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Dixon Jumps To Top In Pomona

| , RacinToday.com Friday, February 12 2010
Round 2 of qualifying for the Winternationals was held on Friday. Robert Hight, right lane, held onto the Funny Car provisional pole (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

Round 2 of qualifying for the Winternationals was held on Friday. Robert Hight, right lane, held onto the Funny Car provisional pole (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

Larry Dixon jumped to the provisional Top Fuel pole at the 50th-annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals Friday with a second-round qualifying run at 3.795 second and 317 mph.

Robert Hight held on to the No. 1 qualifying spot in Funny Car and Mike Edwards remained atop the Pro Stock heap.

Dixon failed to make last year’s field at the Winternationals but is obviously looking good this year.

“Before the weekend started, Alan [Johnson, crew chief] said, ‘Every race this year, we just need to do a little bit better,’ and I said, ‘Well, we’ve got a pretty big cushion to work with. We just need 11 points at this event to be able to do better than we did last year,’ ” said Dixon. “That was a nice run there and it will stay in the show, so we’re going to race this year at the 50th Winternationals, so I’m thrilled about that. It was a nice, clean, straight run, not a lot to talk about. It was just nice.

“Yesterday we ran into the night — the sun was gone and the track temperatures were a lot cooler — so today is probably more realistic of what we will see through the weekend. You have a little different grip. For us, it stuck, so it was nice that Alan and Jason both made the necessary adjustments needed to get the car down the racetrack. So far, so good. Hopefully, we can keep running good for the rest of the weekend.”

Cory McClenathan, who was fastest in Thursday’s qualifying session, slipped to second behind Dixon.

Morgan Lucas moved into the No. 3 spot. Right behind him is defending champion Tony Schumacher.

In Funny Car, John Force had the best run of the day – 4.066 seconds – but it was only third fastest of the weekend. Still he moved up from being last on Thursday.

“It’s just exciting always to be back, and we’ve worked real hard over the winter,” said Force. “We weren’t able to get a lot of testing done. Mike Neff coming over to our team with the loss of our fourth car, I’m excited that [ Austin] Coil, him, and Bernie [Fedderly] are working together. Coil’s loving it, having a young kid with a lot of energy to run around. Neff said, ‘That’s where I came from, tuning, and that’s where I really wanted to be,’ so no problems there. Robert ran low last night with John Medlen over there helping Jimmy Prock and Eric Lane, so we’ve got good rounded deal. We’re just excited about it. I’ve still got some life in me.

“I never realized how overloaded I was, running between cars. When you take away a car, it just takes a whole chunk of the load off of you. It’s just amazing that I can focus on my car. I’m still running around crazy, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Del Worsham held on to the second spot. Force’s run knocked daughter Ashley Force Hood to fourth.

Edwards not only maintained his traditional position atop the Pro Stock field, but the reigning NHRA Full Throttle champ also had the session’s best pass, a 6.599, from his Penhall/Interstate/K&N Pontiac. If he remains in the top spot, which he now holds with his Thursday 6.580, it will be his 10th straight No. 1, dating back to the middle of last season.

“These things are aspirated so they breathe what conditions are outside, so any time the temperature goes up, we slow down just a tick,” said Edwards. “Tomorrow morning could possibly be a good pretty run, but the hotter it gets it definitely affects the engine. So you’ve just got to make the adjustments and try to race the track and try to get all you can get. The conditions, by all means, could get worse if the temperature keeps rising.”

Ohioans Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Ron Krisher remained Nos. 2 and 3 with their Thursday passes of 6.591 and 6.595 as few drivers were able to improve on their times from Thursday’s cooler session. Rodger Brogdon remained fourth and Allen Johnson’s Dodge fifth.

Two drivers who did improve were championship favorites and Summit Racing teammates Greg Anderson and Jason Line. Anderson, who struggled to a 13.51 pass Friday, was the quickest of those outside yesterday’s top 16 after clocking a 6.623 in his Summit Pontiac which boosted him to 8th. Line, who ran just 7.23 Friday, also improved substantially with a 6.640. Anderson’s pass was the fourth quickest of the session.

Results Friday after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by Valvoline at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, first of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Larry Dixon, 3.795 seconds, 317.79 mph; 2. Cory McClenathan, 3.809, 320.05; 3. Morgan Lucas, 3.823, 316.90; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.835, 317.57; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.847, 309.98; 6. David Grubnic, 3.854, 319.60; 7. Antron Brown, 3.869, 313.73; 8. Doug Kalitta, 3.876, 313.44; 9. Thomas Nataas, 3.880, 306.33; 10. Brandon Bernstein, 3.899, 310.98; 11. Steve Torrence, 3.929, 305.42; 12. Troy Buff, 3.950, 286.01. Not Qualified: 13. Chris Karamesines, 3.997, 308.00; 14. Steven Chrisman, 4.239, 267.43; 15. Andy Carter, 4.260, 218.34; 16. Mike Strasburg, 7.622, 91.96; 17. Terry McMillen, 8.674, 84.24.

Funny Car — 1. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.059, 312.86; 2. Del Worsham, Toyota Solara, 4.062, 312.35; 3. John Force, Mustang, 4.066, 310.41; 4. Ashley Force Hood, Mustang, 4.093, 310.70; 5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.101, 310.91; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.109, 305.01; 7. Jim Head, Solara, 4.166, 304.74; 8. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 4.167, 293.60; 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.167, 289.76; 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.182, 294.43; 11. Bob Bode, Chevy Impala SS, 4.184, 264.49; 12. Tony Pedregon, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.189, 305.01. Not Qualified: 13. Bob Tasca III, 4.190, 299.26; 14. Cruz Pedregon, 4.231, 301.20; 15. Melanie Troxel, 4.296, 285.95; 16. Jeff Diehl, 4.299, 283.91; 17. Paul Lee, 4.327, 278.58; 18. Terry Haddock, 4.422, 257.09; 19. Jeff Arend, 4.712, 175.02.

Pro Stock — 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.580, 210.47; 2. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cobalt, 6.591, 209.59; 3. Ron Krisher, Cobalt, 6.595, 209.75; 4. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.603, 209.36; 5. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.611, 209.56; 6. Vinnie Deceglie, Avenger, 6.613, 209.23; 7. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.617, 209.30; 8. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.623, 209.62; 9. Steve Spiess, Cobalt, 6.631, 208.26; 10. Jason Line, GXP, 6.640, 209.79; 11. Shane Gray, GXP, 6.642, 208.23; 12. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.644, 209.26. Not Qualified: 13. V. Gaines, 6.647, 207.82; 14. Kurt Johnson, 6.654, 208.71; 15. John Nobile, 6.660, 207.82; 16. Warren Johnson, 6.662, 208.10; 17. Larry Morgan, 6.674, 207.72; 18. Bob Yonke, 6.675, 208.01; 19. Justin Humphreys, 6.678, 207.94; 20. Johnny Gray, 6.681, 208.14; 21. Danny Gruninger, 6.681, 207.18; 22. Gordie Rivera, 6.730, 204.54; 23. Rickie Jones, 8.395, 116.98.

| , RacinToday.com Friday, February 12 2010
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