Gary Scelzi led Top Fuel qualifying Friday at the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals. John Force, Jeg Coughlin and Bob Panella also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the 19th of...

TOPEKA, Kan. - Gary Scelzi led Top Fuel qualifying Friday at the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals. John Force, Jeg Coughlin and Bob Panella also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the 19th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., sped down the Heartland Park Topeka quarter-mile in 4.604 seconds at 309.98 mph in his Team Winston dragster to lead the 16-car order. Kenny Bernstein drove his Budweiser King dragster to a 4.616 at 313.15, good enough for second place. "When you're in a points battle that's as tight as the one Tony (Schumacher) and I have going, you need to make every point count," said Scelzi, who entered this event eight points ahead of his rival. "I've actually gained a lot of points this year on Tony during qualifying. Hopefully we'll be able to get another No. 1 out of this race." Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., posted a 4.903 at 307.23 to lead Funny Car qualifying in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Frank Pedregon posted an identical time in his Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird, but lost the top spot by virtue of Force's faster speed. "We thought it might get cooler tonight and a little tricky, but the conditions were really good out there," Force said. "(Our run) could've been better if we had the nerve. Maybe it could've ran a low to mid-4.80. Right now we're counting the points with Toliver so we're making sure we don't do anything stupid. I don't know if that time is going to hold. It might, but I doubt it." Coughlin, from Columbus, Ohio, paced the 16-car Pro Stock order, recording a 6.922 at 197.39 in his Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass. Stockton, Calif.'s Panella led Pro Stock Truck qualifying with a 7.585 at 176.95 in his Panella Trucking Chevy S-10. Qualifying continues Saturday at 11 a.m.

TOPEKA, Kan. - Friday's qualifying results for the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, 19th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.

Top Fuel -- 1. Gary Scelzi, 4.604 seconds, 309.98 mph; 2. Kenny Bernstein, 4.616, 313.15; 3. Tony Schumacher, 4.633, 314.02; 4. Cory McClenathan, 4.639, 309.98; 5. Larry Dixon, 4.643, 306.95; 6. Melanie Troxel, 4.645, 308.07; 7. Bob Vandergriff, 4.693, 309.06; 8. David Grubnic, 4.703, 315.05; 9. Tim Gibson, 4.752, 307.23; 10. Joe Amato, 4.818, 285.17; 11. Luigi Novelli, 4.835, 298.60; 12. Jim Cavalieri, 5.024, 255.97; 13. Don Lampus, 5.136, 239.02; 14. Andrew Cowin, 5.330, 204.76; 15. Joe Hartley, 5.436, 180.62; 16. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 5.458, 178.21.

Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.903, 307.23; 2. Frank Pedregon, Pontiac Firebird, 4.903, 301.20; 3. Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro, 4.905, 300.73; 4. Tony Pedregon, Mustang, 4.927, 303.64; 5. Tim Wilkerson, Firebird, 4.958, 292.96; 6. Scotty Cannon, Camaro, 4.973, 293.35; 7. Bruce Sarver, Firebird, 4.973, 289.38; 8. Whit Bazemore, Camaro, 4.987, 302.28; 9. Jerry Toliver, Firebird, 5.018, 297.48; 10. Cristen Powell, Camaro, 5.035, 278.52; 11. Del Worsham, Firebird, 5.042, 288.52; 12. Bob Gilbertson, Camaro, 5.056, 299.00; 13. Gary Densham, Firebird, 5.057, 289.57; 14. Al Hofmann, Firebird, 5.076, 288.27; 15. Phil Burkart, Camaro, 5.093, 301.60; 16. Tommy Johnson Jr., Firebird, 5.229, 277.66.

Pro Stock -- 1. Jeg Coughlin, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.922, 197.39; 2. Ron Krisher, Pontiac Firebird, 6.926, 197.94; 3. Warren Johnson, Firebird, 6.953, 197.88; 4. Jim Yates, Firebird, 6.955, 197.33; 5. Kurt Johnson, Chevy Camaro, 6.966, 198.00; 6. Bruce Allen, Firebird, 6.967, 196.73; 7. Mark Pawuk, Firebird, 6.969, 197.13; 8. Scott Geoffrion, Dodge Avenger, 6.972, 196.53; 9. Richie Stevens, Firebird, 6.973, 195.53; 10. George Marnell, Firebird, 6.976, 196.27; 11. Brad Jeter, Firebird, 6.978, 196.76; 12. Troy Coughlin, Cutlass, 6.981, 196.76; 13. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 6.984, 196.30; 14. Larry Morgan, Avenger, 6.987, 196.96; 15. Darrell Alderman, Avenger, 6.991, 196.56; 16. Danny Coffman, Firebird, 6.999, 195.05. Pro Stock Truck -- 1. Bob Panella Jr, Chevy S-10, 7.585, 176.95; 2. Greg Stanfield, S-10, 7.596, 176.86; 3. Randy Daniels, S-10, 7.599, 176.93; 4. Jeff Gracia, S-10, 7.606, 176.97; 5. Bart Price, S-10, 7.619, 176.67; 6. Mike Coughlin, S-10, 7.621, 176.84; 7. Mark Whisnant, S-10, 7.623, 175.84; 8. Steve Johns, S-10, 7.625, 176.79; 9. Larry Kopp, S-10, 7.627, 176.14; 10. John Coughlin, S-10, 7.635, 175.18; 11. Todd Patterson, Dodge Dakota, 7.637, 175.59; 12. Jeff Naiser, S-10, 7.638, 175.05; 13. Taylor Lastor, S-10, 7.641, 175.48; 14. Brian Self, S-10, 7.644, 175.16; 15. John Lingenfelter, GMC Sonoma, 7.649, 175.64; 16. Don Smith, S-10, 7.651, 175.43.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Andrew Cowin , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Todd Patterson , Larry Kopp , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Mike Coughlin , John Lingenfelter , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Greg Stanfield , Bruce Allen , Tim Wilkerson , Phil Burkart , Scott Geoffrion , George Marnell , Luigi Novelli , Don Lampus , Rickie Smith , Tim Gibson , Joe Hartley , Mark Whisnant , Brian Self , Jerry Toliver , Bob Vandergriff , Steve J , Tommy Johnson Jr. , Cristen Powell