Record fields highlight final SuperNationals qualifying
Cruz Pedregon raced to the No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car Saturday at the NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took the top spots in their respective categories at the eighth of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Pedregon laid down an impressive run on a cool and overcast day during the third round of qualifying Saturday afternoon to take the top spot away from recent winner Robert Hight. Pedregon made a blistering 4.048-second run at 302.82 mph in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry to take his second No. 1 qualifier of the season, 41st of his career and fourth at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
“We have a good car, that’s for sure,” said Pedregon. “We’re fourth in points, so I’d say we’re definitely a top-four car. We’re in great company. Just to be able to make that statement is incredible given the talent and the budgets the Force and Schumacher teams have, and we’re just a little ol’ one-car team here. I’m just proud that we can make that kind of statement early in the season like this.”
Hight stayed second in the field while four-time Englishtown and defending world champion John Force sits fifth entering Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations.
In Top Fuel, Worsham was the only driver to keep the top spot from Friday night. Worsham’s run in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster of 3.785 at 322.34 gave the Top Fuel points leader his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and seventh of his career.
“It would be awesome to win this race in both classes,” said Worsham, a two-time Englishtown Funny Car winner. “The last time we qualified No. 1 was in Charlotte and it worked out for us. The team did a great job, and Sheik Khalid’s here this weekend so it would be great to go out there and do a good job for him tomorrow.”
Recent race winner Spencer Massey will start second in the field Sunday, while seven-time world champion and 2008 Englishtown winner Tony Schumacher will start third.
Pro Stock points leader Line took the No. 1 spot away from sophomore driver Shane Gray in the first session of Saturday qualifying. Line powered his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a run of 6.508 at 212.16 to give the 2006 Pro Stock world champion his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 19th of his career.
“We were looking for a safe run; we were too safe on all of them,” said Line. “I’ve got a really good hot rod right now but the truth is there were several cars that should have run 6.49 and they didn’t get all of it. We’ll see what we’ve got tomorrow. That’s what counts the most.”
Line’s 6.508-second run, along with New Jersey native Bob Benza’s 16th qualifying time of 6.571 makes it the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history.
Krawiec on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson held off rookie Jerry Savoie to grab the No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Krawiec’s run of 6.819 at 195.62 gave the New Jersey native his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and seventh of his career.
“We stepped up today and more importantly, the wind died down,” said Krawiec. “That has a big impact on us (Pro Stock Motorcycle racers). Racing at Englishtown, I’m excited to be here with my friends and family. I just need to focus on race day and wrap it up. This is home but there is no more pressure on me; I’m not going to treat it any differently.”
With Krawiec’s 6.819-second run and 16th-place Junior Pippin’s 6.987-second run, history was made as the first all-six second field in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle history was set. The previous record field had a bump spot of 7.014 seconds, set at this year’s Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville.