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Norwalk qualifying cut short by track seepage
The opening day of qualifying at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals was cut short Friday as water from more than a dozen inches of rain that have fallen in the area the last 10 days continually seeped up through the track surface, especially in the shutdown area. Despite a dogged five-hour battle, NHRA and track staff eventually gave up for the day and called an end to the day's activities.

Reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champ Matt Smith fronted the two-wheelers with an opening blast of 7.059 from his Nitro Fish Buell to lead the way in his quest for his third No. 1 spot of the season. Only seven Pro Stockers made it down the track before action was called with Richie Stevens Jr., at the wheel of Kenny Koretsky's Nitro Fish GXP, holding the best number of the day at 6.833.

Eddie Krawiec follows Smith on the sheets with a 7.083 aboard his Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod while recent Chicago winner and Englishtown runner-up Chris Rivas sits third aboard the Drag Specialties/S&S/G-Squared Buell at 7.088. Andrew Hines (7.089) and Matt Guidera (7.092) round out the riders in the 7.0s.

Joe DeSantis holds down the last spot in the 12-rider field with a 7.192 with favorites like Junior Pippin and Karen Stoffer among those needing to run quicker to make Sunday's starting field.

Action was halted just before 4 p.m., but the decision was not made until 9:15 p.m. after the NHRA and track staff waged a battle with the soggy earth, drying and vacuuming the track and moving earth to try to improve drainage.

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