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Pos Driver Points
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2 Antron Brown 269
3 Doug Kalitta 267
4 Steve Torrence 249
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1 Robert Hight 341
2 John Force 294
3 Ron Capps 289
4 Del Worsham 283
5 Jack Beckman 271
6 Courtney Force 265
7 Chad Head 236
8 Alexis De Joria 233
9 Tim Wilkerson 221
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2 Greg Anderson 415
3 Bo Butner 331
4 Drew Skillman 264
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15 Joey Grose 94

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1 Eddie Krawiec 129
2 Hector Arana 99
3 Andrew Hines 79
4 LE Tonglet IV 74
5 Chip Ellis 62
6 Michael Ray Jr 52
6 Gerald Savoie 52
6 James Underdahl 52
9 Angelle Sampey 35
10 Scott Pollacheck 33
10 Melissa Surber 33
12 Steve Johnson 32
13 Hector Arana Jr 31
13 Mike Berry 31
13 Michael Phillips 31
13 Angie Smith 31
Massey, Neff, Anderson, Arana Top Qualifiers at Rt. 66

by Pete McCole
Sunday, July 10, 2011


Roger Richards
Spencer Massey, Mike Neff, Greg Anderson and Hector Arana, Jr. held on to claim the top qualifier spots in Saturday’s final round of qualifying for Sunday’s 14th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.

All four the top qualifiers from Friday’s opening two round of qualifying were still atop the ladder after Saturday’s sessions, with the top five qualifiers in all four of the top divisions unchanged from Friday.

Cooler track temperatures from Friday’s sessions did not carry over into Saturday, as warmer conditions had crew chiefs scrambling to find the right balance, with several competitors going up in smoke during both rounds of Saturday’s sessions.

In Top Fuel, Massey backed up his top pass from Friday of 3.819 at 319.29 mph with the fastest run of Saturday’s session, posting a 3.878, 299.26. It was just the third career no.1 qualifier for Massey and his second of the season after taking the pole in Atlanta.

“I’m very happy that we qualified No. 1,” Massey said. “Extending our streak of runs without smoking the tires to 40 is cool, but qualifying No. 1 is better. I’ve got this great opportunity to drive again, and I’m loving it. I want to be like the “Greek” (Chris Karamesines), and be driving until I’m in my 80s.

“Things couldn’t be better for us right now. (Crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler have got our car running like a machine now. That’s what Tony Schumacher told me  - wins races, you have to be like a machine. When you smoke the tires, you are beating yourself. You have to depend on the car in the other lane to smoke its tires or run slower than you, and that’s not the way to win races.”

Del Worsham qualified second with a 3.859 at 314.53 mph, followed by Antron Brown (3.869, 314.61), defending race winner Larry Dixon (3.870, 312.71) and Tony Schumacher (3.873, 313.95).

What little drama was left in qualifying focused on the final four qualifying positions, as Troy Buff, Dom Lagana, T.J. Zizzo and Terry McMillen all raced their way into the field. Zizzo took the bump spot and will face Massey in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.

Anderson raced his way to his first top qualifier position of the season in the Pro Stock class with his best pass of 6.586 at 209.14 mph from Friday, ending a drought of 43 races, dating back to the 2009 race at Sonoma.

“It’s great to be a No. 1 qualifier again after a 43-race drought,” Anderson said. “I can’t explain why it happened, but I know that we have a real good car now, and we’re very pleased with that. In the past, we’ve usually turned our program around by switching cars. But when you do that, you never really solve the problem. This time we decided to stick with it and get this thing sorted out, and I’m glad that we did. It’s more personally gratifying this way.”

Jason Line held onto second with a run of 6.597 at 207.66 mph. Erica Enders (6.603, 208.78), Shane Gray (6.606, 209.04) and Ron Krishner (6.612, 208.52) rounded out the top five qualifiers. Steve Spiess took the final qualifying spot.

Neff topped the Funny Car ladder on the strength of Friday’s pass of 4.110 at 298.01 to claim his first no. 1 qualifier spot of the season and fifth of his career.

Neff was the only one of the three John Force Racing entries to even crack the top ten in the opening session before team owner John Force raced into the sixth position on his final run. The changing track conditions had Neff  - pulling double duty as a crew chief for JFR - running ragged.

“We anticipated that the conditions would be cooler than they were last night, but it never unfolded that way,” Neff said. “I think that’s why you saw several cars go up in smoke during their runs. When it came time for us to run as the last pair, we knew we had nothing to gain by going after it, so we backed it down some to make sure that we could get down the track."

Matt Hagan held the second spot, running a 4.114 at 296.18. Ron Capps (4.135, 301.94), Jack Beckman (4.139, 291.51) and Melanie Troxel (4.155, 295.29) made up the rest of the top five. Justin Schriefer took the bump spot over Paul Lee and Johnny Gray.

The only real changes on the speed charts took place in the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying session, as nearly all the qualifiers were able to post quicker speeds, but the low ET among the top five remained the same

Backing up his time of 6.950 from Friday with a speed of 191.65 mph, Hector Arana, Jr. - son of 2009 Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion Hector Arana, Sr. - scored his second career pole of his rookie season.

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