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Keeping Pace


 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

TOPEKA, Kan. – Antron Brown kept the top spot in Top Fuel as qualifying came to an end at the 21st annual O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Ashley Force Hood and Mike Edwards also held on to their No. 1 qualifying positions at the ninth of 24 events on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Browns run in his Matco Tools dragster of 3.841-seconds at 315.71 mph on Friday was enough to give him the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel. For Brown, it’s his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and 17th of his career.


“It feels great to be No. 1 qualifier,” said Brown. “Here, we came in with a little bit of a short field with 15 people, and we’re going to get a bye run tomorrow. We’ve got a bye run first round, so that will be another test session for us to get down the racetrack and get a baseline to get this Matco car down the racetrack. That’s going to be important because conditions are going to be just like they are right now.”


Current points leader Tony Schumacher is starts in the third spot while third-place points driver and 2007 Topeka winner, Brandon Bernstein, is just behind him in fourth.

In Funny Car, Force Hood’s Friday night run in her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang was strong enough to keep the No. 1 spot. Force Hood drove to a 4.107 at 295.59 to collect her third No. 1 qualifier of the season, sixth of her career and second consecutive No. 1 qualifier after taking the No. 1 qualifier two weeks ago in Bristol.

“I think everyone’s kind of surprised that people are struggling as much as they are, so the track must not be that bad,” said Force Hood. “There’s been tracks we’ve been to where when it’s a certain temp they talk about it being greasy and real problem spots that they’re trying to get the car around. Sometimes they’ll stage you outside and tell you to move back in, and I haven’t really heard any of that. They want me to be staged in the center of the lane, and they want me to go right down, so I don’t think it’s the track. I think it’s really just the heat, and these cars just aren’t really happy with it. Maybe all the teams haven’t quite got under their belt tuning under the hot conditions. Defending event winner John Force starts in the second spot while current points leader and two-time Topeka winner Ron Capps is in the seventh spot.

In Pro Stock, Mike Edwards kept the top spot in Topeka. Edwards drove his ART Pontiac GXP to a 6.674 at 206.29 for his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season, 11th of his career and first at Topeka.

“Hat’s off to all my guys; they just did an awesome job,” said Edwards. “This is our fifth No. 1 this year, and I can’t express how good that feels. We’re just having a great year. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I haven’t had this much success. It’s just fun to come out here and race.

Current points leader and defending world champion Jeg Coughlin qualified fourth in the field while four-time Topeka winner Greg Anderson is just ahead of him in the third spot.


Sunday’s eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the 21st annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX at Heartland Park Topeka, the ninth of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.  Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.


 Top Fuel -- 1. Antron Brown, 3.841 seconds, 315.71 mph  vs. Bye; 2. Larry Dixon, 3.859, 308.99  vs. 15. Steven Chrisman, 7.566, 88.17; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.866, 304.74  vs. 14. Chris Karamesines, 6.447, 191.67; 4. Brandon Bernstein, 3.887, 307.02  vs. 13. Doug Kalitta, 5.109, 290.82; 5. Clay Millican, 3.890, 308.00  vs. 12. Joe Hartley, 4.069, 283.73; 6. Spencer Massey, 3.908, 306.74  vs. 11. Scott Palmer, 4.041, 285.35; 7. Morgan Lucas, 3.909, 301.40  vs. 10. Cory McClenathan, 4.008, 290.26; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.952, 302.62  vs. 9. Terry Haddock, 3.961, 296.18.


 Funny Car -- 1. Ashley Force Hood, Ford Mustang, 4.107, 295.59  vs. 16. Jack Wyatt, Dodge Stratus, broke; 2. John Force, Mustang, 4.189, 285.83  vs. 15. Jerry Toliver, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.889, 214.83; 3. Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala, 4.191, 294.75  vs. 14. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.498, 233.36; 4. Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.194, 292.14  vs. 13. Del Worsham, Toyota Solara, 4.320, 277.37; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.194, 288.21  vs. 12. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.257, 280.54; 6. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.197, 291.26  vs. 11. Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.249, 291.82; 7. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.203, 283.55  vs. 10. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.237, 277.20; 8. Daniel Wilkerson, Impala, 4.215, 286.80  vs. 9. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.231, 285.17.


 Pro Stock -- 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.674, 207.40  vs. 16. Dave Northrop, Dodge Stratus, 6.781, 203.86; 2. Allen Johnson, Stratus, 6.683, 206.54  vs. 15. Ronnie Humphrey, Stratus, 6.766, 204.63; 3. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.687, 206.95  vs. 14. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.764, 204.76; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cobalt, 6.698, 206.26  vs. 13. Steve Spiess, Cobalt, 6.741, 204.17; 5. Jason Line, GXP, 6.698, 206.42  vs. 12. Larry Morgan, Stratus, 6.741, 204.26; 6. Ron Krisher, Cobalt, 6.712, 206.10  vs. 11. Rickie Jones, Stratus, 6.740, 205.10; 7. Kurt Johnson, Cobalt, 6.712, 206.20 vs. 10. Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.730, 206.35; 8. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.714, 206.07  vs. 9. Johnny Gray, Stratus, 6.720, 205.26.

Did Not Qualify: 17. V. Gaines, 6.796, 203.03; 18. Mark Buehring, 6.930, 200.44; 19. Dave River, 7.126, 195.45; 20. Mark Hogan, 7.442, 169.10.

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.