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Kalitta Paces Top Fuel In Phoenix

| , RacinToday.com Friday, February 19 2010


nhra_plain_oval_4cDoug Kalitta, Matt Hagan, and Mike Edwards were the low on Friday at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int’l Raceway outside of Phoenix.

Winternationals runner-up Kalitta grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot from the man who beat him in Pomona, event champ Larry Dixon, who led after the first session, supplanting Dixon’s 3.837 with a 3.825 to take the No. 1 spot.

World champ Tony Schumacher also slid past Dixon, posting a 3.827 with his U.S. Army dragster to take the No. 2 spot. Dixon tried to fire back in the night’s final run, but the Al-Anabi dragster went up in smoke at the green and settled for third with his earlier run.

Cory McClenathan’s Fram dragster checked in fourth with a 3.841 and is followed on the grid by Shawn Langdon’s Lucas Oil entry (3.870), Steve Torrence in Dexter Tuttle’s Simple Mobile dragster (3.871), and Antron Brown’s Matco Tools machine (3.884). Brandon Bernstein rounds out the top eight with his Copart/Lucas Oil dragster at 3.904.

Legendary racer Chris Karamesines, 81, held down the 12th and final time that will transfer into Saturday’s qualifying with a 4.098.

Hagan grabbed the top spot in the first session with his a 4.135 from his new DieHard/DSR Dodge, lost its in the second session, but pulled to the line at end of the session and promptly took it back with a 4.068, going from fourth to first in a heartbeat.

“I think it’s definitely safe to say that we have pretty fast race car after being No. 1 in both sessions,” said Hagan. “To have DieHard on the car makes it even sweeter. To go out there and be able to run for that company like that and get them the pole is huge. I think we’ve got a good baseline on everything and hopefully it doesn’t rain tomorrow, but if it does we’ll be ready for Sunday.

“I think Tommy [DeLago, crew chief] took into consideration that we were already in the field and decided to go out there and see what the track would hold, so having run that .13 was definitely beneficial. Both lanes feel great. There’s a little bump in the right lane that you have to watch out for, but other than that it’s a real nice racetrack.” 

Hagan’s blast took the top position away from Winternationals champ John Force, who had clocked a 4.074 two pairs earlier to take the pole from his daughter, Ashley Force Hood, who had zipped to a 4.119 in the pair just before that. Hagan’s 311.34-mph speed on the pass is a new track record.

Ron Capps sits fourth with a 4.120 from his NAPA Auto Parts charger while reigning word champ Robert Hight is fifth with the Auto Club Ford with a 4.139 that started the session in the No. 2 spot began Hagan. Behind them are the Toyotas of Jeff Arend (4.150) and Del Worsham (4.153). Bob Tasca III’s Mustang rounds out the top eight with a 4.160

Former world champ Tony Pedregon rides in the No. 12 spot with his NitroFish Chevy after clocking a 4.211. Seventeen Funny Cars made runs Friday.

Edwards is now a perfect six-for-six in leading Pro Stock qualifying sessions in 2010. The reigning Full Throttle champ was the quickest in four qualifying round sin Pomona and again was so in Friday’s two sessions here, clocking an opening 6.609 and following it in the afternoon with a 6.614 to keep his Penhall/Interstate/K&N Pontiac atop the field. Edwards has been the low qualifier at the last 11 events back to mid-2009. An 11th consecutive No. 1 qualifying position would tie Greg Anderson’s 2003-’04 streak that ranks third all-time in the Pro Stock annals (Bob Glidden’s 23-race steak is the high-mark, followed by another 15-race streak by Glidden).

“Eleven in a row would be pretty awesome,” said Edwards. “Those are Greg Anderson stats right there. It’s so hard to do that considering that we race in all kinds of conditions from 4,000 feet to sea level.

“I try to get every inch of the track I can get. The 60 foot numbers are as important as the numbers downtrack. Finding the right setup comes from making a lot of laps, just like any of the other racers will tell you. Hats off to my whole team.”

Engine customer Ron Krisher is right on Edwards’ heels with a 6.627 best from his Valvoline Cobalt, a run also clocked in the day’s first session. Behind him is the fast-improving Dodge Avenger of Allen Johnson, which ran a 6.635 for third; Johnson’s subsequent 6.647 was the second best run of the second session. Defending event champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. sits fourth in the JEGS.com Cobalt with a 6.64.

Greg Anderson (6.652), Greg Stanfield (6.660), Rickie Jones (6.660), and the Lucas Oil Mustang of Larry Morgan (6.663) round out the top eight. Jason Line sits in the 12th and final transfer spot with a 6.670.

Results Friday after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 26th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway, second of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.825 seconds, 317.05 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.827, 316.60; 3. Larry Dixon, 3.837, 317.57; 4. Cory McClenathan, 3.841, 310.63; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.870, 315.12; 6. Steve Torrence, 3.871, 306.81; 7. Antron Brown, 3.884, 309.91; 8. Brandon Bernstein, 3.904, 312.57; 9. Mike Strasburg, 3.975, 301.60; 10. Morgan Lucas, 3.984, 274.66; 11. Terry McMillen, 4.076, 226.77; 12. Chris Karamesines, 4.098, 261.12. Not Qualified: 13. Steven Chrisman, 4.107, 285.23; 14. David Grubnic, 4.309, 215.20; 15. Troy Buff, 7.435, 104.07.

Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.068, 311.34; 2. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.074, 304.67; 3. Ashley Force Hood, Mustang, 4.119, 298.40; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.120, 305.22; 5. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.139, 302.62; 6. Jeff Arend, Toyota Solara, 4.150, 303.37; 7. Del Worsham, Solara, 4.153, 284.75; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.160, 301.20; 9. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 4.178, 290.69; 10. Melanie Troxel, Charger, 4.187, 285.77; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.200, 298.67; 12. Tony Pedregon, Impala, 4.211, 303.23. Not Qualified: 13. Cruz Pedregon, 4.271, 286.44; 14. Jeff Diehl, 4.313, 276.52; 15. Jack Beckman, 4.747, 284.51; 16. Jim Head, 6.815, 94.13; 17. Paul Lee, 12.199, 31.51.

Pro Stock — 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.609, 209.46; 2. Ron Krisher, Chevy Cobalt, 6.627, 208.07; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.635, 208.88; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Cobalt, 6.641, 208.94; 5. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.652, 208.07; 6. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.660, 208.17; 7. Rickie Jones, GXP, 6.660, 206.57; 8. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.663, 207.53; 9. Bob Yonke, GXP, 6.666, 207.88; 10. Vinnie Deceglie, Avenger, 6.666, 207.21; 11. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.667, 208.20; 12. Jason Line, GXP, 6.670, 208.14. Not Qualified: 13. V. Gaines, 6.670, 206.39; 14. Rodger Brogdon, 6.671, 207.75; 15. Kurt Johnson, 6.680, 207.85; 16. Shane Gray, 6.681, 207.11; 17. Justin Humphreys, 6.684, 206.99; 18. Johnny Gray, 6.701, 206.29; 19. Steve Spiess, 6.704, 206.16; 20. Danny Gruninger, 6.744, 205.69; 21. John Nobile, 6.764, 191.10; 22. Warren Johnson, 7.432, 156.64; 23. Gordie Rivera, broke.

| , RacinToday.com Friday, February 19 2010
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