CLERMONT, Ind. -- Robert Hight took the Funny Car qualifying lead Friday in the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the NHRA's most prestigious event of the year.
Hight, in a tight battle with Cruz Pedregon and Matt Hagan for the 10th spot in the NHRA Playoffs, powered his Ford Mustang to the top of the qualifying order with a run of 4.107 seconds at 305.36 mph. Hight won the event last year.
Pedregon qualified third in his Toyota Solara with a 4.124 at 302.35, while Hagan was sixth in his Dodge Charger at 4.171 and 299.46. Pedregon is 10th in the standings, followed by Hagan and Hight -- 38 points back.
The top 10 drivers in each pro category after the event will race for NHRA Full Throttle Series world championships in a six-race playoff, which starts Sept. 18 at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
Larry Dixon, Mike Edwards and Hector Arana also topped their categories at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
Dixon led Top Fuel qualifying with a 3.850 at 302.89. It would be his fifth No. 1 of the season if the time holds up through Sunday's final two qualifying sessions.
Edwards was in position to claim his 10th No. 1 qualifying position of the season in Pro Stock. He drove his Pontiac GXP to a leading time of 6.624 at 207.66.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana, who is the No. 1 seed for Saturday's Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle all-star event, powered his Buell to the top qualifying position with an effort of 6.985 at 190.30.