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NHRA LODRS IHRA Drag News Photos
Sun, 4 Sep 2005, 10:19 AM

Hernandez's 6.11 Leads by Three-Hundredths
Courtesy of Duke Ritenhouse
Photo copyright 2005 Auto Imagery, Inc.





CLERMONT, Ind. -- The AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge presented by TLR might have lost a qualifying session Saturday at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, but not before Pro Mod fans were treated to some outstanding action earlier in the day.

Joshua Hernandez

The highlight of the day came from Joshua Hernandez, who drove the Tommy Lipar Racing '57 Chevy to a stunning 6.11 in less-than-ideal conditions, an e.t. that pushed him from No. 9 all the way to the top spot in the order and gave him a three-hundredths cushion over the rest of the 26-car field. Hernandez later was guaranteed of entering Sunday's fourth and final qualifying session in the No. 1 spot when Saturday evening's Pro Mod Challenge session was cancelled following Funny Car driver Tony Pedregon's bizarre starting-line incident - a mishap that apparently began with a stuck throttle and ended with a concrete barrier.

Trailing Hernandez following Saturday's action were first-round leader Glen Kerunsky (6.14), Steve Engel (6.14), defending series champion Mike Ashley (6.15), and Mike Bell (6.15). The entire top half of the field came in under the 6.20-second barrier.

Hernandez is looking to pad his lead in the FLOWMASTER Pro Mod CLASH bonus event points standings. The TLR team has not qualified lower than third in the last six Pro Mod Challenge events, a string of success that has already guaranteed Hernandez a spot in the eight-car CLASH field regardless of his performance in Indianapolis or Dallas, the final two events in which drivers can earn CLASH points.

The Pro Mods are scheduled for a final qualifying session Sunday; the 16-car eliminations program begins later that evening.

Saturday notebook: The only debut at the U.S. Nationals has been a notable one. Australian racer Ben Bray, driving an AMS Staff Leasing- lettered '93 Corvette, made his Pro Mod Challenge debut Friday and finished Saturday in the No. 17 spot with a 6.29 best. ... With one round of qualifying still remaining, the Pro Mod Challenge has already established its quickest-ever 16-car qualified field. Mike Castellana enters Sunday's action on the bump with a 6.281; the previous-best bump time was the 6.303 in Englishtown earlier this season. ... Ashley, making his Funny Car debut, has run a 4.997 best in his Torco Gear entry. He is No. 19, .14-second off Phil Burkart's bump time.





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