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Force Secures Funny Car Pole, In Atlanta

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 14 2011

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John Force tied NHRA Pro Stock Legend Warren Johnson for the most No. 1 qualifiers in NHRA history as qualifying came to an end Saturday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

Spencer Massey, Mike Edwards and LE Tonglet also earned the top spots in their respective categories at the sixth of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Force tied Johnson at 138 No. 1 qualifiers after his impressive run Friday night of 4.072-seconds at 310.98 mph was strong enough to keep his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang in the top spot in Funny Car. It was also Force’s fourth consecutive No. 1 qualifier for the season.

“I’ve got a good race car,” said Force. “Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas made that happen. Warren Johnson is the Babe Ruth of Pro Stock, and I’ve tied him. I’ve never raced him, but that’s pretty cool.”

Force will face Tim Wilkerson in the first round of eliminations, while defending winner and Force’s teammate, Robert Hight, will match-up against Cruz Pedregon in the first round.

In Top Fuel, Massey’s Friday night run in his Prestone/FRAM dragster of 3.825-seconds at 323.19 mph was strong enough to give him his second No. 1 qualifier of his career in the exact place where he earned his first in 2009.

“Two years ago when I raced here, I qualified No. 1, got to the final round and couldn’t seal the deal,” said Massey. “I’d like to make it back to the final round and seal the deal this time. It’s just an honor to be back out here racing again. Last year sitting out the whole year and then to be back this season with such a great team as Don Schumacher Racing is really an honor.”

Massey will face Pat Dakin in the first round of eliminations Sunday. Top Fuel points leader Del Worsham will face off against Shawn Langdon, while defending event winner Larry Dixon will face Winternationals winner Morgan Lucas.

Edwards held on to the top spot in Pro Stock with his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP. His Friday night run of 6.605 at 208.55 was strong enough to give Edwards his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 36th of his career.

“It’s going to be a lot of thinking and adjusting tomorrow because conditions are going to be very, very different,” said Edwards, referring to the cooler temperatures forecasted for Commerce, Ga. on Sunday. “That’s what makes these engines run really well and make more power. Conditions will definitely be good for Pro Stock racing.”

Tonglet took the top spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the final round of qualifying Saturday. Tonglet rode his Nitro Fish Suzuki to a 6.904 at 192.93 run en route to his second consecutive No. 1 qualifier of the season.

“After that run I was coasting and everyone was saying No. 1 off to the side and I was thinking it was Andrew (Hines),” said Tonglet, who was paired up with Hines during the final qualifying run. “I didn’t expect us to get two No. 1’s in a row. After I took my helmet off, it just kind of hit me that we have a really fast bike.”

Sunday’s first-round pairings for professional eliminations for the 31st annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, the sixth of 22 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. Spencer Massey, 3.825 seconds, 323.19 mph vs. 16. Pat Dakin, 4.012, 279.73; 2. Del Worsham, 3.828, 320.05 vs. 15. Shawn Langdon, 3.996, 291.89; 3. Brandon Bernstein, 3.846, 314.46 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 3.965, 304.46; 4. Larry Dixon, 3.869, 315.78 vs. 13. Morgan Lucas, 3.960, 299.93; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.892, 315.64 vs. 12. Ike Maier, 3.931, 307.44; 6. Clay Millican, 3.894, 308.64 vs. 11. Bob Vandergriff, 3.927, 309.77; 7. Antron Brown, 3.906, 313.15 vs. 10. David Grubnic, 3.919, 311.20; 8. Doug Kalitta, 3.914, 314.75 vs. 9. Doug Foley, 3.918, 307.44.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Chris Karamesines, 4.050, 284.03; 18. Scott Palmer, 4.096, 290.19; 19. Terry Sainty, 4.108, 297.48; 20. Steve Torrence, 4.295, 270.70; 21. Fred Farndon, 5.168, 286.25.

Funny Car — 1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.072, 310.98 vs. 16. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.326, 276.18; 2. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.074, 308.57 vs. 15. Johnny Gray, Dodge Charger, 4.244, 290.32; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.109, 303.71 vs. 14. Paul Lee, Chevy Impala SS, 4.193, 299.26; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Solara, 4.111, 305.77 vs. 13. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.172, 302.62; 5. Jim Head, Solara, 4.113, 306.26 vs. 12. Tony Pedregon, Impala SS, 4.169, 301.74; 6. Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.122, 306.19 vs. 11. Jon Capps, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 4.166, 291.19; 7. Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.132, 304.87 vs. 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.166, 303.91; 8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.135,

307.65 vs. 9. Melanie Troxel, Solara, 4.148, 305.15.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Brian Thiel, 4.646, 296.96.

Pro Stock — 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.605, 208.55 vs. 16. Robert Patrick, Ford Mustang, 6.700, 205.60; 2. Jason Line, GXP, 6.608, 208.84 vs. 15. Shane Gray, GXP, 6.670, 206.48; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.611, 208.78 vs. 14. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.661, 206.51; 4. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.618, 207.72 vs. 13. Larry Morgan, Mustang, 6.659, 207.21; 5. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.626, 207.62 vs. 12. Warren Johnson, Chevy Cobalt, 6.658, 207.40; 6. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.631, 208.14 vs. 11. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.655, 207.27; 7. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.634,

208.39 vs. 10. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.655, 207.62; 8. Erica Enders, Cobalt, 6.637, 208.01 vs. 9. Steve Kent, GXP, 6.649, 207.05.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Kurt Johnson, 6.704, 206.61; 18. Mark Martino, 6.714, 205.91; 19. Buddy Perkinson, 6.728, 205.13; 20. Steve Spiess, 8.236, 204.20.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.904, 192.93 vs. 16. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.016, 186.67; 2. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.929, 194.16 vs. 15. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.009, 190.19; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.933, 193.18 vs. 14. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.003, 191.32; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 193.99 vs. 13. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.994, 187.03; 5. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.948, 192.41 vs. 12. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.983, 192.22; 6. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.948, 191.70 vs. 11. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.975, 191.40; 7. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.949, 195.34 vs. 10. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.970, 191.29; 8. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.961, 190.48 vs. 9. Gerald Savoie, Suzuki, 6.965, 191.08.

Did Not Qualify: 17. David Hope, 7.039, 189.34; 18. Justin Finley, 7.073, 190.75; 19. GT Tonglet, 7.084, 188.41; 20. Redell Harris, 7.093, 189.87; 21. Junior Pippin, 7.130, 186.79; 22. Joe DeSantis, 7.150, 185.05; 23. James Surber, 7.159, 187.31; 24. Odolph Daniels, 7.575, 174.44.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 14 2011
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