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Tasca In Control In Bristol Qualifying

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 16 2012

By Info Manager

Still searching for his first pole position of 2012, Bob Tasca III raced to the provisional qualifying lead in Funny Car Friday during the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Tennessee native Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

Tasca powered his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Ford Mustang to the qualifying lead with a 4.063-second pass down the 1,000-foot distance at 310.48 mph during Friday’s second qualifying session. If Tasca holds onto the No. 1 position through Saturday it will be his first pole of the season, second consecutive at Bristol and third of his career.

“I don’t know what it is with Bristol, but I love racing here at Thunder Valley,” Tasca said. “We’ve been looking for that run for the pole here for the last couple of races. Dickie (Venables), Chris (Cunningham), and Marc (Denner) are really working together, getting this car smooth. This thing’s been shaking for the last four or five races, and I couldn’t even see for about 200 feet. When I got back, I said, ‘Fellas, you finally gave me a race car that I can see now, see the groove, and keep the car dead in the center.’ I think it will hold. With the sun out the way it’s going to be (Saturday), I think that .06 is going to be safe for the pole.”

Mike Neff of John Force Racing tuned-and-drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to the second qualifying position Friday evening with a 4.072-second pass at 310.70 mph. Jack Beckman, of Don Schumacher Racing, qualified his Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger in the No. 3 position at 4.077-seconds at 310.12 mph.

Brown set both ends of the Top Fuel track record in his Aaron’s Dragster during his second qualifying attempt Friday under the lights at 3.814-seconds at 323.12 mph. If Brown remains the qualifying leader through Saturday’s sessions it will be his second pole of the season and 31st of his career.

“It was definitely a great way to get the weekend started,” said Brown, of Don Schumacher Racing. “When we came in here, we saw everybody in front of us starting to throw down. Terry McMillen threw that run out there (3.823-seconds at 315.27 mph). Man, he really opened some people’s eyes up and then we saw some big hitters not make it down.

“I saw Mark (Oswald) and Brian (Corradi, crew chiefs) get a little tentative. (Teammate) Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team, they did the same thing. We both just went down there and made some solid runs and we snuck up there into those Nos. 1 and 2 spots. It feels really good. That was a real good pass for us, and hopefully that will bring us some luck going into Sunday because Lord knows it’s been rough on us the last three races. This would be a great race to break back out again, and it feels good to get that run down. It’s definitely an ego booster, a mind booster and a team booster.”

Schumacher earned the No. 2 qualifying spot at 3.822-seconds at 320.66 mph. McMillen powered his Amalie Oil/Wolverine Dragster to the third qualifying position with the aforementioned quickest pass of his career.

In Pro Stock, local favorite Johnson set a track record when he powered his Mopar Dodge Avenger to the qualifying lead with a quarter-mile pass in 6.623-seconds at 207.75 mph. If Johnson holds onto the No. 1 position it will be his third consecutive pole at the event.

“It’s just such a blessing to be back here in Bristol with the fans and our employees who support us and get to see what we enjoy all year,” Johnson said. “The Mopar Dodge Avenger is absolutely hitting on all eight cylinders right now. I didn’t even know that this could be our third time qualifying No. 1 at Bristol or that we set a new track record either. Everything we do here at home is just an awesome experience.”

Vincent Nobile, Johnson’s Dodge teammate, sits third heading into Saturday’s qualifying with his 6.667-second pass at 207.02 mph. Former World Champion Mike Edwards is second via a 6.641-second pass at 207.27 mph in his Pontiac GXP.

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at noon and 2:30 p.m. (EDT). Sunday’s eliminations start at 11 a.m.

Top Fuel points-leader Spencer Massey was informed this week by LaVallee Marketing Series that FRAM/Prestone will not be returning to NHRA Drag Racing as sponsor and marketing partner of Don Schmacher Racing’s dragster after the 2012 season.

The FRAM/Prestone program began with DSR during the 2007 season.

“We have enjoyed a successful relationship with FRAM/Prestone and would like nothing more than to send them off with the NHRA Top Fuel world championship this year,” said Don Schumacher, owner of the organization that fields seven professional race teams in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Massey, of Fort Worth, Texas, is seventh after the opening day of qualifications at Bristol Dragway at 3.844-seconds and 321.58 mph. Massey has won three national events this year in the car tuned by crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler.

Friday’s results after two of four rounds of qualifying for the 12th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers at Bristol Dragway, 10th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel _ 1. Antron Brown, 3.814 seconds, 323.12 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.822, 320.66; 3. Terry McMillen, 3.823, 315.27; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.835, 321.81; 5. Hillary Will, 3.837, 308.35; 6. Steve Torrence, 3.840, 318.02; 7. Spencer Massey, 3.844, 321.58; 8. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 3.855, 315.78; 9. Shawn Langdon, 3.855, 315.12; 10. Clay Millican, 3.870, 314.61; 11. David Grubnic, 3.870, 312.42; 12. Bruce Litton, 3.881, 309.34. Not Qualified _ 13. Cory McClenathan, 3.893, 303.64; 14. Morgan Lucas, 3.900, 303.78; 15. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.907, 313.44; 16. Brandon Bernstein, 3.913, 298.93; 17. Scott Palmer, 3.954, 299.33; 18. Dom Lagana, 3.958, 302.28; 19. Pat Dakin, 4.013, 291.19; 20. Chris Karamesines, 4.173, 245.27; 21. Ike Maier, 4.612, 173.25.

Funny Car _ 1. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.063, 310.48; 2. Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.072, 310.70; 3. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.077, 310.13; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.091, 303.43; 5. John Force, Mustang, 4.094, 312.71; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.096, 307.79; 7. Jeff Arend, Toyota Camry, 4.110, 309.63; 8. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.120, 309.56; 9. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.124, 304.12; 10. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 4.128, 305.49; 11. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.130, 306.26; 12. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.162, 302.08. Not Qualified _ 13. Bob Bode, 4.185, 290.76; 14. Alexis DeJoria, 4.193, 270.48; 15. Blake Alexander, 4.215, 257.92; 16. Tim Wilkerson, 4.257, 293.73; 17. Cruz Pedregon, 4.296, 223.69; 18. Todd Lesenko, 4.299, 282.78.

Pro Stock _ 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.623, 207.75; 2. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.641, 207.27; 3. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.667, 207.02; 4. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.673, 206.01; 5. Jason Line, GXP, 6.678, 206.04; 6. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.678, 204.60; 7. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.680, 206.04; 8. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.680, 205.88; 9. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Avenger, 6.693, 206.16; 10. Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.700, 204.85; 11. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.703, 204.98; 12. Kurt Johnson, GXP, 6.708, 205.16. Not Qualified _13. Erica Enders, 6.720, 203.58; 14. JR Carr, 6.722, 204.08; 15. Shane Gray, 6.725, 203.49; 16. Larry Morgan, 6.726, 204.82; 17. Grace Howell, 6.767, 203.31.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 16 2012
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