The second day of qualifying at the O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals brought some changes to the pecking order. V. Gaines got bumped from the top spot in Pro Stock and Jack Beckman roared back, jumping six spots to qualify first in Funny Car.
Pro Stock: For defending Pro Stock champion and Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson, it all comes down to getting not just a good run, but getting the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Avenger to get a decent pass. In Friday’s single round of qualifying, Johnson was twisted coming out of the gate and had to push in on the clutch, taking another DNQ.
Team Mopar Teammate Jeg Coughlin got loose at the start but recovered to make a clean pass; it just wasn’t fast enough. Coughlin also needs a good run today to make the eliminations on Sunday.
Coughlin and Johnson come into today’s qualifying at the bottom of the list.
At the other end, V. Gaines dropped to second after an early move toward the centerline forced him to shut down. Mike Edwards beat Gaines’ Thursday time by 0.010 seconds and moved into the top qualifying spot. Vincent Nobile shaved a bit off his Thursday time but the improvement wasn’t enough to boost him out of fifth.
Deric Kramer delivered his career-best run and jumped five spots and wiped out a DNQ from yesterday. Kramer qualified 11th. Chris McGaha’s Avenger sprung a leak and he had to shut down but his Thursday time was still enough to keep him on the bump spot.
Matt Hartford bested his Thursday time and could qualify for the expanded field that will be set today.
After qualifying seventh on Thursday, Jack Beckman posted the best time and speed of the session to take the no. 1 spot in the qualifying order. While not as dramatic as Beckman’s six-position jump, Ron Capps came through with a solid run, trimming more than a second off his first-round time and moving him up four spots to eighth in the order.
Gary Densham, Thursday’s top qualifier, didn’t run Friday but his Thursday time was good enough for second in the qualifying ranks.
Johnny Gray cut 0.002 seconds from his first-round time, but dropped to fourth as Beckman’s run pushed the order down.
Matt Hagen also got pushed down a spot. He smoked the tires yesterday and will bring his Thursday time into today’s match-ups.
Note: In the charts, Lesenko is now in 18th position, whereas he was 17th at the end of the first round. That’s because Terry Haddock ran his Acme Refining Impala on Friday, but not on Thursday.
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