Kalitta Heads First Day Qualifying for NHRA Carolina Nationals With Force, Gray and Hines Fastest in Class

Doug Kalitta was quickest on Friday

(CONCORD, NC – SEP 15, 2017 – RIS) Doug Kalitta sped to the top qualifying position at zMAX Dragway in Top Fuel today with a pass of 3.723 sec and a trap speed of 329.50 mph. Antron Brown held the top speed of the day's two rounds, at 331.85 mph with his pass of 3.728 seconds, both runs came in the second round of qualifying.

Steve Torrence goes into Saturday's second day of qualifying in second place, with his clocking of 3.724/327.51. Fan favorite Leah Pritchett is third, just a thousandth of a second slower than Torrence's elapsed time, but a slightly faster top speed of 327.98 mph. The top three

“It’s definitely a good day to have a run like this, especially on the first day of the Countdown,” Kalitta said. “The track conditions were excellent, we are really happy with what we pulled off here today and we hope that leads to a strong finish to the season. We had a good day,” Kalitta added. “This facility kind of speaks for itself. The track conditions, I feel like they did a good job with both lanes. I’m really happy that we were able to pull it off, at least so far. … It left good, it stayed nice and straight but it moved around just a little bit at the end. I was really hopeful it was going to hold on. It felt like a good run. We’ll definitely take that into tomorrow. We’re pretty excited about it.”

The rest of the Top Fuel field currently stands with Antron Brown fourth, followed by Brittany Force, Richie Crampton, Clay Millican, Scott Palmer, Pat Dakin, Dom Lagana, Wayne Newby, Terry McMillen, Shawn Langdon, Tony Schumacher and Chris Karamesines. Schumacher had a pair of bad runs and could only clock a time of 4.481/175.30 on his second pass down the track.

Courtney Force (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are first day qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the first event during the six playoff races in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

Courtney Force leads Funny Car in her Advance Auto Parts Camaro with a second pass of 3.891 at 330.07 for her seventh No. 1 qualifying position in pursuit of her first 2017 race win.

“I wasn’t too worried that our first pass wasn’t clean, but I have an amazing team behind me and we definitely went for it on our second run,” Force said. “I’m really excited for tomorrow and happy to be in the top spot, it’s very important for us to be at the top because every point counts in the Countdown. I told (the team) I feel like we have even more than we showed on that race track,” Force said of her John Force Racing group. “It’s very important, kicking off the Countdown and getting those points. … We’ll see if it hangs on tomorrow, but I’m really proud of my team for giving me a great race car and starting off this weekend right for Advance Auto Parts.”

JR Todd placed his DHL Toyota second with a 3.898/329.18 time, while Tommy Johnson Jr. rounds out the top three after his 3.901 at 325.06.

Tanner Gray holds the No. 1 Pro Stock spot after a first run of the day at 6.559/210.50 in his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevy Camaro. He is to add a fourth No. 1 qualifier record for the year to match his category-best four victories on the season.

“You have to come into the Countdown with a different mindset, because every single point matters,” Gray said. “I’m really happy that we had low E.T. for both sessions and now we are inching closer to that first-place spot in the standings.”

Four-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson is in second after the first day of  qualifying with a 6.567 run at 210.73 in the Summit Racing Equipment Camaro, and points leader Bo Butner is third after a pass of 6.573 at 210.77 mph.

Andrew Hines sits atop the Pro Stock Motorcycle order with a 6.825/196.50 lap on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson set in his first pass on Saturday. He is seeking his first No. 1 spot of this season and the 39th in his career.

“This is actually what we needed for the Harley team, at least in terms of the Friday results we wanted,” Hines said. “We’ve been working on these bikes night and day for the past few months so to get such strong runs out of them is a huge relief.”

Jerry Savoie is second after his 6.838/196.10 on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki. Hector Arana Jr. rounds out the top three after a pass of 6.840 at 196.07 as he races in pursuit of his first 2017 victory.

With forecasts featuring plenty of sunshine this weekend, and every ticket a pit pass, fans are encouraged to take in the excitement that of the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations are slated for 12 p.m. on Sunday.


Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 10th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway, 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.

Top Fuel -- 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.723 seconds, 329.50 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.724, 327.51; 3. Leah Pritchett, 3.725, 327.98; 4. Antron Brown, 3.728, 331.85; 5. Brittany Force, 3.749, 329.18; 6. Richie Crampton, 3.749, 284.33; 7. Clay Millican, 3.761, 322.96; 8. Scott Palmer, 3.795, 323.89; 9. Pat Dakin, 3.798, 299.73; 10. Dom Lagana, 3.809, 317.87; 11. Wayne Newby, 3.826, 311.13; 12. Terry McMillen, 3.860, 305.22; 13. Shawn Langdon, 3.861, 314.75; 14. Tony Schumacher, 4.481, 175.30; 15. Chris Karamesines, 6.517, 94.65.

Funny Car -- 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.891, 330.07; 2. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.898, 329.18; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.901, 325.06; 4. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.906, 330.47; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.910, 324.51; 6. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.911, 302.75; 7. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.962, 314.02; 8. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.976, 317.79; 9. John Force, Camaro, 3.976, 314.31; 10. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.981, 324.12; 11. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.012, 257.87; 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.066, 309.42; 13. Dave Richards, Mustang, 4.067, 298.67; 14.

Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 4.763, 166.56; 15. Bob Gilbertson, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.240, 151.41.

Pro Stock -- 1. Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.559, 210.50; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.567, 210.73; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.573, 210.77; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.578, 210.18; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.582, 209.43; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.586, 209.98; 7. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.586, 209.69; 8. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.602, 209.75; 9. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.603, 209.33; 10. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.609, 209.36; 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.636, 209.46; 12. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.662, 208.14; 13. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.676, 206.57; 14. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.828, 202.15; 15. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.980, 203.58; 16. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 15.198, 56.49.

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.825, 196.50; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.838, 196.10; 3. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.840, 196.07; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.854, 194.44; 5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.866, 195.45; 6. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.873, 195.03; 7. Chip Ellis, Victory, 6.878, 193.74; 8. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.895, 193.35; 9. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.907, 193.52; 10. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.917, 193.18; 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.946, 193.49; 12. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.957, 194.83; 13. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.963, 191.97; 14. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.983, 190.86; 15. Mark Paquette, Victory, 7.065, 188.62; 16. Ron 'Rat' Tornow, Buell, 7.130, 186.33. Not Qualified: 17. Lance Bonham, 7.183, 184.09; 18. Charles Sullivan, 7.372, 178.73.


John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2017, Issue 9, Posted 11:04 PM, 09.15.2017