GAINESVILLE, Fla. --
Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers and will lead their categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.
Kalitta claimed his second straight top qualifying effort of the season and 33rd of his career with a 3.779 second run at 326.32 mph in his 8,000-horsepower Mac Tools dragster. Kalitta moved around defending world champ Antron Brown on his final qualifying attempt to claim the No. 1 spot at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. Kalitta will face rookie Leah Pruett in the first round.
Brown, who briefly held the top spot late Saturday with a 3.787 at 324.20 in his Matco Tools dragster, will start second and face three-time world champ Larry Dixon in the opening round.
In Funny Car, Pedregon scored his first No. 1 of the season and 51st of his career as no one was able to better his Friday run of 4.047 at 296.05 in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry.
On his final qualifying attempt, Pedregon said his car sounded funny after the burnout so he shut it down on the starting line prior to the run.
"We had some kind of mechanical problem," Pedregon said. "You just have to put it behind you. Tomorrow is another day. You just have to shake it off. We'll put the car back where it was and just let it rip. We're going to have to press the issue a little bit because there are a couple of cars that can run with us. That 4.04 isn't going to buy us any round wins tomorrow. We are going to have to take it to them."
Johnny Gray was second in his Pitch Energy Dodge Charger with a 4.071 at 313.22 and Matt Hagan was third with a 4.084 at 308.99 in his blue and yellow Magneti Marielli Charger.
In Pro Stock, Edwards claimed his third consecutive No. 1 position of the season and 44th of his career with his national record time of 6.473 at 214.31 in his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro. The 2009 world champ will try to earn his first win of the season when he opens against six-time champ Warren Johnson.
Defending world champ Allen Johnson qualified second with a 6.481 at 213.64 in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger and four-time Gatornationals winner Jason Line will start third in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro with a 6.483 at 213.10.
"You have all three makes in the top five," said Smith, who will race veteran rider Chip Ellis in the opening round. "We'll just have to see what happens tomorrow."
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