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Gatornationals Update: Johnson leads in Pro Stock, Beckman No. 2 in Funny Car

The field is set for tomorrow’s eliminations at this weekend’s NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing event, the 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com.

Allen Johnson and the Team Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Avenger, was eighth after Friday’s first round of qualifying, but had a great pass in the second round to move up to No. 2. On Saturday, Johnson made a career-best pass of 6.486 seconds to take the top spot in the first round and was even faster in the second round. He’s the top qualifier heading into the eliminations.

Vincent Nobile and the Mountainview Tire Aveneger has good runs, coming in as high as fourth and as low as eighth. By the end of qualifying, Nobile had split the difference and took the sixth position.

Chris McGaha had trouble making the cut Friday, but the Harlow Sammons of Odessa Avenger came back strong n Saturday: they qualified for the tenth spot.

Jeg Coughlin and the JEGS.com/Mopar Avenger had the speed to make the field, but not the time. By Saturday, he was .042 seconds off the pace needed to race on Sunday. This is first time since Bristol in 2008 Coughlin has missed the cut.

V. Gaines couldn’t catch a break this weekend. Even the Kendall Oil Avenger’s fastest pass wasn’t quick enough to make the cut.


FINAL QUALIFYING – PRO STOCK – 43rd ANNUAL NHRA GATORNATIONALS
Psn Driver Sponsor & Car ET Speed
1 Allen Johnson Team Mopar/J&J Racing Avenger 6.486 211.99
2 Jason Line Summit Racing Equipment GXP 6.490 212.69
3 Greg Anderson Summit Racing Equipment GXP 6.504 212.03
4 Mike Edwards Penhall/Interstate GXP 6.506 211.83
5 Ron Krisher Valvoline GXP 6.515 211.36
6 Vincent Nobile Mountain View Tire Avenger 6.519 211.69
7 Erica Enders GK Motorsports Cobalt 6.519 211.76
8 Ronnie Humphrey Genuine Hot Rod Hardware GXP 6.529 212.13
9 Rodger Brogdon MAV TV GXP 6.533 210.47
10 Chris McGaha Harlow Sammons of Odessa Avenger 6.541 210.37
11 Rickie Jones Elite GXP 6.543 210.77
12 Steve Kent Kent Trucking GXP 6.543 210.21
13 Shane Gray Service Central GXP 6.544 210.31
14 Greg Stanfield Nitro Fish/Coffman Tank GXP 6.551 209.69
15 Mark Martino Desantis Crane Service GXP 6.552 210.31
16 Larry Morgan Lucas Oil Mustang 6.555 210.83
Did Not Qualify
17 Grace Howell GCPay.com Mustang 6.572 208.94
18 Warren Johnson Johnson Racing GXP 6.573 209.69
19 Jeg Coughlin JEGS.com/Mopar Avenger 6.597 210.24
20 V. Gaines Kendall Oil Avenger 6.598 210.73
21 Gary Gregory Fast Shark Supply.com GXP 6.625 208.10
22 Kurt Johnson Johnson Racing GXP 8.520 207.94

In Funny Car, all of the Chargers that entered made the final cut. Matt Hagan and the Aaron’s/Mopar Dodge qualified as high as sixth before a bad fourth round run knocked him down to ninth. Johnny Gray in the Tire Kingdom/Service Central Charger barely made the field in the first round of qualifying but got in some good runs on Saturday to qualify eighth. Ron Capps had qualified as high as third but had some trouble with the wall and dropped to eight coming into the final round. In the fourth round, Capps’ NAPA Auto Parts Charger hit its best speed of the weekend, 306.88, and Capps moved up to sixth.

Jack Beckman shook off early gremlins and made some solid runs in the Valvoline NextGen Charger including the top speed in four rounds of qualifying, 314.61 miles per hour. He’s just .021 seconds behind top qualifier Cruz Pedregon going into tomorrow’s finals.


FINAL QUALIFYING – FUNNY CAR – 43rd ANNUAL NHRA GATORNATIONALS
Psn Driver Sponsor & Car ET Speed
1 Cruz Pedregon Snap-on Tools Solara 4.026 311.77
2 Jack Beckman Valvoline NextGen Charger 4.047 314.61
3 Robert Hight Auto Club Mustang 4.057 313.66
4 Mike Neff Castrol GTX Mustang 4.065 313
5 Bob Tasca III Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang 4.083 309.06
6 Ron Capps NAPA Auto Parts Charger 4.108 306.88
7 John Force Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang 4.114 309.49
8 Johnny Gray Tire Kingdom/Service Central Charger 4.114 307.79
9 Matt Hagan Aaron’s/Mopar Charger 4.116 307.65
10 Alexis DeJoria Patron Tequila Camry 4.125 306.81
11 Courtney Force Traxxas Mustang 4.136 306.12
12 Jim Head Head Racing Solara 4.153 301.13
13 Jeff Arend DHL Solara 4.154 307.23
14 Blake Alexander Monte Carlo 4.168 297.02
15 Bob Bode Stupid Fast Racing Impala 4.22 292.39
16 Tim Wilkerson Levi Ray & Shoup Mustang 4.226 298.21
Did Not Qualify
17 Tony Pedregon Pedregon Racing Impala 4.492 291.51
18 Todd Lesenko Tap It Brewing Co. Monte Carlo 4.538 200.38
19 Dale Creasy Jr. Tek Pak Inc. Monte Carlo 6.387 145.93

Thanks and a tip o’ the hat to Gene Yetter!



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