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Cruz Pedregon On Provisional Pole In Joliet

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 11 2015

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Two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon raced to the qualifying lead in Funny Car Friday during the opening day of time trials at the 18th annual Lucas Oil Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by General Tire.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), rookie Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Chip Ellis (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also led their respective categories at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., during the 13th of 24 events on the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Pedregon powered his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry to a track record, 1000-foot pass in 3.966-seconds at 315.64 mph during the second session. Pedregon has 60 career poles and three this season. “The Cruzer” is pursuing his first victory of 2015 and first at Route 66 Raceway.

“These cars are so touchy and we’re still fighting a little bit of a fuel curve issue and it’s not perfect yet _ but it was good enough,” said Pedregon, who is seeking his third pole at the facility outside Chicago. “We were nervous but we obviously wanted to be No. 1. That’s a great way to start and we have another night session (Saturday).”

Chad Head pushed his Head Racing Toyota Camry into the second spot with a pass in 3.991-seconds at 318.17 mph. Head was followed by Tommy Johnson Jr. at 4.003-seconds at 316.15 mph in his Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T. Courtney Force, last weekend’s runnerup in Norwalk, Ohio, sits in the fourth spot while Ron Capps currently is qualified fifth.

Brown, the 2012 Top Fuel world champ and current category point-leader, took the provisional pole with a track record 1,000-foot pass in 3.729-seconds at 323.58 mph in his Matco Tools dragster. Brown is looking for his fourth pole of the season and third at Route 66 Raceway.

“We’ve been pressing hard and it was good to see that lap,” said Brown, the defending event champion. “We’re pushing hard here. We always love coming to Chicago. This is the boss, Big Don (Schumacher)’s hometown race and we just want to come out here and perform like we know we can each and every weekend. But this one here is always a little extra special.”

Brittany Force powered her Monster Energy dragster to the provisional No. 2 spot with a 3.745-second pass at 327.43 mph. Dave Connolly raced his C&J Energy Services dragster into the third spot in his first Top Fuel appearance at Joliet with a 3.750-second pass at 328.78 mph _ a track record for speed. Steve Torrence is fourth while eight-time/reigning Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher is fifth.

Skillman drove to the qualifying lead in Pro Stock with a track record quarter-mile run of 6.528-seconds at 201.97 mph in his Ray Skillman Chevy Camaro. Skillman, a contender for the Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, is two sessions away from claiming his first career pole.

“I’m going to be really excited if we can hold on but we run a night session (Saturday) so I’m not taking anything for granted right now,” said Skillman, who also is looking for his first career win after reaching two final rounds earlier this season. “I could get knocked back to eighth or ninth. That’s the nature of Pro Stock. This has been a dream season so far; I just want it to keep going.”

Chris McGaha currently is second following a 6.533-second pass at 211.59 mph in his Harlow Sammons of Odessa Camaro. Current point-leader and four-time world champion Greg Anderson drove his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro into the provisional third spot at 6.533-seconds and 211.30 mph. Reigning world champ Erica Enders is fourth in her Elite Camaro while two-time world champ Jason Line rounded out Friday’s top five in his Summit Camaro.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Ellis grabbed the provisional top spot with a quarter-mile run in 6.856-seconds at 195.68 mph aboard his Junior Pippin Trucking Company Buell. Ellis is looking for the third pole of his career and second of the season.

“We just need to take the success we’ve had in qualifying and transfer that over to race day,” Ellis said. “I knew from the very moment I first rode that bike that it was fast.”

Four-time/reigning world champion Andrew Hines sits second with a 6.882-second pass at 193.99 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance and Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod. Louisiana alligator farmer and Englishtown winner Jerry Savoie piloted his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki into third with a 6.883-second pass at 195.11mph. Former world champions Eddie Krawiec and Matt Smith sit fourth and fifth, respectively.

Qualifying resumes Saturday at 4:15 p.m. for the final two sessions that will set the fields for Sunday’s eliminations. ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The network also will air three hours of live eliminations coverage Sunday starting at 2 p.m. (EDT).

Friday’s qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 18th annual Lucas Oil Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by General Tire at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., 13th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel _ 1. Antron Brown, 3.729-seconds, 323.58 mph; 2. Brittany Force, 3.745, 327.43; 3. Dave Connolly, 3.750, 328.78; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.758, 322.42; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.760, 326.48; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.763, 324.36; 7. Larry Dixon, 3.765, 327.11; 8. J.R. Todd, 3.791, 327.82; 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.820, 322.88; 10. Spencer Massey, 3.828, 292.39; 11. Shawn Langdon, 3.849, 272.89; 12. Terry McMillen, 3.851, 308.99.

Not Qualified _ 13. Richie Crampton, 3.902, 269.03; 14. Clay Millican, 3.917, 310.63; 15. Kyle Wurtzel, 4.053, 234.70; 16. Luigi Novelli, 4.118, 270.59; 17. Pat Dakin, 4.513, 185.00; 18. Cory McClenathan, 4.833, 149.28; 19. Chris Karamesines, 6.399, 94.00; 20. T.J. Zizzo, 6.455, 98.82.

Funny Car _ 1. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.966, 315.64; 2. Chad Head, Camry, 3.991, 318.17; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.003, 316.15; 4. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.012, 318.32; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.014, 315.78; 6. John Force, Camaro, 4.020, 321.58; 7. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.031, 315.19; 8. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.042, 319.14; 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.042, 317.42; 10. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.065, 314.31; 11. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.072, 311.70; 12. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.105, 309.91.

Not Qualified _ 13. Brian Stewart, 4.118, 307.16; 14. Tony Pedregon, 4.183, 284.56; 15. John Hale, 4.200, 304.53; 16. John Bojec, 4.220, 296.63; 17. Bob Bode, 4.585, 199.61; 18. Justin Schriefer, broke.

Pro Stock  _ 1. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.528, 211.13; 2. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.533, 211.59; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.533, 211.83; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.536, 211.36; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.546, 210.57; 6. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.551, 210.41; 7. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.552, 210.87; 8. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.554, 211.59; 9. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.554, 211.36; 10. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.554, 210.80; 11. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.561, 211.13; 12. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.569, 210.90.

Not Qualified _ 13. V. Gaines, 6.573, 210.77; 14. Kevin Lawrence, 6.626, 207.21; 15. Kenny Delco, 6.633, 208.59; 16. Dave River, 6.654, 207.62; 17. Alan Prusiensky, 6.669, 207.59; 18. Mark Hogan, 6.784, 204.14.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.856, 195.68; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.882, 193.99; 3. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.883, 195.11; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.891, 193.85; 5. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.893, 192.71; 6. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.903, 196.82; 7. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.907, 193.54; 8. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.915, 194.30; 9. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.918, 190.73; 10. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.930, 192.33; 11. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.937, 193.54; 12. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.939, 192.66.

Not Qualified _ 13. Shawn Gann, 6.945, 192.06; 14. Steve Johnson, 6.956, 192.22; 15. Scotty Pollacheck, 6.983, 190.70; 16. Eddie Reed, 7.055, 188.04; 17. Angie Smith, 7.060, 188.23; 18. Lance Bonham, 7.391, 181.52; 19. Joe DeSantis, broke.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 11 2015
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