Field For Final Show Of Big Go Set In Indy

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 5 2010

Matt Hagan held on to win No. 1 qualifying honors in Funny Car at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series)

The field for the final eliminations for drag racing’s biggest event – the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil – were set Sunday at O’Reilly Raceway Park in the Indianapolis suburb of Clermont, Ind.

Defending world champion Mike Edwards raced to the No. 1 qualifying spot in Pro Stock.

Also winning poles were Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

The finals for the Nationals – which this year are the first event of the six-race playoff known as the Countdown to 1 – are scheduled to begin Monday at 11 a.m.

Edwards powered his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to a track record time of 6.579 seconds at 209.26 mph to take his 12th top qualifying position of the season, 34th of his career and second at historic O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Edwards, who edged out three drivers including Saturday’s low qualifier Jeg Coughlin for the top spot, will face Justin Humphreys in the opening round.

“There’s a lot of fast cars that are bunched up together (at the top of the qualifying order), and I feel that we were very fortunate that Allen Johnson had to run in the first pair this morning,” said Edwards. “If it hadn’t been for that, you probably would have been talking to him instead of me as the No. 1 qualifier. There is more pressure because this is the first race of the Countdown. It’s hard to get there for your first championship and it’s even more difficult to defend it. I’m trying to take some of the pressure off of myself by talking with my wife a lot. You just try to have fun. Bob Glidden (the 10-time former Pro Stock champion) came over this morning and told me to just ‘quit thinking and do it.’ ”

Johnson was second in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger with a 6.580 at a track record speed of 210.28, while Jason Line was third, also posting a 6.580 at 209.95. Coughlin will start fourth in his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt with his 6.580 at 209.39.

In Top Fuel, Dixon’s track record time of 3.776 at 324.36 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster from Saturday stood as the quickest of the weekend, giving the three-time Indy winner his sixth No. 1 effort of the season, 46th of his career and third at this event. He will face Bruce Litton in the opening round.

“The championship is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but the champion will be determined in two months; the only thing we can decide tomorrow is who wins Indy,” said Dixon.

Cory McClenathan will start second with his 3.784 at 323.66 and eight-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner Tony Schumacher will try to tie Glidden’s nine-win record here when he faces Terry Haddock in the opening round.

Hagan claimed his third top qualifying position of the season and fifth of his career with a track record time of 4.039 at 299.86 in his DieHard Dodge Charger. He will face Tony Pedregon in the first round.

“It feels great to come out here and qualify No. 1,” said Hagan, who qualified No. 16 here in 2008 and No. 15 last year. “I remember back when I was racing the IHRA and we’d come over here and qualify 16 and that would feel like we won the race. To go from that and in two years qualify No. 1 here is a huge step in the right direction for my career and for our whole program out here. I owe it all to (crew chief) Tommy DeLago. This guy, he gets smarter every day. I just don’t know how he puts it all together up there, but he does. The track’s been great. We owe a lot to the track being great and being able to run those kind of numbers out here. The weather just kind of worked out in our favor. It was warmer today, and that plays into tomorrow. It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow if the weather man’s right, but who knows.”

Ron Capps qualified second in his NAPA Charger with a 4.049 at 309.77 and two-time Indy winner and defending world champ Robert Hight qualified third in his Auto Club Ford Mustang with a 4.055 at 310.98.

Hines led all five Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying sessions on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson and earned his second No. 1 of the season and 28th of his career with his national record run of 6.185 seconds at a track record speed of 196.76 mph. Hines will face Wesley Wells in the first round as the three-time world champ tries to win at Indy for the first time in his career.

“I don’t know if I got 15 points in the whole Countdown last year,” said a smiling Hines, who claimed three points for each of the five qualifying sessions he led this weekend. “It’s great to take every point on the table because it came down to a couple of ‘little points’ last year for Eddie (Krawiec, teammate). I love this track. We live just two miles from the track and our shop is two miles the other direction, so we’ve tested a lot here in the past. I’ve probably made more passes here than any other Pro Stock Motorcycle rider. I probably make 60 or 70 runs a year out here so I know how to get down the track. This is definitely the best chance in my career to win the U.S. Nationals.”

Auto Club Road to the Future candidate LE Tonglet qualified second in the two-wheel category with a career-best run of 6.847 at 195.05 on a Suzuki, while Hines’ teammate Krawiec was third with a 6.867 at 195.25 on his Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod.

