Kalitta, Johnson, Line and Savoie Top Friday at zMAX
(CONCORD, NC - SEPT. 16, 2016 - RIS) NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway opened Friday with qualifying and some Sportsman eliminations runs. When the Pro classes finished their first two rounds of qualifying, Jerry Savoie led Pro Stock Motorcycle with a best run of 6.850/195.19 on his Suzuki, with Angelle Sampey's Buell next at 6.861/195.82. The top twelve qualifiers were filled out by Chil Ellis, LE Tonglet, Andrew Hines, Jim Underdahl, Hector Arana Jr, Matt Smith, Eddie Krawiec, Hector Arana, Melissa Surber and Cory Reed. Karen Stoffer, Mike Berry, Angie Smith, Mark Paquette, Shawn Gann, Steve Jonson, david Hope, Lance Bonham, Brian Bognuda and Chaz Kennedy all will have to wait until Saturday's qualifying to make the field.
In Pro Stock, Jason Line sits at the top of the charts at 6.581/210.41, with Vincent Nobile next at 6.593/210.28. Shane Gray is third, with Alex Laughlin, Allen Johnson, Bo Butner, Greg Anderson, Chris McGaha, Matt Hartford, Drew Skillman, Jeg Coughlin Jr and Kenny Delco all in the top twelve. Erica Enders-Stevens is quickest of the non-qualifiers, at 6.578/207.56, just behind Delco's 6.659 ET. Curt Steinbach, Shane Tucker, Alan Prusiensky and John Gaydosh fill out the rest of the field heading into Saturday's qualifying rounds.
In Funny Car, John Force led the field in the first round, setting a track ET record at 3.921/326.71 mph. Eventual top qualifier for the day Tommy Johnson Jr had a troublesome pass and could only muster a 9.970 at 83 mph. In the second round, Johnson beat Force's record run, setting new track record ET of 3.876 at 323.43. Ron Capps qualified second at 3.878/324.20, followed by John Force, who clocked a faster ET than his first run at 3.881 on the way to setting another top speed record at 331.04 mph over the 1,000 foot track. Alexis DeJoria was next, another six thousandths behind Force, followed by Jack Beckman, Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson, Courtney Force, Matt Hagan, Cruz Pedregon, Chad Head and Del Worsham all filled in the twelve spots on Friday, with Dave Richards, John Bojec and John Hale all in the four-second range.
Top Fuel saw Doug Kalitta atop the field at 3.721/325.77, just eight thousandths of a second quicker than Brittany Force's ET. Tony Schumacher was another thousandth back, with Steve Torrence two more mini-ticks behind Schumacher. Shawn Langdon, J.R. Todd, Antron Brown, Richie Crampton, Clay Millican, Pat Dakin, Leah Pritchett and Australian Wayne Newby rounded out the top dozen, with Scott Palmer, Ike Maier, Paul Noakes, Cameron Ferre and Terry McMillen all having to wait until Saturday's rounds to attempt to make it into the top sixteen.
(RIS photos by John Davison)
Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.