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Kalitta Claims Norwalk Top Fuel Pole

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 5 2015

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Doug Kalitta raced to the pole position in Top Fuel Saturday at the ninth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also will lead their categories into Sunday morning’s eliminations as No. 1 qualifiers in their categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event just west of Cleveland. ESPN will televise three hours of eliminations coverage starting at 1 p.m. (EDT).

Kalitta powered his Mac Tools dragster to a track-record 1,000-foot time of 3.731-seconds at 327.82 mph to earn his first pole of the season and 43rd of his career. Kalitta will face veteran racer Chris Karamesines in the opening round of eliminations.

“I knew the guys had my car loaded for bear out there and I was just hoping it was going to stick,” Kalitta said. “It was great conditions and right now it doesn’t get much better. The track was good. We held on and I can’t say enough about my guys _ they’ve been working their tails off with these night sessions. We’re definitely happy to be on top here.”

Eight-time/reigning world champ Tony Schumacher qualified second in the U.S. Army dragster and will meet old foe Cory McClenathan in the first round. Reigning event winner and current point-leader Antron Brown qualified third in the Matco Tools dragster and will face Terry McMillen. McMillen took a wild ride into a grassy field at the very end of the shutdown area following his final run when the brakes on his Amalie Oil Instigator dragster failed to slow his car.

Hagan, the two-time/reigning Funny Car world champ and current point-leader, lowered the class track elapsed time record with a career-best 1,000-foot pass in 3.973-seconds at 321.96 mph in his Rocky Boots/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T. Hagan, who claimed his third pole of the season and 20th of his career, will open eliminations against John Bojec.

“I really thought there would be more 3-second runs but I guess a lot of guys went over center because there was nothing to lose and they were pushing too hard,” Hagan said. “We thought we might be able to run a 3.94 but (crew chief) Dickie Venables pulled it back at the last minute. Still, I can’t be upset with a 3.97. Now we have to throw that out the window and prepare for race mode with the heat and sun on the track.”

Two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon was the only other Funny Car driver to clock a 3-second run, posting a 3.991 at 312.21 mph in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry. Pedregon will meet John Hale in the first round. Former world champion Robert Hight qualified third and will race former Norwalk winner Tony Pedregon, also a two-time world champion, in Round One. Reigning event winner John Force, a 16-time world champion, qualified sixth in his all-white Chevrolet Camaro SS and will line up beside the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger of Jack Beckman in the opener.

Reigning Pro Stock world champ and event-winner Enders claimed her fifth No. 1 of the season and 17th of her career with a quarter-mile performance of 6.532-seconds at 211.23 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro. Enders will race Alan Prusiensky in the first round.

“I know what my guys are capable of, and I know I have a really great race car underneath me, and Norwalk has been really good to us in the past,” Enders said.

Jonathan Gray qualified second and will meet Curt Steinbach in Round One, while No. 3 qualifier Chris McGaha will race John Gaydosh. Summit Racing’s Greg Anderson, a four-time world champion who has three wins in his Camaro this season, qualified seventh and will race former world champion Allen Johnson and his Dodge Dart in the marquee first-round pairing.

Arana Jr. earned his second pole of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle and 18th of career with his Friday quarter-mile pass of 6.868-seconds at 196.50 mph aboard his Lucas Oil Buell. He will meet Angie Smith in the opener.

“It’s awesome to be out here racing on this big holiday weekend and we had the perfect paint scheme for it with our red, white and blue Lucas Oil bike,” Arana Jr. said. “We have a lot of good history at this track. I had my first No. 1 here and my dad won this race. Hopefully we can carry that good mojo onto four win lights (Sunday).”

Chip Ellis qualified second and will race Joe DeSantis, while Jerry Savoie qualified third and will meet former world champion Angelle Sampey. Series points-leader and former world champ Eddie Krawiec will face Chaz Kennedy in the first round. Reigning world champ Andrew Hines qualified sixth and will race Scotty Pollacheck.

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations at the ninth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park, the 12th 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, 3.731-seconds, 327.82 mph vs. 16. Chris Karamesines, 3.953, 307.86; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.732, 326.87 vs. 15. Cory McClenathan, 3.862, 311.49; 3. Antron Brown, 3.739, 321.58 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 3.851, 315.42; 4. Larry Dixon, 3.741, 329.50 vs. 13. Dave Connolly, 3.851, 316.60; 5. Spencer Massey, 3.741, 325.85 vs. 12. Clay Millican, 3.845, 313.07; 6. Brittany Force, 3.755, 325.92 vs. 11. Pat Dakin, 3.844, 312.86; 7. Shawn Langdon, 3.759, 322.73 vs. 10. Leah Pritchett, 3.801, 324.67; 8. Steve Torrence, 3.760, 325.61 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, 3.790, 324.83.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Ike Maier, 3.977, 293.92; 18. Richie Crampton, 6.246, 237.55; 19. Luigi Novelli, broke.

Funny Car _1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.973, 322.96 vs. 16. John Bojec, Toyota Solara, 4.649, 186.18; 2. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.991, 316.75 vs. 15. John Hale, Charger, 4.555, 308.00; 3. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.003, 322.04 vs. 14. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.249, 296.24; 4. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.005, 321.42 vs. 13. Jeff Diehl, Solara, 4.241, 296.37; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.010, 314.75 vs. 12. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.097, 309.70; 6. John Force, Camaro, 4.012, 322.04 vs. 11. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.082, 312.78; 7. Chad Head, Camry, 4.019, 314.68 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.063, 319.52; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.021, 321.35 vs. 9. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.029, 319.75.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Paul Lee, 4.830, 263.26.

Pro Stock _ 1. Erica Enders, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.532, 211.43 vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Avenger, 6.690, 206.80; 2. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.542, 211.03 vs. 15. Curt Steinbach, Camaro, 6.639, 207.66; 3. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.543, 211.39 vs. 14. John Gaydosh Jr., Camaro, 6.626, 208.39; 4. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.549, 211.86 vs. 13. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.601, 210.08; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.551, 211.49 vs. 12. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.575, 211.46; 6. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.552, 211.63 vs. 11. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.570, 211.39; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.555, 211.56 vs. 10. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.566, 211.00; 8. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.558, 211.20 vs. 9. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.565, 211.76.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Mark Hogan, 7.165, 203.03.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.868, 196.50 vs. 16. Angie Smith, Victory, 7.112, 187.52; 2. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.880, 196.30 vs. 15. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.052, 188.91; 3. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.917, 193.96 vs. 14. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 7.037, 190.62; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.924, 193.68 vs. 13. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 7.001, 190.08; 5. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.928, 192.41 vs. 12. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.984, 191.19; 6. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.930, 192.55 vs. 11. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.976, 191.35; 7. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.934, 192.85 vs. 10. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.952, 193.77; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.935, 191.97 vs. 9. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.937, 193.79.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Roy Olsen, 7.442, 178.14.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 5 2015
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