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Finals Field Set In Atlanta

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 15 2010

Ashley Force Hood earned her first No. 1 qualifying spot of the season on Satuday. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series)

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Larry Dixon, Ashley Force Hood, Allen Johnson and Hector Arana will enter Sunday eliminations at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway as top seeds in their respective divisions.

Dixon’s Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel dragster was the quickest in each of four qualifying sessions and as a result the series points leader claimed his second No. 1 position of the season and 42nd of his career with a performance of 3.822 seconds at 316.08 mph Saturday. The three-time Atlanta Dragway winner will face No. 16 qualifier Steve Torrence in the first round.

“We got down both sessions, so hopefully we have the same conditions tomorrow because that’s what we’re set up for,” said Dixon, who collected 12 bonus points in qualifying to bolster his lead. “This is the first time we’ve been low every session since I’ve (been with the Al-Anabi team), and with the bonus points for qualifying, that adds up fast when you can do that.”

Doug Kalitta was second in his Kalitta Air dragster with a 3.849 at 318.09 and Brandon Bernstein’s Copart/Lucas Oil dragster improved to third, posting a 3.913 at 312.21.

Force Hood took her first No. 1 position of the season in Funny Car with a 4.104 at 304.60 in her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. It was the 10th No. 1 of her career, and second consecutive top spot at this race. The 2008 winner of this event and runner-up here last year, Force Hood will try to secure her first win of the season when she meets Jeff Diehl in the opening round.

“This is definitely one track where we’ve done well for whatever reason,” Force Hood said. “It’s a tricky track, so it’s surprising that this is somewhere we’ve had a lot of success, but my tuners, Ron (Douglas) and Guido (Dean Antonelli) have it figured out and we do well here even when we struggle. We gained a few points. We haven’t run that great, but it was good enough to stay first.”

Defending world champ and Force Hood teammate Robert Hight was second in his Auto Club Ford Mustang with a 4.124 at 305.98. Ron Capps was third with a 4.147 at 303.71 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger.

In Pro Stock, Johnson claimed his first No. 1 position of the season and eighth of his career with a 6.634 at 208.23 in his Team Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Avenger.

“The track was really hot and the air conditions were worse,” said Johnson, who will face St. Louis winner Warren Johnson in the first round.  “We sort of tested it that last run in case the track conditions get that hot again tomorrow. It didn’t like what we did, so we definitely learned not to go there.”

Series points leader Mike Edwards had the two quickest Pro Stock runs of the day but wasn’t quick enough to move around Johnson’s quick time from Friday. He holds down the second position with a 6.641 at 208.07 in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP.

“We’re still right there with (Mike), but he’s still bad to the bone so we have to do our job and be perfect,” Johnson said. “If we both do our jobs tomorrow, it will come down to me and him in the final, and then it will be down to lane choice and who can get his foot off the clutch first.”

Arana raced to the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.913 at 193.96 on his Lucas Oil Buell and bumped Friday leader Matt Smith to fourth overall. It is Arana’s third No. 1 of the season and 12th of his career. Arana will face Wesley Wells in the first round.

“That was amazing,” Arana said. “I knew I could run those numbers if I could leave the starting line. The bike felt smooth and when it was still carrying the front wheel in second gear I knew I was on a good run. We were just hoping to stay consistent. I knew I had a little more, but the .91 surprised me. I’ll take it.”

David Hope was second on his Mohegan Sun Buell with a 6.924 at 192.19 and Andrew Hines was third on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson with a 6.938 at 191.92.

First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the 30th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, the eighth of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Larry Dixon, 3.822 seconds, 316.08 mph vs. 16. Steve Torrence, 4.395, 266.11; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.849, 318.09 vs. 15. Terry Haddock, 4.227, 274.55; 3. Brandon Bernstein, 3.913, 312.21 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 4.151, 287.66; 4. Cory McClenathan, 3.924, 308.35 vs. 13. Shawn Langdon, 4.021, 304.25; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.927, 310.41 vs. 12. Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.011, 302.82; 6. Antron Brown, 3.940, 304.39 vs. 11. Pat Dakin, 4.008, 298.80; 7. Morgan Lucas, 3.960, 303.03 vs. 10. David Grubnic, 4.007, 305.70; 8. Bob Vandergriff, 3.961, 289.45 vs. 9. T.J. Zizzo, 3.980, 296.31.

Funny Car — 1. Ashley Force Hood, Ford Mustang, 4.104, 304.60 vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.523, 241.84; 2. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.124, 305.98 vs. 15. Melanie Troxel, Dodge Charger, 4.318, 294.56; 3. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.147, 303.71 vs. 14. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 4.290, 291.95; 4. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.151, 299.73 vs. 13. Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.274, 290.44; 5. Del Worsham, Solara, 4.153, 302.75 vs. 12. Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala, 4.255, 289.01; 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.168, 297.35 vs. 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.248, 293.03; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.210, 297.35 vs. 10. Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.242, 287.35; 8. Bob Bode, Chevy Impala SS, 4.217, 296.63 vs. 9. John Force, Mustang, 4.229, 291.45. Did Not Qualify: 17. Paul Lee, 4.623, 285.71.

Pro Stock — 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.634, 208.23 vs. 16. Warren Johnson, Pontiac GXP, 6.696, 206.92; 2. Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.641, 208.07 vs. 15. Rickie Jones, GXP, 6.686, 206.16; 3. Johnny Gray, GXP, 6.652, 207.34 vs. 14. Bob Yonke, GXP, 6.684, 206.39; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cobalt, 6.659, 207.88 vs. 13. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.684, 206.39; 5. Ron Krisher, Cobalt, 6.659, 207.08 vs. 12. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.682, 206.45; 6. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.659, 206.73 vs. 11. Jason Line, GXP, 6.674, 206.70; 7. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.667, 207.08 vs. 10. Steve Spiess, Cobalt, 6.672, 206.32; 8. Kurt Johnson, Cobalt, 6.669, 206.64 vs. 9. Shane Gray, GXP, 6.672, 206.70. Did Not Qualify: 17. Danny Gruninger, 6.700, 205.22; 18. Rodger Brogdon, 6.701, 206.80; 19. Erica Enders, 6.708, 206.20; 20. Larry Morgan, 6.733, 204.88; 21. Jimmy Alund, 6.736, 205.76; 22. John Nobile, 6.759, 205.26; 23. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.896, 199.91.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.913, 193.96 vs. 16. Wesley Wells, Suzuki, 7.174, 186.67; 2. David Hope, Buell, 6.924, 192.19 vs. 15. Gary Moreno, Buell, 7.148, 185.51; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.938, 191.92 vs. 14. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.137, 187.34; 4. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.940, 191.87 vs. 13. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.056, 190.38; 5. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.972, 190.38 vs. 12. Angie Smith, Buell, 7.040, 187.36; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.976, 192.41 vs. 11. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.017, 190.35; 7. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.977, 194.24 vs. 10. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.008, 190.57; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.993, 192.00 vs. 9. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.998, 190.48. Did Not Qualify: 17. Darin McCurdy, 7.186, 185.18; 18. James Surber, 7.213, 186.02; 19. Joe DeSantis, 7.371, 183.00; 20. Junior Pippin, broke.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 15 2010
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