Will Father's Day favor Dixon again?
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. Larry Dixon raced to the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel Saturday at the K&N Filters Supernationals presented by Advance Auto Parts at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Cruz Pedregon, Kurt Johnson and Antron Brown also will lead their categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the $2 million race, the 11th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Dixon, who earned his second No. 1 performance of the season and the 25th of his career, will go for his fifth consecutive Father's Day victory when he meets Mitch King in the first round of eliminations.
"There's nothing that's given," said Dixon, who earned the top spot with a performance of 4.482 seconds at a track record speed of 332.26 mph in his Miller Lite dragster. "The best thing about NHRA Drag Racing is that you have to prove yourself every run. I am just going to try and win the first round and go from there. We just made four consistent runs and that's what I am proud of."
Dixon's Father's Day streak includes three straight wins at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Ohio and a victory here last year.
"I don't have an answer for it," said Dixon, a father of two. "It was funny how it turned out last year. It would be nice to keep it going, but tomorrow is a new day, anything can happen."
Pedregon clocked a 4.791 at 316.45 in his Advance Auto Parts Chevy Monte Carlo to claim his 31st career No. 1 performance in Funny Car. It was the first No. 1 for the 1992 Funny Car world champion in more than a year.
"It's a great morale boost for the team," said Pedregon, who will face Jim Head in the opening round. "I hope we can keep our car fast and try to win the race."
Pedregon and his team won't have much time to celebrate their top qualifying effort because they will be busy repairing the car following a mishap on his final qualifying attempt. The parachutes that help slow the car failed to deploy properly, sending Pedregon on a wild ride into the sand traps at the end of the shutdown area. He was not injured.
"That's the first time I have been in the kitty-litter in quite a while," Pedregon said. "The parachute came out but it didn't blossom correctly. I knew I was going for a ride. That's the worst feeling because you have time to think about it. It damaged the chassis as well as the body. We have a brand new chassis to use as a back-up if we have to pull it out"
Johnson took his first top qualifying effort of the season in Pro Stock and the 24th of his career when he clocked a 6.675 at 206.10 mph in his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt.
"Just like any other Sunday, the key to winning tomorrow will be letting the clutch out before the other guy," Johnson said. "If we can do that, I think we have the horse to ride. Our goal coming into this race was to keep our car consistent, and so far, the ACDelco Cobalt has been flawless. What you really want to find is that sweet spot where you have to make minimal changes whether the track temperature is 85 degrees or 120 degrees to make the car go down the racetrack. That's what we've found."
Brown, from nearby Chesterfield, earned his first No. 1 effort of the season and the 10th of his career in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 7.085 at 188.17 on his U.S. Army Suzuki.
"We've had some gremlins lately with the bike and we've struggled a little bit this season but I think we are about to get it figured out," Brown said. "I feel strong that we can step up at this race. This is a home event for me. I grew up about 35 minutes from here and I started racing motorcycles on the dirt bike track right over there. This is a huge race for me and a cool race to step up and be the No. 1 qualifier. Hopefully tomorrow we can go some rounds."
Here are the results after Saturday qualifying (final eliminations Sunday):
1. Larry Dixon, 4.482 seconds, 332.26 mph vs. 16. Mitch King, 4.867, 299.73; 2. Tony Schumacher, 4.490, 329.83 vs. 15. John Smith, 4.862, 302.01; 3. Scott Kalitta, 4.498, 329.75 vs. 14. Jack Beckman, 4.677, 297.81; 4. Brandon Bernstein, 4.505, 331.12 vs. 13. Scott Weis, 4.657, 319.37; 5. Doug Kalitta, 4.511, 326.32 vs. 12. David Baca, 4.626, 318.92; 6. Clay Millican, 4.519, 323.89 vs. 11. Ben Marshall, 4.621, 317.49; 7. David Grubnic, 4.519, 323.66 vs. 10. Doug Herbert, 4.600, 325.85; 8. Morgan Lucas, 4.526, 323.58 vs. 9. Cory McClenathan, 4.541, 327.27.
1. Cruz Pedregon, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.791, 316.60 vs. 16. Jim Head, Dodge Stratus, 4.892, 311.92; 2. Jeff Arend, Monte Carlo, 4.792, 322.19 vs. 15. Whit Bazemore, Stratus, 4.867, 319.60; 3. Gary Scelzi, Stratus, 4.793, 328.30 vs. 14. Phil Burkart, Toyota Celica, 4.863, 314.53; 4. Del Worsham, Monte Carlo, 4.797, 313.95 vs. 13. Tony Bartone, Monte Carlo, 4.861, 314.46; 5. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.798, 322.42 vs. 12. Bob Gilbertson, Monte Carlo, 4.854, 319.37; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Monte Carlo, 4.807, 324.20 vs. 11. Tim Wilkerson, Monte Carlo, 4.854, 319.60; 7. Tony Pedregon, Monte Carlo, 4.821, 318.39 vs. 10. Ron Capps, Stratus, 4.833, 318.24; 8. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.832, 318.84 vs. 9. Eric Medlen, Mustang, 4.833, 320.81.
1. Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cobalt, 6.675, 206.48 vs. 16. Ron Krisher, Cobalt, 6.746, 205.88; 2. Greg Anderson, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.697, 205.66 vs. 15. Erica Enders, Cobalt, 6.743, 204.76; 3. Richie Stevens, Dodge Stratus, 6.701, 205.47 vs. 14. Jeg Coughlin, Stratus, 6.736, 204.73; 4. Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.702, 206.20 vs. 13. Allen Johnson, Stratus, 6.735, 204.32; 5. Jim Yates, Grand Am, 6.709, 204.76 vs. 12. Kenny Koretsky, Stratus, 6.733, 205.10; 6. V. Gaines, Stratus, 6.715, 206.32 vs. 11. Larry Morgan, Stratus, 6.732, 205.19; 7. Jason Line, Grand Am, 6.716, 205.66 vs. 10. Greg Stanfield, Chevy Cavalier, 6.732, 205.57; 8. Rickie Smith, Cavalier, 6.718, 205.44 vs. 9. Dave Connolly, Cobalt, 6.729.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Antron Brown, Suzuki, 7.085, 189.50 vs. 16. Scott Valetti, Kawasaki, 7.201, 183.92; 2. GT Tonglet, Harley-Davidson, 7.094, 193.24 vs. 15. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.200, 185.74; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.104, 189.63 vs. 14. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.189, 186.30; 4. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.112, 185.10 vs. 13. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.182, 183.29; 5. Chris Rivas, Buell, 7.122, 187.68 vs. 12. Shawn Gann, Suzuki, 7.161, 185.61; 6. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.126, 190.35 vs. 11. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 7.155, 185.38; 7. Ryan Schnitz, Buell, 7.127, 185.97 vs. 10. Mike Berry, Suzuki, 7.150, 186.69; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.140, 186.64 vs. 9. Geno Scali, Suzuki, 7.147, 187.63.
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