Warren Johnson takes 138th career pole in Bristol

Warren Johnson sits atop the NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock field heading into Sunday's O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Tony Schumacher and Mike Neff also grabbed No. 1 qualifiers in Tennessee. Johnson took both ends...

Warren Johnson sits atop the NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock field heading into Sunday's O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Tony Schumacher and Mike Neff also grabbed No. 1 qualifiers in Tennessee.

Johnson took both ends of the Bristol track record with his first run on Saturday, a 6.674 at 207.43 mph, seizing the top rung on the Pro Stock ladder for the NHRA-record 138th time in his career.

"Both Kurt and I have been working on our cars way overtime," said Johnson. "We turned it over to the crew to do their part and it's coming together quite nicely. We've got a few areas to work on still, but hopefully we can shore them up in the next race or two and be competitive the rest of the season."

WJ's son Kurt drove to the No. 2 spot followed by Greg Anderson, Allen Johnson and V Gaines. Jeg Coughlin, Kenny Koretsky and Justin Humphreys did not make the 16-car Pro Stock field.

Rookie Mike Neff, still riding high after reaching his first NHRA Funny Car final in St. Louis, followed it up with his first career No. 1 qualifying effort. Neff ran a 4.783 at 321.04 mph Friday night for the top spot and held onto it through Saturday's runs.

"We held on and we're happy. It's an awesome feeling for us to do this for Old Spice," shared Neff. "I owe this all to [crew chief] John Medlen, who makes the calls and makes it perform like he does. We're starting to get a little bit of momentum and tomorrow the conditions are going to be good for racing. Our chances are as good as anyone else's"

Jim Head grabbed the No. 2 spot and Tim Wilkerson (4) is sandwiched between Neff's teammates Ashley Force (3) and Robert Hight (5). Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Scott Kalitta all missed the cut in this ultra competitive Funny Car class.

Tony Schumacher earned his second NHRA Top Fuel pole position of the season with his Friday night pass of 4.502 at 327.59 mph.

"I'm as comfortable as I've ever been," shared Schumacher. "The car is driving fantastic, the racetrack is outstanding, and it's going to be great. There's still a little something strange going on. Yesterday we thought we could run 4.40s but only ran 4.50. So there's still something out there giving us a curveball. But I would rather drive [crew chief Allen Johnson]'s car any day of the week when all is wrong than drive anyone else's car."

Teammates David Grubnic, Doug Kalitta and Hillary Will grabbed the No. 2, 3 and 5 spots respectively with Antron Browns squeezing in at No. 4.

Final eliminations for the Thunder Valley Nationals begin at noon at Bristol Dragway. Coverage on ESPN2 begins at 6:30 PM (ET).

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Warren Johnson , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Kenny Koretsky , Tim Wilkerson , Ashley Force , Allen Johnson , Robert Hight , Hillary Will , Justin Humphreys , Mike Neff , Tommy Johnson Jr.