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Cruz Pedregon’s Record Pass Paces Englishtown Qualifying

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 31 2014


Cruz Pedregon raced to the quickest Funny Car run in history Friday, taking the qualifying lead during a record-setting day at the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Englishtown, N.J.

A two-time Funny Car world champion, Pedregon powered his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry to a track- record performance of 3.959-seconds at 310.48 mph to earn the provisional pole. Pedregon’s time – quickest in the 10,000-horsepower category – will become an NHRA national record for 1,000-feet if he can certify the run by posting another time within one percent of the mark during the weekend.

Pedregon has enjoyed considerable success at Englishtown in his career, securing two wins and four career No. 1 qualifying positions.

“It would mean more than words could say,” Pedregon said, addressing the possibility of setting the national record. “Even if we don’t back it up, to have the quickest time slip for Funny Car is an honor. It’s something that my team and I have worked really hard for.”

Pedregon has struggled to start the season but recently has shown signs of reversing that trend. He reached the final last weekend in Topeka, Kan., running consistent 4.09-second passes in the first three rounds. But “The Cruzer” was stopped short of claiming his first win of the season by a mechanical failure near the end of the final against Courtney Force.

“We’re on a roll right now, and had it not been for a supercharger issue that we had in the (Topeka) final, the car should have run another 4.09 without even a problem,” Pedregon said. “We came out here, unloaded, 4.05 and then 3.95. We’re not doing anything different. I guess all those tire smokes, cylinder dropping, and all those runs, they teach you something. We’ve got to get it right eventually.”

Del Worsham’s DHL Toyota Camry had set both Englishtown Funny Car track records on the run before Pedregon’s with a 3.959-second pass at 321.04 mph. Worsham’s track-record speed held up as he currently sits No. 2 in qualifying.

Kalitta paced the Top Fuel field with a 3.756-second pass at 327.03 mph over 1,000-feet in his Mac Tools dragster, earning the spot on the last run of the day. Kalitta’s pass dropped Steve Torrence to the No. 2 spot on the ladder.

“It’s always good qualifying up front,” said Kalitta, who heads the Top Fuel point standings and has one win this season. “It just kind of sets the stage for how things are going. I’m just real proud of my guys. They’re working their butts off on this thing, and they’re just really making it run well. That was definitely a good start with qualifying so far.”

Kalitta noted that cool track conditions forecast for Saturday will make it possible for teams to go even quicker.

“Not real comfortable,” said Kalitta, when asked of the potential of his Friday run staying on top. “We’re up for the challenge. If other cars are running good, (crew chief) Jim Oberhofer and all the guys will tune it up and try to stay with them. It seems like they’ve got a good handle on the adjustments to make it run good.”

Johnson, coming off a win last weekend in Topeka, rushed to top of the Pro Stock qualifying order with a 6.502-second quarter-mile run at 213.00 mph, setting a track-record for elapsed time. Conditions at Englishtown were different than Topeka, but Johnson’s Magneti-Morelli/Team Mopar Dodge Dart team was able to make the correct adjustments.

“We picked up where we left off last week but we had completely different conditions,” said Johnson, whose Topeka win was his third of the season. “Last week it was warm and here it was a lot cooler. That’s a testament to my Mopar Dodge crew. Hats off to them.”

While Johnson took advantage of track conditions, others in the “Factory Hot Rod” class struggled to find the correct setup. “To some extent the track was too good,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to spin the tires just a bit and if you miss the set-up, the car will square the tires and start shaking. It’s a fine line, but we managed to figure it out.”

Krawiec set a Raceway Park Pro Stock Motorcycle speed record with his 6.801-second pass at 197.80 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. Krawiec, a New Jersey native, holds Englishtown high on his list of tracks on the NHRA circuit.

“I try not to treat this race any differently than usual, but that’s easy to say and hard to do,” said Krawiec, a three-time PSM world champion. “I like to spend time with my friends and family, but obviously I still have a job to do. Still, it’s always a really good thing to come back here and race.”

A former track manager at the famed facility, Krawiec won at E-Town in 2012. His H-D teammate, point- leader Andrew Hines, sits second after the first qualifying session.

Qualifying will continue Saturday at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. (EDT), with Sunday’s eliminations scheduled for 11 a.m. ESPN2HD will televise 90 minutes of qualifying at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. The network also will televise three hours of elimination coverage starting at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 45th Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, ninth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Top Fuel _ 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.756-seconds, 327.03 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.777, 324.51; 3. Brittany Force, 3.777, 324.44; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.784, 316.75; 5. Antron Brown, 3.786, 313.73; 6. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.792, 320.66; 7. Richie Crampton, 3.794, 321.73; 8. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 3.804, 319.75; 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.812, 314.75; 10. Morgan Lucas, 3.833, 319.82; 11. Terry McMillen, 3.841, 321.19; 12. Spencer Massey, 3.865, 315.86.

Not Qualified _ 13. Dom Lagana, 3.983, 276.52; 14. Shawn Langdon, 4.022, 223.65; 15. J.R. Todd, 4.533, 166.95; 16. Clay Millican, 6.532, 99.62.

Funny Car _ 1. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.959, 310.48; 2. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.994, 321.04; 3. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.014, 316.45; 4. John Force, Mustang, 4.015, 310.48; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.027, 314.31; 6. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.030, 319.07; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.048, 311.27; 8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.054, 313.58; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.055, 305.49; 10. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.071, 310.63; 11. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.074, 307.65; 12. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.080, 308.50.

Not Qualified _ 13. Chad Head, 4.093, 310.13; 14. Bob Tasca III, 4.129, 303.64; 15. Tony Pedregon, 4.160, 260.31; 16. Mike Smith, 4.364, 84.68; 17. Terry Haddock, 4.383, no speed.

Pro Stock _ 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.502, 213.00; 2. Rodger Brogdon, Chevy Camaro, 6.508, 213.00; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.516, 213.40; 4. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.520, 213.27; 5. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Dart, 6.520, 212.66; 6. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.539, 213.33; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.561, 212.76; 8. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.611, 208.46; 9. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 7.792, 128.80; 10. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 8.593, 120.29; 11. Val Smeland, Chevy Cobalt, 10.061, 86.65; 12. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 12.160, 71.90.

Not Qualified _ 13. Dave Connolly, 13.456, 98.72; 14. Chris McGaha, 14.718, 77.19; 15. Kenny Delco, 17.677, 45.94; 16. V. Gaines, 19.577, 57.43.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.801, 197.80; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.835, 194.94; 3. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.849, 194.58; 4. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.871, 193.82; 5. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.872, 195.17; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.883, 192.30; 7. John Hall, Buell, 6.884, 194.18; 8. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.929, 193.29; 9. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.933, 192.08; 10. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.961, 191.32; 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.975, 195.59; 12. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.991, 170.54.

Not Qualified _13. Michael Ray, 6.992, 190.83; 14. Justin Finley, 7.064, 192.25; 15. Junior Pippin, 7.074, 186.48; 16. Adam Arana, 7.133, 153.21; 17. LE Tonglet, 7.360, 189.82; 18. Elvira Karlsson, 7.382, 141.68; 19. Matt Smith, 12.980, 81.36; 20. Joe DeSantis, 16.784, 43.53.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 31 2014
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