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Big Names Shine In Houston

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, April 29 2011

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NHRA superstars Tony Schumacher and John Force claimed the provisional poles in Top Fuel and Funny Car respectively on the opening day of qualifying for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals in Baytown, Texas.

Also fastest in qualifying Friday were Ronnie Humphrey in Pro Stock and L.E. Tonglet in Pro Stock Motorcycles.

Spencer Massey was second fastest in Top Fuel and defending series champion Larry Dixon was third.

In Funny Car, Tim Wilkerson was second fastest while Mike Neff of John Force Racing was third.

Rodger Brogdon was second fastest and Mike Edwards third in Pro Stock.

Behind Tonglet were Karen Stoffer and Andrew Hines.

Force powered his Castrol High Mileage Ford Mustang to a 4.097 second run at 310.27 mph to lead the category. If his performance holds during Saturday’s final two qualifying sessions, Force will earn his third consecutive No. 1 effort of the season and inch closer to Pro Stock great Warren Johnson’s all-time NHRA No. 1 qualifying record of 138.

“I don’t drive Pro Stock so I don’t chase Warren Johnson,” said Force with a grin, who has 136 top qualifying efforts entering this event. “He is one of my heroes and I like having those records out there. I do what I do in Funny Car and that is about it.”

Force, the 15-time world champ, is more concerned with getting his first win of the season and moving up in the Full Throttle point standings.

“I haven’t had a win this year, Robert (Hight) has gotten two in the Auto Club Mustang and (Mike) Neff has one in the Castrol GTX Mustang, but I am excited to be with the young team,” Force said. “Ashley (Force Hood) started with these guys a few years back. (Co-crew chief) Dean Antonelli was taught by (former crew chief) Austin Coil and he is the best. He reminds me so much of his thinking like Austin. Teaming him up with Ron Douglas they just really get the job done. It is a young team but it is my daughter’s hot rod. She (Ashley) always lets me know that.”

Seven-time world champ Schumacher led Top Fuel qualifying with a 3.817 at a track record speed of 323.81 in his U.S. Army dragster. His run was two-hundredths of a second quicker than teammate Spencer Massey’s second-best effort of 3.838 at 319.45 in the Prestone/FRAM dragster.

“That was pretty impressive,” Schumacher said. “I’m really not surprised at how well the car ran. Like I’ve stated for weeks, we’ve had a better car than our numbers have shown.”

The run certainly gives Schumacher, a two-time winner at Royal Purple Raceway, and his U.S. Army team led by crew chief Mike Green going into the weekend.

“We have a car that’s more than capable of winning a bunch of races,” Schumacher said. “We just need for it to run with some consistency and we’ll be more than fine.”

Humphrey was quickest in Pro Stock with a 6.571 at 211.16 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP. If his run holds it would be the first No. 1 of his career, at any level of drag racing.

“I have been around drag racing a long time and this is my first (qualifying lead) in any type of motorsports, so this is a new day for Ronnie Humphrey,” said Humphrey, who took the top spot by virtue of his faster speed over local favorite Rodger Brogdon of nearby Tomball, who ran an identical elapsed time. “Tomorrow’s first session should be a faster session but we’ll see what happens. I am glad day number one is over. We’ll be race ready for round three qualifying.”

Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ LE Tonglet led the two-wheel division with a track-record time of 6.849 at 195.45 on his Nitro Fish Suzuki.

“We were trying to dial in the clutch,” Tonglet said, “and it looks like it’s coming around.  We are excited about it. The track conditions were not as good as you might think, but we were running big numbers out there.”

Results Friday after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 24th annual O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Royal Purple Raceway, fifth of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.817 seconds, 323.81 mph; 2. Spencer Massey, 3.838, 319.45; 3. Larry Dixon, 3.863, 316.60; 4. Brandon Bernstein, 3.872, 316.15; 5. Antron Brown, 3.873, 315.78; 6. T.J. Zizzo, 3.885, 314.90; 7. Morgan Lucas, 3.897, 315.34; 8. Doug Kalitta, 3.899, 314.53; 9. Terry McMillen, 3.913, 313.58; 10. Bob Vandergriff, 3.922, 300.93; 11. Clay Millican, 3.925, 312.35; 12. Steve Torrence, 4.017, 273.77.  Not Qualified: 13. Del Worsham, 4.733, 156.50; 14. Doug Foley, 4.930, 147.36; 15. Scott Palmer, 6.246, 122.16; 16. Shawn Langdon, 6.536, 104.09; 17. David Grubnic, 7.062, 81.22; 18. Troy Buff, 7.526, 77.43.

Funny Car — 1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.097, 310.27; 2. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.108, 305.49; 3. Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.131, 293.66; 4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.139, 295.98; 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.144, 301.13; 6. Paul Lee, Chevy Impala SS, 4.165, 301.13; 7. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.183, 299.86; 8. Jeff Arend, Toyota Solara, 4.203, 297.68; 9. Tony Pedregon, Impala SS, 4.221, 289.69; 10. Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.248, 236.88; 11. Jon Capps, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 4.262, 286.56; 12. Melanie Troxel, Solara, 4.289, 287.66.  Not Qualified: 13. Terry Haddock, 4.290, 290.19; 14. Brian Thiel, 4.291, 290.19; 15. Todd Simpson, 4.402, 273.83; 16. Ron Capps, 5.241, 139.46; 17. Bob Bode, 5.798, 122.09; 18. Jim Head, 5.926, 114.31; 19. Johnny Gray, 6.345, 105.35; 20. Robert Hight, 7.609, 85.39.

Pro Stock — 1. Ronnie Humphrey, Pontiac GXP, 6.571, 211.16; 2. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.571, 210.93; 3. Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.577, 210.67; 4. Jason Line, GXP, 6.579, 210.47; 5. Vincent Nobile, Dodge Avenger, 6.584, 211.10; 6. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.585, 209.95; 7. Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.591, 211.06; 8. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.592, 210.54; 9. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.597, 209.82; 10. Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.599, 209.88; 11. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.617, 210.21; 12. Kurt Johnson, GXP, 6.619, 209.46.  Not Qualified: 13. Shane Gray, 6.622, 208.78; 14. Warren Johnson, 6.630, 209.88; 15. Steve Kent, 6.640, 209.20; 16. Mark Buehring, 6.832, 202.61; 17. Dave River, 6.938, 199.94; 18. V. Gaines, 11.375, 78.49.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.849, 195.45; 2. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.868, 195.39; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.901, 195.99; 4. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.903, 193.82; 5. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.904, 197.39; 6. Gerald Savoie, Suzuki, 6.914, 189.84; 7. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.919, 191.13; 8. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.921, 196.33; 9. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.939, 193.27; 10. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.939, 190.70; 11. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.947, 190.16; 12. David Hope, Buell, 6.970, 190.81.  Not Qualified: 13. Hector Arana Jr, 6.980, 189.26; 14. Angie Smith, 7.005, 190.00; 15. Mike Berry, 7.027, 188.54; 16. Chip Ellis, 7.033, 190.78; 17. Redell Harris, 7.060, 190.16; 18. Justin Finley, 7.070, 191.57; 19. GT Tonglet, 7.080, 191.10; 20. Katie Sullivan, 7.088, 186.90; 21. Junior Pippin, 7.090, 190.27; 22. Bailey Whitaker, 7.107, 185.05; 23. Steve Johnson, 7.111, 192.47; 24. James Surber, 7.153, 188.94; 25. Dawn Minturn, 7.161, 188.31; 26. Joe DeSantis, 7.254, 184.40.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, April 29 2011
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