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Kalitta Stays Pole Perfect

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, February 22 2014

Doug Kalitta followed up his Top Fuel pole at the Winternationals with a pole in Arizona.


Doug Kalitta is 2 for 2 in Top Fuel qualifying in 2014.

On Saturday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz., Kalitta added pole No. 2 when his time from Friday’s first day of qualifying held up and made him the driver to beat in Sunday’s eliminations where he will begin the day facing off against Scott Palmer.

Kalitta’s Arizona pole comes by way of a 3.735-second, 327.74-mph qualifying pass.

“It’s been going good,” Kalitta said. “We’ve just been trying to keep our heads down and do the best we can. We will just see if the win light can come on in our lane.”

Kalitta will try to go one round further when he opens the race Sunday against Scott Palmer. He is searching for his first win since Dallas last season.

Also heading into eliminations as top seeds are John Force in Funny Car and Chris McGaha in Pro Stock.

Force held onto his No. 1 qualifying position on the strength of his run of 3.99 seconds on Friday night at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Force will start from the top of the order a record 148th time in his career and for the fifth race in a row dating back to Reading, Pennsylvania last season. Force has raced to six consecutive final rounds and has talked about having the “magic.”

“We have had the magic the last couple of races but this weekend we don’t have the magic. I will be honest it makes me feel better. I don’t like to live right on the edge. We know what we can’t do out there. We will go the other direction,” said Force.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re racing,” said Force, who won the season-opening race two weeks ago in Southern California. “The baddest kid or the worst can win if your car gets down the racetrack.”

Force will face Jeff Diehl in the first round of eliminations tomorrow as he goes for his 140th career victory and his ninth Phoenix win.

McGaha earned his first career Pro Stock No. 1 qualifying position with a performance of 6.530 at 210.64 in his Chevy Camaro. Utilizing equipment purchased from 2009 Pro Stock Champion, McGaha was thrilled to lead the field in Phoenix.

“Being number one is really hard to explain,” an ecstatic McGaha said. “This really hasn’t sunk in yet.”

The Texan will open against Australian Shane Tucker and will be gunning for his first win. Despite this being only his second time he has qualified in the top half of a Pro Stock field, McGaha has a feeling this could be his weekend.

“You feel that way, but until it happens you don’t know,” McGaha said. “But if we can continue to make good runs, I am feeling very confident.”

McGaha’s run from day one was challenged by defending event winner Erica Enders-Stevens. The driver of the Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro posted a 6.531 to pull right behind McGaha in the 16-car lineup. Enders-Stevens will race local favorite Matt Hartford in the first round.

Pomona winner Jason Line, Vincent Nobile and Shane Gray had strong qualifying efforts and rounded out the top five in qualifying.

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 30th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.735 seconds, 327.74 mph vs. 16. Scott Palmer, 4.165, 249.49; 2.

Tony Schumacher, 3.757, 325.14 vs. 15. Terry McMillen, 4.160, 225.75; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.758,

324.59 vs. 14. Troy Buff, 3.989, 282.01; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.763, 323.27 vs. 13. Clay Millican, 3.847, 313.15; 5. Antron Brown, 3.768, 323.27 vs. 12. Richie Crampton, 3.836, 316.67; 6. Bob Vandergriff, 3.772, 322.58 vs. 11. Spencer Massey, 3.821, 313.88; 7. David Grubnic, 3.777, 320.28 vs. 10. Brittany Force, 3.813, 321.19; 8. Leah Pritchett, 3.785, 320.20 vs. 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.787, 313.80.

Funny Car — 1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 3.990, 317.79 vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.654, 128.26; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.029, 316.08 vs. 15. Tony Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.247, 290.19; 3. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.030, 314.24 vs. 14. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.130, 299.33; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.048, 309.27 vs. 13. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.120, 303.16; 5. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.051, 316.67 vs. 12. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.096, 311.99; 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.055, 314.09 vs. 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.091, 309.63; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.066, 308.35 vs. 10. Chad Head, Camry, 4.089, 307.79; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.078, 309.27 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.079, 312.78.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Paul Lee, 5.936, 252.66; 18. Gary Densham, 6.430, 168.41; 19. Terry Haddock, 6.540, 109.05.

Pro Stock — 1. Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.530, 210.93 vs. 16. Shane Tucker, Chevy Cobalt, 6.645, 208.75; 2. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.531, 211.66 vs. 15. Matt Hartford, Dodge Avenger, 6.613, 209.72; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.536, 211.83 vs. 14. Steve Kent, Camaro, 6.611, 209.46; 4. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.551, 211.16 vs. 13. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.601, 209.56; 5. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.551, 211.06 vs. 12. Greg Stanfield, Camaro, 6.599, 209.39; 6. Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.553, 212.06 vs. 11. Jimmy Alund, Camaro, 6.591, 210.87; 7. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.565, 211.03 vs. 10. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, 6.578, 211.43; 8. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.571, 210.93 vs. 9. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.573, 210.97. Did Not Qualify: 17. Paul Pittman, 6.705, 207.56; 18. Deric Kramer, 7.335, 145.91.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, February 22 2014
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