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Cruz Pedregon Early Funny Car Leader In N.C.

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 14 2013

Cruz Pedregon blew out to the lead in Concord. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – Cool temperatures in a night qualifying session for the Carlyle Carolina Nationals resulted in one track record being set and another being equaled as the Mello Yello NHRA Countdown to the Championship began Friday at zMAX Dragway.

Cruz Pedregon’s elapsed time of 3.980 seconds was not only a track record, it was the second quickest ever in NHRA Funny Car history. The old record of 3.995 seconds was set by Matt Hagan in September 2011. Ron Capps possesses the distinction of having the quickest elapsed time ever in a Funny Car – 3.964 seconds at Englishtown, N.J., last year.

“I think what you saw there was everything coming together for our team,” Pedregon said. “I knew it was there. I was just hoping it would come now and not Pomona last qualifying run. Obviously, with the points and all the implications in the first race of the Countdown, the timing was just perfect, so was the weather and the track.”

Track conditions are expected to be cooler Saturday will qualifying resumes and Pedregon says he will try to back up his run in an effort to claim the national record. Jack Beckman set the national record last October at Reading, Pa., with an ET of 3.986 seconds.

In the Top Fuel category, Morgan Lucas used a new car to equal the track record of 3.749 seconds held by Tony Schumacher and corral the No. 1 position after two rounds of qualifying.

“It’s nice to have something that came out of our shop run like that, but to be honest with you we didn’t know what to expect,” Lucas said. “We just knew the car fit more what we needed. We hadn’t had a brand new car in a few years, so it was a good time for it.

“We struggled at the beginning of the year. We knew we had to race smarter. We’re just really fortunate.”

Jason Line led Pro Stock after two qualifying rounds with an ET of 6.541 seconds. He also had top speed at 211.86 mph.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith was quickest at 6.874 seconds and had the top speed — 194.63 mph.

Keeping pace with Pedregon is the No. 1 seed in the Countdown, Matt Hagan. He is currently qualified second with a pass of 3.992 at 320.58 in his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger.

Line, who lives in nearby Mooresville, N.C., led Pro Stock qualifying with a run of 6.541 at 211.86 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. Line has yet to record a No. 1 position this season and has 33 in his career. His two solid qualifying efforts on Friday earned him five valuable bonus points towards a third Pro Stock world championship title.

“If you don’t [go after qualifying points] you will have no chance of winning,” Line said. “Somebody is going to get them so it might as well be me. We’ve got a good hot rod this weekend and we haven’t had one for a while.”

The points leader in Pro Stock, Mike Edwards is qualified third in the competitive field with a run of 6.546 at 210.44 in his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro.

Another local favorite, Smith, from nearby King N.C., led Pro Stock Motorcycle with an effort of 6.874 at 192.90 on his Viper Motorcycle Company Racing Buell. Smith has three No. 1 qualifying positions this year and is second in Pro Stock Motorcycle points.

“We’re a round-and-a-half behind [Hector Arana] Jr. and we made a decision to put my good motor in to start this deal,” Smith said. “I thought that maybe I could gain 10 points from qualifying this weekend and close that half a round down just in qualifying. We’ve done everything right so far.”

Bike top seed Arana, Jr. qualified 12th on his Lucas Oil Buell.

Qualifying continues for the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts, Saturday at 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Eliminations begin Sunday at noon.

Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the Sixth annual Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts at zMax Dragway, 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Morgan Lucas, 3.749 seconds, 324.51 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.766, 321.19; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.768, 327.27; 4. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.779, 325.53; 5. Steve Torrence, 3.787, 327.59; 6. Clay Millican, 3.789, 324.59; 7. Spencer Massey, 3.796, 320.58; 8. Brittany Force, 3.812, 307.37; 9. Billy Torrence, 3.822, 319.67; 10. David Grubnic, 3.827, 321.96; 11. Brandon Bernstein, 3.830, 320.05; 12. Bob Vandergriff, 3.838, 322.73. Not Qualified: 13. Pat Dakin, 3.838, 309.56; 14. Antron Brown, 3.847, 317.72; 15. Terry McMillen, 3.851, 320.74; 16. Chris Karamesines, 3.961, 297.88; 17. Leah Pruett, 4.003, 303.16; 18. Doug Kalitta, 4.142, 206.39.

Funny Car — 1. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.980, 319.22; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.992, 320.58; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.020, 318.99; 4. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.021, 319.37; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.027, 310.70; 6. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.034, 317.72; 7. John Force, Mustang, 4.038, 317.94; 8. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.042, 309.84; 9. Chad Head, Camry, 4.090, 305.91; 10. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.093, 308.14; 11. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.099, 309.91; 12. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.113, 302.41. Not Qualified: 13. Jeff Arend, 4.122, 307.16; 14. Ron Capps, 4.191, 257.92; 15. Tony Pedregon, 5.357, 123.00.

Pro Stock — 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.541, 211.86; 2. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.546, 211.06; 3. Mike Edwards, Camaro, 6.546, 210.77; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Avenger, 6.552, 210.31; 5. Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.555, 211.06; 6. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.556, 210.44; 7. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.557, 211.20; 8. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.584, 209.69; 9. Buddy Perkinson, Camaro, 6.585, 211.10; 10. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.586, 209.85; 11. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.592, 209.26; 12. Kurt Johnson, Pontiac GXP, 6.621, 209.10. Not Qualified: 13. Warren Johnson, 6.626, 209.46; 14. Steve Kent, 6.631, 208.94; 15. Greg Stanfield, 6.650, 206.95; 16. Rodger Brogdon, 6.657, 209.10; 17. Paul Pittman, 6.701, 206.29; 18. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.890, 199.70.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.874, 194.63; 2. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.882, 194.58; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.893, 193.35; 4. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.898, 193.96; 5. John Hall, Buell, 6.898, 190.94; 6. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.926, 191.02; 7. Adam Arana, Buell, 6.932, 191.89; 8. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.955, 187.83; 9. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.974, 190.94; 10. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.977, 190.70; 11. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.980, 191.40; 12. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.982, 192.85. Not Qualified: 13. LE Tonglet, 6.988, 190.97; 14. Jerry Savoie, 7.008, 178.21; 15. Steve Johnson, 7.032, 185.66; 16. Jim Underdahl, 7.044, 191.95; 17. Dawn Minturn, 7.052, 188.38; 18. Wesley Wells, 7.100, 188.36; 19. Junior Pippin, 7.113, 184.90; 20. Redell Harris, 7.143, 188.46; 21. Anne Hansen, 7.422, 179.78.

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 14 2013
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