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Hight, Millican Nail Maple Grove Poles

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 24 2017

Clay Millican will start from the pole Sunday in Reading, Pa. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

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Record-setting Robert Hight remained atop the Funny Car qualifying order Saturday as qualifying concluded for the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals in front of a sellout crowd enjoying unseasonably summer-like weather conditions at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.

Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Scotty Pollacheck (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the second of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

Hight broke both ends of the track record at 1,000-feet with a 3.844-second pass at 339.02 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS _ the second fastest speed in NHRA history _ during his second pass on Friday night. Hight held on Saturday for his sixth No. 1 qualifier of the season as he chases his second consecutive win to start the Countdown.

Hight, who won the Countdown opener over John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force during the Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway last Sunday, has drawn Mike Smith in the first round of eliminations.

“Being able to have a good run today in front of a sellout crowd is a pretty awesome feeling, especially at this track,” said Hight, the 2009 world champion. “We’re very fortunate with how consistent we’ve been running recently, but my team has a great handle on this car and that gives me confidence each round.”

Two-time world champion Matt Hagan of rival Don Schumacher Racing has the No. 2 spot after a 3.874-second pass at 335.82 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, also from Friday. Reigning world champion Ron Capps of DSR rounded-out the top three after a 3.877-second pass at 327.43 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge. Hagan is set to take on Jeff Diehl, while Capps faces off against Jim Campbell in the first round.

Millican secured his fourth Top Fuel pole of the season and ninth of his career after a 1,000-foot pass in  3.699-seconds at 327.27 mph in his Great Clips/Parts Plus dragster on Friday.

“I’m very excited because we know that this No. 1 qualifier is a big deal; it puts us in a good spot on the ladder (for Sunday) and we want to move up in the points after this race,” Millican said. “We’ve definitely been pushing it each round, trying to see what we can get away with on a hot track like this but we’ll be happy with our bonus points today.” Millican earned a first-round bye in a shortened field of 15 dragsters.

Point-leader Doug Kalitta wound up in the second slot with a 3.704-second pass at a national record-matching 333.66 mph in his Mac Tools dragster. Kalitta will go head-to-head with Pennsylvania native and Top Fuel rookie Audrey Worm in Round 1. Steve Torrence sits third after a 3.720-second pass at 327.66 mph on Friday in his Capco Contractors dragster. The native of West Texas will face Terry Haddock on Sunday.

In Pro Stock, Butner held onto P1 after covering the quarter-mile in 6.554-seconds at 210.18 mph in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevrolet Camaro during his first pass on Friday. Butner, of Ken Black Racing, locked down his fourth No. 1 qualifier of 2017 and seventh of his career as he aims for his fourth win of the season. Butner will line-up opposite Val Smeland in the first round.

“We feel pretty lucky that the run from yesterday held up, but we were happy with these last four consistent rounds and we would be happy with runs like that again tomorrow,” Butner said. “I’ve got a great car and a great team, and I’m really excited to hit the track tomorrow.”

KB Racing’s Jason Line, a three-time world champ, earned the second qualifying spot after a 6.562-second pass at 210.70 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. He will take on Alan Prusiensky’s Dodge Dart in the first round. Point-leader and rookie Tanner Gray ran 6.565 at 210.44 in his Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Camaro to complete the top three and will race veteran Larry Morgan in Round 1.

Pollacheck recorded his first career Pro Stock Motorcycle pole with a quarter-mile pass in 6.822-seconds at 196.76 mph aboard his Suzuki Extended Protection Suzuki in the final session on Saturday. Pollacheck is set to take on Andie Rawlings on Sunday.

“In the first round (of time trials on Friday), we blew our motor so we had to put a new one in,” Pollacheck said. “But I have such an incredible team that we were able to get back out there and have some great runs today. Nothing is ever easy for us, but to get our first No. 1 ever is such a huge deal.”

Reigning world champ Jerry Savoie moved up to second after a 6.824-second pass at 196.76 mph aboard his White Alligator Racing Suzuki and is slated to race Lance Bonham in the first round. Hector Arana Jr. dropped to third after his provisional pole pass of 6.834 at 196.76 did not hold up on Saturday. He will take on Charlie Sullivan in the first round on Sunday.

Final eliminations are scheduled begin at noon on Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air three hours of live coverage beginning at 2 p.m. (EDT).

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Sunday’s first-round pairings for the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and first of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Clay Millican, 3.699-seconds, 327.27 mph vs. Bye; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.704, 333.66 vs. 15. Audrey Worm, 6.442, 106.43; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.720, 327.66 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, 3.939, 303.57; 4. Brittany Force, 3.730, 327.90 vs. 13. Wayne Newby, 3.878, 319.14; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.736, 330.23 vs. 12. Scott Palmer, 3.805, 324.44; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.741, 328.14 vs. 11. Terry McMillen, 3.796, 324.59; 7. Dom Lagana, 3.762, 320.36 vs. 10. Shawn Langdon, 3.780, 326.56; 8. Antron Brown, 3.766, 326.71 vs. 9. Richie Crampton, 3.767, 282.60.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.844, 339.02 vs. 16. Mike Smith, Dodge Stratus, 6.251, 114.41; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.874, 335.82 vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.775, 188.81; 3. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.877, 332.10 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.064, 309.27; 4. Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry, 3.895, 331.53 vs. 13. John Force, Camaro, 3.978, 324.12; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.914, 331.20 vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.963, 321.35; 6. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.914, 330.39 vs. 11. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.957, 326.00; 7. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.929, 326.87 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.942, 329.50; 8. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.935, 321.88 vs. 9. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.937, 318.77.

Pro Stock _ 1. Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.554, 210.77 vs. 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.819, 202.73; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.562, 211.33 vs. 15. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.674, 207.91; 3. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.565, 210.44 vs. 14. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.637, 208.71; 4. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.572, 209.95 vs. 13. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.623, 209.49; 5. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.578, 211.16 vs. 12. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.608, 210.50; 6. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.579, 209.85 vs. 11. Brian Self, Camaro, 6.607, 209.72; 7. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.590, 210.28 vs. 10. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.598, 210.08; 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.593, 210.24 vs. 9. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.594, 210.47. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. John Gaydosh Jr., 6.964, 193.60.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.822, 196.76 vs. 16. Andie Rawlings, Suzuki, 7.786, 171.34; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.824, 196.76 vs. 15. Lance Bonham, Buell, 7.203, 186.87; 3. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.834, 196.76 vs. 14. Charles Sullivan, Buell, 7.008, 189.82; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.841, 197.19 vs. 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.956, 193.82; 5. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.861, 197.51 vs. 12. Ron Tornow, Buell, 6.953, 192.85; 6. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.862, 195.14 vs. 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.947, 193.65; 7. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.864, 195.82 vs. 10. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.895, 193.49; 8. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.869, 193.40 vs. 9. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.878, 194.97. 

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 24 2017
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