Langdon, Gray, Line race to No. 1 qualifying spots Friday in Phoenix
Shawn Langdon raced to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel Friday at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway.
Johnny Gray (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also took the provisional top spots in their categories at the second of 23 races in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
Langdon powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a track record 3.754-second pass at 323.12 mph. It was the fifth-quickest run in NHRA Top Fuel history and moved the driver into the provisional top spot with two qualifying sessions left. If it stands, it would be Langdon’s second No. 1 qualifying position.
“This is a great team to be a part of,” said Langdon. “It shows how great Brian [Husen, crew chief] and Alan [Johnson, team manager] are. I’m glad I had the chance to show off their efforts in the pits. I was very shocked by the run. I was thinking if we could go a 3.78 or a 3.79, that would put us in a good position for tomorrow. I don’t think there was a 3.74 left. I think they used up every bit of the run. Our goal now is to work on the consistency we need to put us in the winner’s circle.”
Recent winner Spencer Massey sits in the third provisional spot in the category, and seven-time Top Fuel world champion and three-time winner at Firebird Int'l Raceway Tony Schumacher is second in the provisional field. Langdon’s Al-Anabi teammate, Khalid alBalooshi, sits in the provisional 11th spot in the field.
Gray followed his runner-up finish in Funny Car at Firebird Int'l Raceway in 2011 with the quickest lap of the day Friday. He powered his Service Central Dodge Charger to the top of the provisional field with a 4.074 at 298.93. If it stands, it would be his second No. 1 qualifying position.
“The Tire Kingdom/Service Central car is running really good,” said Gray. “It was running really good at the end of the year, and we’re hoping to carry that on. The thing came out and ran good. It dropped a hole on the first run and ran good on the second run. I actually had to shut the car off before the finish line because it was getting close to the wall, and I was fixing to get in trouble. If I can hold it in the middle, it ought to be fast. There is more in the car, definitely.”
Gray’s fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate and defending event winner Jack Beckman sits in the provisional seventh spot, and defending world champion Matt Hagan is in the provisional 10th spot. Recent O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries winner John Force is fourth in the provisional field.
In Pro Stock, Line followed up his No. 1 qualifying position at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona one week ago with the provisional top spot on Friday. Line drove his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GXP to the top of the pack with a pass of 6.553 at 211.00. If it stands, it would be his second of the season and 26th of his career. It would also be his second No. 1 qualifier at Firebird Int'l Raceway.
“It’s good that we qualified No. 1 [in both sessions] today, but it won’t stand,” said Line. “Tomorrow’s conditions will be better, and some of the other cars haven’t made their best runs yet. But it’s still fun to come up here for the No. 1 qualifier interview. I like visiting the press towers of all the different tracks.”
Line’s teammate and O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals winner Greg Anderson sits fourth, and former Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards is second.
Qualifying will continue Saturday, with sessions scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.