Search for in
NHRA LODRS IHRA Drag News Photos
Sat, 23 Oct 1999, 10:42 PM

Kalitta, Force, Johnson Claim Top Qualifying Honors
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

At O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec



ENNIS, Texas - John Force stormed to the front of the Funny Car pack Saturday at the Texas Motorplex, taking his eighth No. 1 qualifying award of the season at the 14th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec.

Scott Kalitta and Warren Johnson also will lead competitors in their respective professional categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the $1.8 million race, 20th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

In eliminations completed Saturday, Pro Stock Truck championship challengers Bob Panella and Brad Jeter advanced to the semifinals and will meet in a battle of Chevy S-10s on Sunday. Panella, from Stockton, Calif., can clinch his first Winston title by winning the race and recording a national elapsed time record.

Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., covered the all-concrete quarter-mile in 4.844 seconds at 317.12 mph in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to pace the 16-car order.

"It cooled off a little bit and we were able to just go for it," said Force, who bettered No. 2 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr.'s previous event best of 4.857 seconds.

Force, who will face archrival Al Hofmann during tomorrow's first round, can clinch his ninth NHRA Winston championship Sunday if he advances one more round than second place points contender Tony Pedregon. "I want to get this deal (Winston championship) done so we can go into test mode for the rest of the season," Force added. "The old hot rod ran good today and we didn't have any major breakage, so we're looking good for tomorrow."

Kalitta, from Ypslianti, Mich., claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season in Top Fuel as no one bettered his 4.546 at 318.92 effort from Friday. The second-generation drag racer, who last claimed a top qualifying effort in 1997 at Reading, Pa., has competed on a limited basis this season after sitting out the entire '98 schedule.

"I'm a little surprised that the time stood, but when the air is good it can get a little tricky out there for these cars," said Kalitta, the 1994-95 NHRA Winston Top Fuel champion, who will face Mike Smith in tomorrow's opening round of eliminations. "There's a fine line to how much clutch you can throw at it when the conditions are cool like they were today. Tomorrow we'll just take it one round at a time and see what develops."

Johnson, from Buford, Ga., set both ends of the Pro Stock national record with his top qualifying effort of 6.822 at 202.33 in his GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird. The effort is Johnson's 15th No. 1 qualifying position of the season. Johnson can clinch his fifth Winston championship tomorrow if he wins the race and second place points challenger Kurt Johnson loses in the opening round.

"Setting the record means that everybody on the crew has done their homework," said Johnson, who will face Mike Edwards in the first round, "and it gives me about a $3,000 thrill (bonus from Holley Performance Products for being the No. 1 Pro Stock qualifier). So far this season I've won about $45,000 from Holley, and that all helps - these things run on money, not gasoline."



NHRA: 10 Most Recent Entries [ top ]

Oct 20- Raymond Beadle Passes Away
Oct 18- Connolly to Fly KYMCO Colors in Final Two Races of NHRA Countdown
Oct 16- LAS VEGAS 2 - Top NHRA Rookies Make Last Push Toward Auto Club Of Southern California Road to the Future Award
Oct 16- NHRA Breakfast at 2014 SEMA Show to Celebrate 50 Years of the NHRA Finals
Oct 14- Six Rookie Candidates Eligible for 2014 Auto Club Road to The Future Award
Oct 13- LAS VEGAS 2 - NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Playoffs Heads to Las Vegas
Oct 13- Demke, Harker Clinch NHRA Lucas Oil World Championships
Oct 13- CHARLOTTE 2 - Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Wrap Up
Oct 13- K&N Filters Announces 2015 Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes
Oct 12- CHARLOTTE 2 - Summary of Eliminations in Super Stock

Copyright ©2014 AUTOSALES INC, dba Summit Racing Equipment
Ready to take your order at 1-800-230-3030 | Customer Service 1-800-517-1035