First-round pairings for professional eliminations Monday for the 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the 18th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the first of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Sunday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Larry Dixon, 3.776 seconds, 324.36 mph vs. 16. Bruce Litton, 4.194, 304.25; 2. Cory McClenathan, 3.784, 323.66 vs. 15. Terry McMillen, 4.014, 293.41; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.790, 324.83 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, 4.011, 285.29; 4. Brandon Bernstein, 3.802, 317.87 vs. 13. Bob Vandergriff, 3.951, 309.42; 5. Antron Brown, 3.808, 319.22 vs. 12. Shawn Langdon, 3.914, 311.85; 6. David Grubnic, 3.823, 315.78 vs. 11. Morgan Lucas, 3.888, 315.19; 7. Doug Kalitta, 3.824, 319.52 vs. 10. T.J. Zizzo, 3.851, 311.56; 8. Steve Torrence, 3.830, 313.22 vs. 9. Rod Fuller, 3.840, 318.17. Did Not Qualify: 17. Troy Buff, 4.334, 233.08; 18. Chris Karamesines, 4.393, 310.63; 19. Luigi Novelli, 4.527, 201.58; 20. Pat Dakin, 5.034, 284.93.

Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.039, 301.07 vs. 16. Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala SS, 4.151, 297.48; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.049, 309.77 vs. 15. Melanie Troxel, Charger, 4.146, 303.64; 3. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.055, 310.98 vs. 14. Paul Lee, Impala SS, 4.120, 300.20; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Solara, 4.057, 311.34 vs. 13. Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.110, 307.02; 5. John Force, Mustang, 4.058, 312.86 vs. 12. Bob Bode, Impala SS, 4.109, 298.21; 6. Ashley Force Hood, Mustang, 4.059, 310.98 vs. 11. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.106, 308.28; 7. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.076, 303.16 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.104, 299.26; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.086, 306.33 vs. 9. Jim Head, Solara, 4.095, 296.96. Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Diehl, 4.249, 294.37; 18. John Smith, 4.297, 299.20; 19. Brian Thiel, 4.328, 289.07; 20. Justin Schriefer, 4.337, 259.66.

Pro Stock — 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.579, 209.26 vs. 16. Justin Humphreys, GXP, 6.631, 207.34; 2. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.580, 210.28 vs. 15. Steve Spiess, Chevy Cobalt, 6.627, 208.14; 3. Jason Line, GXP, 6.580, 209.95 vs. 14. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.622, 208.75; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Cobalt, 6.580, 209.39 vs. 13. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.621, 208.10; 5. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.584, 209.56 vs. 12. Kurt Johnson, GXP, 6.618, 207.88; 6. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.584, 209.14 vs. 11. Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.608, 209.17; 7. Ron Krisher, Cobalt, 6.586, 209.65 vs. 10. Shane Gray, GXP, 6.606, 208.68; 8. Johnny Gray, GXP, 6.590, 209.01 vs. 9. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.602, 209.62. Did Not Qualify: 17. Richie Stevens, 6.632, 208.68; 18. Bob Yonke, 6.632, 208.14; 19. Rickie Jones, 6.632, 207.85; 20. Bob Benza, 6.633, 207.59; 21. Vinnie Deceglie, 6.649, 207.82; 22. Vincent Nobile, 6.668, 206.35; 23. Erica Enders, 6.673, 207.62; 24. Bob Glidden, 6.703, 206.10; 25. Steve Schmidt, 6.704, 206.29; 26. Mark Martino, 6.722, 205.76; 27. Larry Morgan, 6.722, 208.17; 28. Kevin Lawrence, 6.789, 203.06; 29. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.836, 200.62; 30. Mark Hogan, 6.845, 204.32; 31. Dave River, broke.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.815, 196.76 vs. 16. Wesley Wells, Suzuki, 7.054, 191.24; 2. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.847, 195.05 vs. 15. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.041, 187.91; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.867, 195.25 vs. 14. Douglas Horne, Buell, 7.016, 187.76; 4. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.874, 192.91 vs. 13. Redell Harris, Buell, 6.999, 191.67; 5. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.919, 196.39 vs. 12. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.996, 191.29; 6. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.938, 192.03 vs. 11. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.976, 190.43; 7. Chip Ellis, Suzuki, 6.939, 193.57 vs. 10. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 6.962, 191.57; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.946, 192.44 vs. 9. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.957, 192.17. Did Not Qualify: 17. David Hope, 7.054, 186.95; 18. Junior Pippin, 7.059, 188.44; 19. Angie Smith, 7.096, 188.04; 20. Mike Berry, 7.159, 185.92; 21. Katie Sullivan, 7.218, 183.39.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 5 2010
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