Rain Halts 4-Wide Qualifying After Single Round
(CONCORD, NC – April 22, 2016 – RIS) After a rain shower that soaked the track this morning, Sportsman qualifying got underway a little after 11:30, with a track temperature of 95°F. Sportsman qualifying opened the day, with SuperComp actually running four-wide, just like the Pro classes. Persistent rain late in the day halted qualifying after only one round of Pro class runs.
A couple of light showers halted things briefly, but the Pro classes got off about on schedule, with Harley-Davidson V-Rod rider Eddie Krawiec taking provisional pole with a pass of 6.818 sec at 192.85 mph, ahead of Jerry Savoie's 6.841/197.62 on his Suzuki.
Pro Stock had Greg Anderson's Camaro atop the field with a pass of 6.577/209.65, just .006 second quicker than Drew Skillman's pass.
Matt Hagan reset both ends of the track records in Funny Car, besting the old records of 3.971 set by Tommy Johnson Jr last year, and his own speed record of 322.27, set in September of 2011. Hagan's pass was 3.941/323.50, easily eclipsing both track marks. John Force was second at just five thousandths of a second slower and the identical trap speed. "Obviously, the season didn't start the way we wanted," said Hagan, the 2012 and 2014 Funny Car world champion and owner of six NHRA track speed records and four elapsed time records.
"Dickie Venables is a very, very smart dude and I have a lot of trust in the direction he is taking us," continued Hagan. "These cars are so very humbling. It's kinda crazy; we've won championships, won (18) races and then you come out here and realize how important it is just to try and win a round. "We have to put two runs together, and I'll be tickled to death if we do that Saturday. This car will throw us a bone once in a while but we need to put some good runs together."
Steve Torrence wound up at the head of the Top Fuel first day grid after a pass of 3.736/326.48 to beat Brittany Force's 3.771/319.90 lap. Antron Brown was a tenth off of Torrence's time, putting the current world champion in fourth place provisionally, behind Terry McMillen by only five thousandths of a second.
We'll be back tomorrow for the second day of qualifying and again on Sunday for the finals. Weather forecasts for the rest of the weekend are good, so the four-wide spectacle should be second to none.
(RIS photos by John Davison)
Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.