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Do or die for Mopar at Pomona

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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.


NHRA WINTERNATIONALS: FRIDAY PRO STOCK QUALIFYING
Psn Driver Sponsor & Car ET Speed
1 Mike Edwards Interstate/Team Second Camaro 6.528 212.39
2 V. Gaines Kendall Oil Avenger 6.538 211.49
3 Erica Enders-Stevens Cagnazzi Racing Cobalt 6.539 212.23
4 Jason Line Summit Racing Equipment Camaro 6.541 212.43
5 Vincent Nobile Mountain View Tire Avenger 6.567 210.67
6 Greg Anderson Summit Racing Equipment Camaro 6.580 211.03
7 Greg Stanfield MAVTV/Lucas Oil Camaro 6.585 209.82
8 Rodger Brogdon ProtectTheHarvest.com/Lucas Oil Camaro 6.590 209.33
9 Steve Kent Kent Trucking GXP 6.606 208.84
10 Kurt Johnson Mark Christopher Auto Center GXP 6.607 209.65
11 Deric Kramer American Ethanol/Madcap/Novo Avenger 6.611 209.01
12 Chris McGaha Harlow Sammons of Odessa Avenger 6.612 209.04
Did Not Qualify
13 Shane Gray Gray Motorsports Camaro 6.614 209.75
14 Warren Johnson Johnson Racing GXP 6.616 208.52
15 Larry Morgan Lucas Oil/MAVTV Mustang 6.617 208.71
16 Matt Hartford Total Seal/Nickens/CIP 1 Avenger 6.627 209.79
17 Mark Wolfe Wolfe Racing Mustang 6.764 204.76
18 Jeg Coughlin JEGS.com/Mopar Avenger 6.896 208.26
19 Allen Johnson Team Mopar/J&J Racing Avenger 13.855 63.06

 

Funny Car: Todd Lesenko was the first Dodge driver of the day: he smoked the tires right at the start and won’t improve but from a certain point of view, Lesenko still came out ahead the match-up: the engine in Tony Pedregon’s shiny new Camry gave up and blew the body off at the 1,000-foot marker. Pedregon had to bail from the burning car, though his Thursday time was good enough to keep him in the field.

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.


NHRA WINTERNATIONALS: FRIDAY FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING
Psn Driver Sponsor & Car ET Speed
1 Jack Beckman Valvoline/MTS Charger 4.045 316.67
2 Gary Densham Densham Motorsports Charger 4.053 307.09
3 Courtney Force Traxxas Mustang 4.071 311.49
4 Johnny Gray Pitch Energy Charger 4.085 308.78
5 Cruz Pedregon Snap-on Tools Camry 4.093 296.44
6 Matt Hagan Mopar/Rocky Boots Charger 4.097 304.46
7 Del Worsham DHL Camry 4.101 306.26
8 Ron Capps NAPA Auto Parts Charger 4.102 314.53
9 Alexis DeJoria Tequila Patron Camry 4.107 302.69
10 Bob Tasca III Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang 4.190 305.08
11 Tim Wilkerson Levi, Ray & Shoup Mustang 4.221 283.25
12 Tony Pedregon American Racing Wheels Camry 4.225 248.89
Did Not Qualify
13 Phil Burkart Steve Pluger Racing Monte Carlo 4.239 287.96
14 John Force Castrol GTX Mustang 4.300 251.20
15 Robert Hight Auto Club Mustang 6.658 103.52
16 Jeff Arend Grime Boss/Jim Dunn Racing Camaro 7.107 95.17
17 Terry Haddock Acme Refining Impala 7.901 73.67
18 Todd Lesenko Todd Lesenko Charger 10.190 63.41

 

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