Keeping Pace

First Round NHRA Qualifying In Chicago Sees Hight Atop The Ladder

Robert Hight on the way to his national event victory in Las Vegas, NV on November 1, 2009. (Photo courtesy of NHRA) (The Spokesman-Review)
Robert Hight on the way to his national event victory in Las Vegas, NV on November 1, 2009. (Photo courtesy of NHRA) (The Spokesman-Review)

Robert Hight, Larry Dixon, Mike Edwards and Craig Treble took the provisional top spots in their respective categories at the 10th of 23 events on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series held just outside of Chicago.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

JOLIET, Ill. – Robert Hight continued his domination of the Funny Car field as he took the provisional No. 1 qualifier as rain shortened Friday qualifying to just one session at the United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Larry Dixon, Mike Edwards and Craig Treble also took the provisional top spots in their respective categories at the 10th of 23 events on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Hight, who entered the event on a three-race winning streak, drove his Auto Club Ford Mustang to a 4.067-second pass at 313.15 mph to become the provisional top qualifier in Funny Car. If it stands it would be his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 36th of his career. It was also a track record in both time and speed.

 “To do what we did tonight is unbelievable,” said Hight. “I don’t believe Jimmy (Prock) was trying to run that hard. All we needed was a mid-4-teen, but that run was as smooth as can be. We made a last-second change, rush the burnout, Jimmy was still in the (computer) box, but it worked. I knew it was going straight; it gets a little dark down there but it made it and it was a perfect run.”

Defending event winner Tony Pedregon sits ninth in the field while points leader John Force is 12th.

            In Top Fuel, current points leader Dixon drove his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a 3.814 at 317.42 to set a track record for time and speed and take the provisional No. 1 spot. If it stands, it would be Dixon’s third of the season and 43rd of his career.

            “Obviously we don’t know what weather will be like tomorrow, but I knew we needed to be sure that we were in the top 16 tonight,” said Dixon. “As the session went on, we saw what Cory (McClenathan) and Tony (Schumacher) ran at AJ (team manager Alan Johnson) made a last minute adjustment because we thought the track would hold it. It was real smooth and nice. The scoreboards here are further down than some tracks, so I saw that .81 come up. I said to myself, ‘Hey we’re qualified.’ First and foremost, I’m happy about that.”

            Defending world champion and Chicago native Tony Schumacher currently sits in the third spot, while Don Schumacher racing teammate Cory McClenathan sits second.

            Continuing his dominance over the Pro Stock field yet again, Edwards followed up his win at Heartland Park Topeka with the provisional No. 1 qualifier at Route 66 Raceway. Edwards drove his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to a 6.660 at 206.95. If it stands, it would be Edwards’s Eighth No. 1 qualifier of the season in 10 races and 30th of his career.

            “That was tough on everybody, and my hat is off to the Safety Safari for getting the track so good,” said Edwards. “I think we came to the staging lanes three times, but we got the session in and hopefully tomorrow we’ll get two more runs.”

            Treble rode his Valvoline Motorcycle Oils Suzuki to the top of the field in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a run of 6.960 at 190.27. If it stands, it would be Treble’s first No. 1 qualifier of the season and fourth of his career.

            “I have not had a chance to see the download or go over the run with Steve (Tartaglia, crew chief), but it felt really good,” said Treble. “The bike nailed the 60-foot time and ripped through the gears pretty good. The conditions were not exactly stellar for world record E.T.’s, but I’ll take it.”

            Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday’s eliminations begin at 11 a.m.




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Keeping Pace

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






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